When the Government of Alberta released their set of guidelines to support school boards in developing LGBTQ-inclusive policies, I was hopeful, then immediately disgusted by the public response. This is something I'd been waiting for, something that I had desperately needed growing up, and it is undoubtedly of critical importance to anyone who loves a trans person.
Despite the Black Lives Matter movement focusing media attention on how violence affects black communities, the experiences of women and girls have not received the same sustained media attention and outcry as the experiences of men. Our voices are routinely excluded from political and public discourse. It's critical for us to make an intervention.
Like most women in Canada, I feel issues that affect me are generally ignored by politicians, especially on a federal level. There was some buzz on September 21st over the #UpForDebate, which was a panel featuring video clips from political party leaders and a panel of women discussing these clips about the neglected issues women in Canada face. As a woman I should perhaps feel positive and hopeful with this progress, that finally these issues are being addressed at least in some capacity. But as a trans woman I already know that issues affecting my unique needs and concerns will be ignored.
Recently someone in my inner circle began a relationship with a transgender woman. I learned to love someone new and accept her into my circle. Issues affecting transgender people have become my issues. I have read articles about people wanting to make policy about which bathroom is used by a transgender person. Then I realized, this isn't just a problem "they" face, it's a problem she faces.
Writer Elinor Burkett, in this past weekend's New York Times, takes it upon herself to define womanhood, which she feels is under attack from trans women. Instead, Burkett only succeeds in viciously grinding an anti-feminist axe with the intent of severing trans women from our rightful womanhood. Transmisogyny is where transphobia and misogyny meet, each intensifying the other. It is a form of gendered oppression experienced by trans women, central to which is the vicious lie that we are, or ever have been, men. This is violence, a violence which all too frequently ends in a trans woman's death.
Fixating on Russia is not going to solve the various human rights crises facing the West. Russia does have several of its own human rights abuses, several of its own problems that harm the society there. But let's not pretend for a second like the West is somehow incredibly different. By doing so, we forego the responsibility to address the problems that we have right here at home, and prove to the world that we are still holding onto simplistic "scary Russia" sentiments that were just as misguided and ignorant during the Cold War as they are now.