This article is a continuation of my thoughts on the issues brought to light by HB2, the North Carolina law that bans transgender people from using the bathroom of their gender identity. To see the original post, click here.
In elementary and middle school I was frequently bullied because my classmates felt that “Gay” was a funny last name. It’s no wonder that the first club I joined in college was the GLBT Community Alliance. I was no expert in issues impacting the GLBT community. On the contrary, I was a newbie. At the time I was still asking questions about how individuals came to know they were gay, if they felt it was a choice, etc.
I joined the club because I wanted to learn more about a community which I felt had been often misunderstood and, like me, bullied. Luckily, the GLBT center at my school offered 2-hour information sessions to educate individuals outside the community. I attended one of these sessions and quickly realized that I had been making egregious errors in how I communicated and related to members of the GLBT community. As a member of the club, I also had weekly opportunities to educate myself by interacting and making friends with individuals who identified as gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, queer, fluid and so on.
As the “bathroom issue” becomes the frontline in the battle for equal rights for transgender people, I ask our community to put more focus on introducing the general public to the trans community. I believe that this is a fight that can only be won with extensive use of media to portray the difficulties caused by discrimination against this community.
During the heat of North Carolina’s marriage equality battle, the HRC and individual filmmakers, writers, and musicians from across the globe spoke out against discrimination. Each artist brought different perspectives to the discussion: posts written by George Takei were funny, HRC videos were heartbreaking, and Same Love by Macklemore was just cool. Together all of these sources made a convincing dialog that something had to change. Now that the question of transgender rights are at the forefront there is no equivalent support by creative individuals.
Without a thorough public education campaign, marriage equality would not have happened and, without help, I fear a long and difficult path is ahead for trans-Americans.
One of the best examples I found of great pro-trans media has been this Youtube video by comedian MrLewzer, check it out!
Nate Gay is a recent graduate in Spanish and Political Science from NC State University. He is a web designer and travel enthusiast promoting worldwide peace, human rights, and community service.