Saturday, 9 April 2016

Are you Paying Attention Cis People...?

The incident of the girl who was ejected from the women’s toilets in a Hull McDonalds is significant and exposes problems on so many different levels it is difficult to know where to start, so in no particular order here goes…

Transphobic Bathroom Legislation

The girl, a cisgender lesbian was thrown out of McDonalds after a customer complained that there had been a man in the ladies toilets. The girl in question Ny Richardson, was then asked for her ID and ejected from the premises when she could not produce any, after the police had been called. This is very relevent to the transphobic legislation being enacted in places like North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi primarily targeting trans women. My guess is that not only are these repressive laws going to be difficult/impossible to enforce but most of those who will be accused of using the “wrong” bathroom will be cis women.

This is not an insignificant issue and demonstrates the problems of enforcement that police services in these states are facing, something they have admitted already.

Everyday Sexism

Ny Richardson was in a party of rather rowdy girls claim McDonalds, and they were ejected because of this. Well I have been in fast-food restaurants where there have been rowdy men plenty of times. Rowdiness is expected of groups of men, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this group of girls were subject to a considerably lower threshold of tolerance for rowdy behaviour than they would have been if they had been a group of say, male football supporters; “Boys will be boys, just a bit of high spirits!”

Transphobia and Misgendering

However the most revealing part of this is the way she made, not only the local papers, but national lesbian media for being misgendered. Trans people get misgendered all the time, I was misgendered in Costa Coffee recently, it pissed me off but it isn’t headline news. If it were the Evening Standard would have to devote a page every day to trans people being misgendered in London. The usual ignorant pundits in the media tell us not to get so uptight about being misgendered, both individually and as a group, yet when it happens to a cisgender person it hits the headlines. Perhaps some cis people who regularly attack us and misgender us need to think about this. What if you were persistantly misgendered, what if you were constantly told you are a gender you are not…? 

Welcome to life as a trans person. A trans person on social media recently posted this wonderful thought to explain how many cis people’s understandings of trans people need to develop. 

The fact that a cis person being misgendered - an everyday occurence for trans people - hits the headlines demonstrates that maybe the effect of being misgendered, while so rarely experienced by cis people, may have the same, or even worse, profoundly hurtful effects that it can for trans people. 

Time to sit up, listen and learn cis people, this is an important teaching moment...

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