What Do You Have to Gain by Dehumanizing Us?

August 23, 2013

What do you have to gain by calling Chelsea Manning “him,” “he,” or her birth name? Are you so insecure about your own gender identity that you worry that if she’s allowed to be herself, you’ll be less of a man or less than a woman as a result? Really, what’s it to you?

Yes, she broke the law, and yes, she’ll be serving a sentence as a result. That doesn’t give you the right to strip her of her humanity.

41% of trans people attempt suicide at some times during their lives. If any other demographic had those kinds of numbers, people would take note. Instead, what is it that the general public tends to do? They ignore our existence, they tell us we’re mentally ill, they tell us that we don’t know who we really are. Surely, this type of attitude contributes to the struggles we go through.

I was lucky enough to be born into a family that loved and accepted me, that acknowledged my existence. They treated me with respect, doing their best to adapt to my identity as best they could. For that reason, I’m still here.

CNN stated that they would continue to refer to Manning by her birth name, as that’s currently her legal name. I suppose this would be acceptable if it was universally applied, but they’ve reported on people who use names other than what they’re legally listed as:

Here’s a story that involves 2 people who go by pseudonyms:

Lady Gaga, Perez Hilton feud on Twitter

(Legal names: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr.)

So which is it, CNN?

Sure, you could call us freaks, you could call me a “man” and “he” or “him.” You could tell me that I’m a sick individual. But really, why would you? What do you have to gain? This is a true Pascal’s wager of a situation: you can call me names, harming me, getting nothing positive in return; or you could treat me with dignity, allowing me to exist without denial of who I am. Either way, it’s not as if you have anything to personally gain from tearing us down or building us up. Why would you turn yourself into a destructive force against a fragile group of people?


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