One of my favorite movies ever is The Princess Bride. In it, there is a running gag where Vizini, played by Wallace Shawn, repeatedly uses the word “inconceivable” as his pursuers continually foil his attempts at escape.
Eventually, after hearing this exclamation one too many times, the character Inigo Montoya, played so well by Mandy Patinkin, delivers the classic line: “You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
So it is with “transphobia.”
It’s hard to find an article or opinion written from a pro-LGBT stance that doesn’t include a “phobia” word — be it transphobia, homophobia or something-else-phobia.
To paraphrase Montoya, “You keep writing that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Webster defines the word “phobia” as “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects or situation.”
When it comes to hate crimes where trans women are beaten, strangled and then set on fire when it is discovered that they are transgender, it’s hard to believe that “fear” was a factor (unless it was on the part of the victim).
When a legislator in Austin seeks to criminalize my bathroom usage, is it because I strike fear into them? I can’t imagine why. We make up maybe 5 percent of the LGBT population, which is a minority all by itself. There just aren’t enough of us. If anyone should be living in fear, it is those of us in the trans community.
Is fear the motivator when religion is used to deny us rights enjoyed by everyone else?
Transphobia? I’d like to suggest another word: “Assholiness.”
The people who do these things — attack us, physically or verbally or emotionally — aren’t afraid of us. They are just being assholes.
Me living my life in peace is a threat to no one. If you threaten or follow through with violence against me or others like me, that isn’t fear. It’s hate, plain and simple.
If you spread lies about the trans community saying we are a threat to women and or children in public restrooms, without any evidence at all to back this up, you aren’t afraid, you are just being a bigot (a bigot and a liar — talking to you Debbie Riddle and Richard Pena).
Transgender people aren’t trying to “get one over” on anyone. We aren’t seeking any special rights, just basic human rights. We deserve nothing less.
Denying any marginalized segment of the population weakens us as a society. Respecting those rights for everyone takes nothing from anyone whatsoever, and it strengthens the sense of community for all.
So to those who write, blog or speak on behalf of the LGBT community, stop making excuses for the forces of evil who hide behind a pulpit, or a 2,000-year-old book or just a bigoted ideology. Stop treating them as if they are frightened.
People with arachnophobia may or may not “hate” spiders, but they sure as hell fear them. They may squeal and run the other way or seek high ground if the eight-legged critter is on the floor.
I’ve never walked into a bar or restaurant and had people shriek and stand on their chairs.
A transwoman walking into a parking lot to drive home after a night out with friends isn’t a threat to anyone. A violent crime against her isn’t a crime of fear. It’s a crime of hate, of intolerance, of “assholiness.”
This of course begs the question: How can a transwoman being murdered every 29 hours be described as “transphobia?”
That would be … Inconceivable.
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.