Our lives are not for laughs

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Every week, I research all things gay news, both locally and nationally, to decide what might be appropriate for an editorial. This week, more than any — or perhaps it feels like more than any due to recovering from the holidays — I stumbled across so much anti-LGBTQ violence and rhetoric. When will it cease? When will our identities and our lives be respected and valued and stop leading to our deaths or humiliation? 

Black trans woman Yahira Nesby and trans woman Julie Berman were both killed in the last two weeks. Trans teen Nikki Kuhnhausen’s body was found earlier this month after disappearing in June. A 12-year old boy died by suicide after repeated bullying. His mom said the school did nothing to support him.  A gay man was beaten to death and then robbed. Another gay couple was beaten after holding hands at a food truck. This is a devastating list of events, but one that must be acknowledged and mourned. 

During this same period of time, Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais tweeted, “Those awful biological women can never understand what it must be like for you becoming a lovely lady so late in life. They take their girly privileges for granted. Winning at female sports and having their own toilets. Well, enough is enough.” He mocked Caitlyn Jenner during the 2016 Golden Globes, using her deadname and mocked a transgender activist on Halloween of 2019. He offers many excuses but few apologies.

Gervais isn’t alone. Several comedians, actors, television shows, commercials, movies, and even our own family and friends use trans folks’ lives — along with butch women, nonbinary folks, gay men, bisexuals and truly any member of the LGBTQ community — as a mechanism for demeaning humor. 

Those who use our lives as humor should also read our news, particularly the news of the transgender community, who the Trump administration continues to strip of their rights and who face significant violence and systemic oppression. Unfortunately, many of the stories, from local sources like PGN and national outlets, are of violence, bullying, oppression and anti-LGBTQ legislation. Our bodies and spirits are constantly ridiculed, and after the holidays, many of us return wondering what happened and what compromises we should or should not make to be with family — if we have biological family in our lives at all. 

The degradation of LGBTQ folks is not funny, and making fun of trans women is incredibly inappropriate, as these women face not only what the rest of our community faces but also transmisogyny.

We are hurt — emotionally, mentally, physically, financially — every day, and we express our hurt and live in our pain, because we know that helps us heal. We are also strong, excellent and most of all resilient, but it would be nice if our resilience wasn’t tested so often.