Hop against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia 🙂

HAHABT 2015This year, I am giving away an ebook of your choice to one lucky commenter, and I will also donate $1 per comment to Youth Pride, Inc. (an LGBT charity local to me) So please leave a comment, and then take a minute to visit the other bloggers on this hop, all of whom are offering prizes or donations to charity!

For my post, I want to talk about understanding, and representation. (It will be rambling and long. I’m sorry.) I think that railing against bigotry here would be kind of a waste, considering the audience of my blog. (I hope no one reading this is actually homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic)

So I want to share something I read a while ago that has stuck with me. It was one of those things you read as you’re scrolling through your tumblr or twitter feed, just some short thing. I read this thing, I said, “huh. nice,” and I kept scrolling. The next day, I thought about it again. I went back and found it and re-blogged it. And I have thought about it a few times since, even though it has probably been over a month. Here it is:

I think a lot of people have trouble understanding transgender issues because they try to see themselves as trans, but come at it from the wrong direction. i.e. a cis woman tries to understand transness by going, “what if I felt like/wanted to be a man” when she should be approaching it as “what if I, a woman, was so easily mistaken for a man that I had to pretend to be one”,

grumpypedant via tumblr

I am sure there are as many different trans experiences as trans people, and that for many people this post’s description would not apply. But still…

When I read this post, it was actually a little embarrassing, what a revelation this was to me. How simple. How stupid I was for never “getting” it! For most of us, empathy is the first step to understanding, and this post helped me take that step. Because I really had been thinking of it like, “what if I wanted to be a man,” and that never quite worked. So I am grateful to grumpypedant for the post.

The truth is, I don’t know if I will ever understand what it feels like to be trans, and I don’t know that I need to. What is more important, I think, is acceptance, and keeping an open mind and heart. I’m working on it ❤genderbread-person-gender-identity-graphic

I’ve also been trying to work on my language lately. My kids are getting older, and more aware, and I think that the small, daily things we do, the phrases we use, have an impact. So I’m trying to make small changes to the way I phrase things. One of those is I am really trying to eliminate referring to gender in a binary way. Once I took note of it, I was surprised how often I phrased things in an either/or kind of way when it comes to gender. So now, I’m trying to be better about saying “any gender” instead of “either gender” and not using stereotypes, and not making sex and gender synonymous. I think I’m doing okay.

I think those small changes make a big difference. When I was a kid, people who worked for the police department were called “policemen” and I never thought twice about that. But gradually, when I was older, I consciously began using “police officer” instead. When I had kids, I made absolutely sure to do that. Because I didn’t want my daughter, or my son, to overhear me saying “fireman” or “male nurse” or some stupid shit like that and assume they were not the right gender for a particular occupation. I’m trying to treat this adjustment in the same way. I want them to know that all genders are acceptable and valid. I want them to be more open than I am.

I think as writers we have the ability to do this on a much larger scale, and we should use that opportunity. I’d love to see more bisexual characters, more happy-endings for trans characters, more clearly identified LGBT characters in plots that do not revolve around their sexuality.

Junot Diaz gave a talk, about being an immigrant kid growing up in New Jersey, but I think this excerpt is relevant to the subject of representation of all marginalized groups:

“You guys know about vampires?” Diaz asked.  “You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror.  And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”

source

For International day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, I hope that you will consider making a small change in your own life. Change your everyday language, or write a new kind of story, or speak up against bigotry when life gives you the opportunity to do so. You can make a difference!

For every comment, I will donate $1 to Youth Pride, Inc. (an LGBT charity in my area) and I will pick one commenter for my e-book giveaway! (make sure you fill in the e-mail or check back to see if you’ve won) Contest ends May 24th.

And please, PLEASE, head over to the main page and visit the other bloggers on this hop!

40 thoughts on “Hop against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

  1. Thanks for this post it really got me thinking. Also thank you for the giveaway 🙂
    And how awesome of you to donate money to Youth Pride inc. 🙂 I will check their website after commenting

  2. Thanks for the post. I really had no idea about gay, bi or trans people until I started reading MM romance. This genre has opened my eyes. Hopefully we can open more peoples hearts and minds.

    • Thank you!! That is so fantastic to hear. I love the mm romance genre for a lot of reasons, and opening people’s hearts and minds is at the top of the list ❤
      Thanks for being a reader and for visiting my blog today! 🙂

  3. Thank you for your post! I could not agree with you more that I wish there could be more trans*, gay and bi characters at the center of stories that are not just about their sex lives. As someone who I guess you could label bisexual and genderqueer, I don’t personally think that my gender identity or who I’m sleeping with are the most important things about my story. I’m an artist, a sewer. I want to bring inspiration and light to the world. There’s so much more to who I am than my labels. I appreciate that any effort is taken to give your children a different perspective on gender, no matter how small or imperfect. Thank you again. 🙂

    • Thanks 🙂
      I write Romance, and so all my stories DO center around my characters’ sexuality. And I think it is great that LGBT characters are so prevalent in Romance.
      But I would also love to see more representation on a mainstream scale, in non-romantic settings. I honestly feel like that is of critical importance, and that widespread acceptance cannot occur without it.
      Hopefully we will get there someday soon.
      Thanks for stopping by and for the comment!
      (and p.s. – sewing is awesome! I love fiber arts 🙂 )

      • I could not agree more about widespread acceptance. We have to show that there is more to these characters than who they’re sleeping with. That they’re the same as everyone else.

        I LOVE sewing. It’s my joy and my therapy. 🙂

  4. Thank you for the great post I never realise how even small things we can do to help change the world to make it a better place.

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

  5. Thank you for the great post. I love the Genderbread person. I really think that it is really informative. I saw this about a year ago for the first time and realized that we really do think of gender way too rigidly as a society. I have always felt odd as woman because I don’t like the feminine things that a lot of people expect, but I realize now that my gender expression is not tied to my biology. And you are right, attitudes and opinions start at home. Small changes lead to bigger things. I am trying very hard to be gender inclusive with my child, whether it’s about marriage or careers, I try to use language that is inclusive. It’s amazing how much language we use that we don’t think about being influencing, but the potential is there.
    jczlapin@gmail.com

    • I love the genderbread person, too! I think people crave explanations, and labels are easy. The problem is: rigid labels hurt people. The genderbread graphic honors gender’s natural fluidity while still providing a helpful explanation.
      Thanks so much for visiting today 🙂

    • Thanks! I thought so too. The person who made it has a great website filled with lots of information and resources, too. well worth a click on the picture to pay them a visit 🙂
      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Thank you for posting, Amelia! I LOVE the Genderbread Man–I checked out the creator’s website, and it’s just wonderful. Definitely going to be sharing that & will credit you. ❤ Happy hopping! xo, Participant #91
    avsandersarchive @ gmail ❤

  7. This is an awesome post. Yes, it’s the smallest details that bring awareness to the next level. Raising our children to think differently, to be open-minded is the most important thing to me. It was actually the main topic of my second post of the Hop, so I can only agree 😉 Thanks for this great article and donating for each comment. Just for that, I’m happy I have commented 😀 Alex xxx

    • Thanks, Alex!
      I’m happy you commented, too 😊
      I think changing the small details makes a big difference. Everyday I see people who would never consider themselves “homophobic”, yet their language is not supportive or inclusive. They just don’t think about it, and so they hurt people and spread hate in small ways, without even realizing what harm they are doing.
      I hope that by events like this hop, and the stories of love we write, we can help raise awareness and eliminate hate.
      Thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. Really thought-provoking post, Amelia! I had never heard either of those comparisons/metaphors for trans people (and otherness generally). I think I will be using both of them in the future. Thanks!

    • I am always shocked at the attitudes toward bisexuality I see on some gay and lesbian sites. I have stopped following a few because of it. Same with some feminist sites and trans* issues. Just gross. Definitely not the kind of feminism I was taught!
      It’s horrible to see hate and bigotry spread by people who should really understand and know better. Hopefully, things are improving, however slowly.

      Thank you for visiting me today! 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for a thought provoking and informative post, even though a lot of us following this blog hop are more aware than some we (well I know I do) still have a way to go with regards gender specific terminology and understanding. I am glad so much has improved since I was young and more books/resources are available, especially for YA, as well as more acceptance. Still we have a lot to do and I am happy to be part of it ❤ slholland22 {at} hotmail {dot} com

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