I’ve said it before, marriage equality is a trans issue. Matt Kailey has said it’s a trans issue. Monica Roberts has discussed how it becomes an issue for trans people. Whatever your views on it (and the three of us have different views on the same issue), we can all agree that it does affect trans people.
Unfortunately, as Monica points out, it doesn’t always affect us in a positive way. Sometimes, it affects us negatively. Sometimes, the conflicts between organizations and groups become even more pronounced over this issue. Take for example the Human Rights Campaign’s recent push to have people change their Facebook profile pictures to a red version of the HRC equality symbol. I’ve known a number of trans folk who got up in arms over it (myself included, once awake enough to remember their history) and refused to do so, choosing instead other symbols to share our support of marriage equality without supporting HRC.
Why all the infighting? Well, Monica summed it up pretty well a few years back, but unfortunately, this conflict continues still today. In fact, it’s been blowing up social media feeds since yesterday over an incident that supposedly occurred wherein HRC members told some of the activists to take down the trans pride flag. This is agreed upon by everyone, though there is some disagreements about whether or not the HRC reps told them that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue.”
I don’t know what really happened, I wasn’t there, but I wonder where this rumor came from if it did not in fact happen. People on the scene did say that the trans activists were asked numerous times to remove their flag, and the HRC doesn’t deny this part, only that the phrase was uttered. Did HRC reps say it? I don’t know, only the people there really know. But what I do know is that such incidents continue to throw fuel on the fire of hatred between the two groups. If it happened, then the HRC reps are doing so. If it didn’t happen, then the people responsible for starting this rumor are the ones continuing the hatred.
Is there an easy answer? Unfortunately, yes and no. It’s easy to say but not so easy to do. We need to learn to set aside all the pettiness, from both sides, and work together. That’s hard to do. I can forgive, but I will never forget, and many others hold such a mindset. Unfortunately, that means that we’re always on guard against getting back-stabbed or thrown under the bus again. And that prevents us from working effectively together.
Is marriage equality the be-all-end-all that so many gay-rights activists make it out to be? No, far from it. And I hope that once this is all resolved in a few months, that we can begin working on real issues, like jobs, healthcare, and an end to laws that prevent us doing such things as voting or using the restrooms. Because having a family doesn’t mean anything if you can’t support them or take them out in public as equals.