Race and Transphobia

Laverne Cox brings up the issues about being discriminated against for being black, being a woman and being transgendered. Laverne acknowledges the fact that although she has felt discrimination by multiple parties the majority of discrimination has been from people of colour, she equates these to the stigma left behind by the cultural systems left in place by colonialism. This relates to the action of Othering since in the system of colonialism there would be the culture of the coloniser and the colonised and the colonised would have to accept the coloniser’s culture to be able to live a good life. In this sense the discrimination Laverne has experienced from minorities can be seen as the people trying to distance themselves from “others” and trying to be part of the standard story.

Laverne also makes a connection between the stigmas of transgendered life to black males to the treatment of black men in the American South, relating to the fact that when lynched black men would be castrated often with their genitals ending up on display. This created a stigma with black males regarding their genitally especially when concerned with the removal of it, causing being seen as transgendered to relate to systematic discrimination.

Laverne alludes to anti-blackness when she mentions that she was being called out because of the fact that she was black, Laverne and many other black people get called out in society expressly since they are black leading to a fear of facing discrimination in any situation. A secondary view of this can be seen through the poetry of Javon Johnson relating the experience of driving with his nephew and telling him not to be afraid of the police but in reality telling him to hide his blackness well dealing with the police. Something else in common between these two stories is the fact that both Laverne and Javon related that they felt comfortable and confident about themselves up until they experienced discrimination after that point they both dropped back and allowed themselves to be victimized.

Laverne also mentions two cases of transphobia that led to the death of two transgendered women, Laverne does not place blame on the attackers when mentioning the attack instead placing the blame on people’s fear and confusion surrounding others choice to be transgendered. Transphobia is something that is not something that is often talked about, although while I was looking for an article on transphobia he only article that I found was a very hateful trying to say that transgendered people are just gay people that are crazy. This site helped me see that hate is strange since the article was okay with homosexuals but was not okay with them changing their gender.

Laverne’s speech was a wakeup call to the discrimination that Laverne and other minority transgendered women for not only being a minority, transgendered and would also be discriminated if she was just a woman. A fix to this situation would be to introduce the queer theory into society and by removing the standard story giving people the ability to be whatever they want to be in an open and accepting environment.

Works Cited

Cox, Laverne. “Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What to Do About It)” Everyday Feminism. n.p. 7 Dec 2014. Web. 7 March 2015.

McInnes, Gavin. “Transphobia Is Perfectly Natural” Thought Catalog. N.P. 12 Aug 2014. Web. 15 Mar 2015.

Wolters, Eugene. “What the Fuck Is Queer Theory?Critical-Theory.com.” CriticalTheorycom. N.p. 31 May 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

Johnson, Javon. “Javon Johnson – “cuz He’s Black” (NPS 2013).” YouTube. Button Poetry, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.

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4 Comments

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  1. When I watched the video, the part that really stood out as interesting to me was how Laverne Cox related violence towards trans women to colonialism and slavery, so I enjoyed that you touched on that. I thought the connection to Javon Johnson`s poem was interesting because they do have a lot in common as they are both reduced to victims in situations where blackness, being trans, or another intersection is seen as a threat. These videos both relate to black respectability politics and choosing to potentially give up parts of yourself or your culture just to present less threatening.

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  2. In our society I find that the gay/lesbian community is being more widely accepted, but we have yet to come to fully accept transgendered bodies. I enjoyed how you noted the fact that many call transgendered individuals “gay people that are crazy.” The bravery that comes with coming out as transgendered is astonishing and extremely commendable, I honestly don’t know if I could do it myself. Your parallel’s with Johnson’s race related issues with authorities are also very interesting. For Cox revealing herself, not only as a transgendered woman, but also as a black individual is truly amazing and I feel that you really captured this in “Race and Transphobia”.

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  3. I like how you related the video of Laverne Cox and the spoken word performed by Javon Johnson, as they were two very powerful and unapologetic discussions on race and flawed perceptions of others in society. The issue of ‘hiding your blackness’ or ‘hiding your gender’ is discussed in both of these dialogues and is clearly present in the minds of countless others that are in similar situations as Cox was walking on the street that day or Johnson in the car with his nephew.

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  4. Lavernes speech was very informative and breaks down the intersectionality of issues surrounding trans people. I also wrote my blog on Coxs’ presentation, I can relate to the struggle on finding a positive article on trans. The fact that you mention peoples hate, preaching that trans are “gay people that are crazy” just shows the lack of education being taught about the LGTB community. I think Lavernes access to the media is beneficial in regards to informing society, and creating a positive outlook on the trans community.

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