my anger is your mirror (tupelo_lights) wrote in debunkingwhite,
my anger is your mirror
tupelo_lights
debunkingwhite

Trans*Racism, Queer Racism

I would like to call out my fellow white trans* and genderqueer folks on some serious racism and cultural appropriation I see within the trans*/GQ spaces we dominate. This racism carries extra weight when we are educating cis folks on what language to use when referring to trans* people(s).

First: the term "Two Spirit" belongs to First Nation/Native American/indigenous people. Period. White trans* folks should not use it for ourselves nor should we be telling white cis people what it means without explaining who can (and can't) use it. (Note: Saying "I'm kind of like a Two Spirit person" or "I would like to use that term for myself since I think it's really beautiful, oh but I won't" still counts as appropriating that term.)

Second: your birth/government name is not the same thing as a slave name. I was recently in a closed, mostly white trans space when someone made this comparison. Specifically he was suggesting it as a great, snarky come-back for anyone to use when cis people ask "So what's your 'real' name?" General rule: if you want to talk about an overlap between your oppression and someone else's whose oppression you don't share, you should speak from your personal experience of privilege, not your assumptions about their experience of that oppression.

Lastly, and these ones apply to all white queers:
1. Don't write-off the term "men who have sex with men" as being the same thing as gay men. Gay was named for/by white men and lots of MSM of color don't use that term for themselves, for various and diverse reasons.
2. No, your experience of being in the closet in white middle-class America is not the same thing as the experience of being DL in a community of color -- and no, that's not because "people of color are more homophobic than white people." Again: speak from and about your privilege, not for and about someone else's oppression.
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