Witchy Wednesday - Caring for Others

A few weeks ago we talked about Self Care - This week we're going to talk about caring for others. By this I what I am referring to is inclusiveness.


Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson


Over the last few weeks I have see an increase in the number of people deciding that they needed to voice their opinion on the inclusion of Trans Women in Female only spaces.  Myself, being a Cis-gendered woman I hesitate to speak directly on the experiences of Trans women.  I can however, comment what it looks like from my point of view living in a life as a SOFFA.  First let's define some words.

  • Cisgender - Having a gender identity that matches the gender assigned at birth. The opposite of Transgender.
  • SOFFA - Significant Others, Family, Friends and Allies of Trans People.
  • FTM - Female to Male also Trans Man.
  • MTF - Male to Female also Trans Woman
  • Gender Neutral -  Not definitive to a gender.
  • Non-Binary - Having a gender that does not fit into the two gender norm.



Now, over the last few weeks I have seen some pretty ugly statements related to Trans Women. I have even seen individuals describe them as "Trans Identified Men".  That is completely offensive. The base of the argument for not allowing Trans Women into Women only identified spaces is related to the incorrect belief that Trans Women are not women.  Or that Trans Women are somehow just men who are going through extreme measures to erase women.  Let's look at the process that a Trans Woman experiences when transitioning.

1. Mental Health Counseling - usually a requirement
2. Living as female for over a year
3. Hormone Therapy (which causes impotence)
4. Surgical procedures to turn the penis into a vagina
5. Surgical procedures to add breasts
6. Facial reconstruction
7. Electrolysis




Now, don't get me wrong, I think that people who attack you can go through some pretty long measures to do that but do you really, honestly in your heart of hearts think that a Cis gendered man, is going to go through all of that, simply to get into a women's only space and says ... Nah nah naha nah - I'm here in your space???   Seriously?

During these debates over the last few months. I've seen so much hatred towards Trans Women. They are blamed for the assaults that women experienced earlier in their lives. They are accused of "forcing" lesbians to date them pre-op and much much more.  One such exchanged can be found on this Facebook Thread - Trigger warning for Trans-phobic Language. LINK

Sometimes I think that these types of discussions are funny.  Simply because it is a bunch of Cis gendered people sitting around discussing if Trans people deserve to be in their space.  I mean when you think about it you could change the subject of this and add any power group in slot A and any oppressed group in slot B and there you have it.  Sadly this is coming from Cis Gendered women. This is sad because Cis Woman and Trans women are fighting the same fight.  Unfortunately the powers that be have managed to put fear into the hearts of Cis Women and turned them against the Trans women in an attempt to keep their hold over them.

Trans Women get raped. Trans Women get assaulted. Trans Women get discriminated against.  And Trans Women die.  Just like Cis Women.  In 2016 27 Trans People were killed in the United States. The majority of whom were Trans Women of Color. (Link)

So what am I getting at?  How does this related to my previous post regarding self care? Let's think about this for a second. When are we at our best?  When are we actually good people?  To me, the answer to that question is that we are better when we are a community.  When we come together to protect each other.  When we are a village that helps each person become stronger, happier and whole. So with our self care comes the care for others. We need to step outside ourselves and understand that we are not the be all end all of this world. We are merely a part of the puzzle.  We can choose to help create the big picture or we can get lost and leave a void.

What can you do?  How can you help?

Many times I see dialog of Cis gendered people discussing Trans people.  That's the first problem. We as Cis gendered people need to bring awareness to the cause without taking away the voices or speaking over Trans people.  This isn't about if you should allow a Trans person to use a public restroom with you.  The question is should a person be allowed to use a rest room. Change the focus of the statement from yourself to the issue at hand.  You can also get involved. Go down to your local LGBTQI center and volunteer. Get involved in a book club, volunteer to staff a booth or table at a Pride event.  Hand out flyers or help register voters at an LGBTQI Rally.

Most importantly, the one thing that you can do that will help is to listen.  Listen with the intent of understanding not with the intent of responding. Trans-phobia, Homo-phobia and Racism all come from the same place.  They are all based on fear and ignorance. Take a moment to learn about others. Embrace our differences.  Enjoy each other.  Listen.  You may find out we're not all that different.

We cannot claim to be one with the planet and one with the spirit while we continue to step on the backs of others. Take a moment, reflect. What are you doing to your people?  Would you like it if it was done to you?


Links
Trans Women of Color Collective - http://www.twocc.us/
PFLAG - https://www.pflag.org/transgender
GLAAD - https://www.glaad.org/transgender/resources
National Center for Transgender Equality - http://www.transequality.org/
National Center for Lesbian Rights - http://www.nclrights.org/our-work/transgender-law/

More information:
https://www.facebook.com/MTV/videos/10154808471696701/
http://www.lookdifferent.org/trans
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brHoyB9sNoM






Renee Olson

Wife, Witch with the Metal Skills of a Dark Elf. I spend my time working with wire, weaving life and magic.

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