Respecting Trans change and refusing a social climate of despair

by Fiona Joy Green and Jaqueline McLeod Rogers

“Hope is essential to any political struggle for radical change when the overall social climate promotes disillusionment and despair.” 
― bell hooks, Talking About a Revolution: Interviews with Michael Albert, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, bell hooks, Peter Kwong, Winona LaDuke, Manning Marable, Urvashi Vaid, and Howard Zinn

A number of social pressures are currently working against broad generosity of spirit and open mindedness. With the advancement of the latest variant of Omicron, what is coming to the fore, again, is the practice of social distancing as a virtue and self-preservation as a goal.

During the holiday season, there is a weird press and expectation to give to others who are generally categorized as “needy” — and then they are often imagined or expected to be full of joy and gratitude when a Christmas hamper arrives. Don’t get us wrong, the work of giving and sharing is important so that everybody has essentials.

We’re just wishing this holiday season that we can count on a true spirit of turning to each other for support that goes beyond the much needed exchange of material necessities. It’s a pity that the exchange of cash and things comes to define caring for others.

Dallas wrote a brave post last month about being trans in a world that bullies and harms those who do not conform to binary and cisgender norms and expectations. Who can read what they wrote without thinking about what we owe to others who do not fit within the two narrow and restrictive siloed gender categories of male and female.

There is so much to read about and learn from folx who are beyond the cisnormative constructions of gender. May we suggest the work of ALOK Vaid-Menon, the trans, nonbinary, mixed-race author who writes from the USA? Everyone will read for different meanings, but the beauty of their work is the depth of knowledge presented in easy to understand language and examples. Check out their little gem Beyond the Binary and their “Moving Beyond the Gender Binary podcast with Laverne Cox An added bonus: Cox refers to and expands upon the work of bell hooks. With hooks’ recent and unexpected death in mid-December, this podcast provides a welcome opportunity to remember and learn from her.

As hooks wrote, we do need to hang onto hope. Our post is making the point that we’re in a place where we need do some work on cultivating safe hope. Our hope is for all people, regardless of gender, to first understand and then practice the respectful principle of relational connection, especially during this time of social distancing.

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