BY HALEY ZILBERBERG
This blog is in response to the article, ‘The Sacred Androgen: The Transgender Debate’ by Daniel Harris published in The Antioch Review here.
There is no debate. There is no right or wrong in gender or gender expression. Transgender people are not “TGs” or “transgenders” or any other term that takes away the humanity from a group of people who are people before they are anything else. Cisgender people are in a position of power and have privileges that transgender people do not. Writers have the wonderful and beautiful tool of language and the ability to employ rhetoric to make readers see things differently. In the case of Daniel Harris’s “The Transgender Debate,” his writing was not that of beauty, but of destruction.
Transgender people are people. There is no delusion. There is no grand sacrifice. There is no repression. I find it hard to believe, let alone ponder, the idea that people would make their lives so much harder in order to go through a painful experience of transitioning, both emotionally and physically. I cannot conceive that anyone would ever want to go through that hardship on top of the bigotry and lethal actions provided by society. Even someone who is part of a group of people who faces hardships has served a neatly packaged essay with vicious accusations by Daniel Harris. We, at Inklette, will not stand for the unkind words and discrimination towards people with varying gender identities and expressions. We will not let voices of hatred overpower the voices of those who struggle.
There are people, like Daniel Harris, who may struggle with trying to understand that people should not be condemned for simply being themselves. We are growing and evolving as a society every day, and there is room to continuously improve and adapt the views we have towards cultures, peoples, and practices that we do not understand. There is no shame in not knowing everything immediately, but there is shame in belittling minority groups for wanting to be happy. This push against Equal Rights is counterintuitive. When we repress those who strive to live benign and gentle lives being who they are, we are asking these people who are trying to climb the ladder of success to prove they are able to get to the top while throwing boulders on them so they keep falling down.
No institution or organization should use its power on the basis of “freedom of expression” to further oppress people. If you are going to start a war on something wrong with the world, stop targeting people who do nothing destructive and start fighting against the destruction being caused. Being notable in the public eye as a person or an organization makes your words and messages amplified to mass amounts of people. This kind of power should be used to create positive change. There is absolutely nothing constructive about Daniel Harris’s words claiming himself as a ‘supporter’ of Transgender Rights and then tearing down the transgender population. If that is support, I do not want to know what hate is.
People who are transgender are everywhere, and a lot of times, we might not even notice. And that’s how it should be. Society should not be on a hunt to try to pinpoint and pick apart everything about transgender people. There is no room for criticism and scrutiny over things that are personal to others, that are challenging enough without the idiocy of condemning people for wanting to be happy and wanting to be themselves. There is no Transgender Debate that needs to be looked at. There is only the need for people who cannot wrap their heads around something that they do not experience and understand to resolve their own cognitive dissonance. Being transgender does not and will not ever make someone less of a person, but hatred can.
HALEY ZILBERBERG is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Social Work with a Creative Writing minor. She writes about many topics, often surrounding disabilities and social justice. Haley has been published in Inklette and Loud Zoo (Issue 5).