Safe spaces, “LGBT” allies, and a trans girl’s anger (or, only trans people can say when a place is a safe space for the T).
My school (a college) recently held a Safe Zone training. Anyone unfamiliar with that, it’s basically a two or three hour long session of training on LGBT stuff so professors and staff can be more educated on it. Now, it’s white gay ciscentric, so most of the trans related stuff is so wrong it’s offensive. (They focus on SAAB and the “born in the wrong body” stuff.)
The goal at the end of the training is that the campus will be a more welcoming and educated place. Now, from the START I didn’t like the idea that a white cis man (gay or not) could educate a room full of other white cis people on trans issues or LGBT POC issues, the rare time where we are brought up, we’re brought up in a light that makes us look extremely homophobic, I have NEVER in my life met a gay man (cis or trans) of color (mainly black) who hated being gay and being associated with LGBT things. But that’s another issue.
White cis man educates room on trans things (not on trans things really, just on 20 year old trans terminology that mostly non-trans people came up with in the first place), and now they’re all “allies”.
I respect my REAL allies. Let me get that straight. But a majority of the “LGBT allies” are allies only to white cis gay and lesbians, don’t even TRY to listen to trans people, and are fetishizing and disrespectful. (Note: I’ve been told by numerous allies to accept my sexual harassment and assaults, even when they happen on the “safe zone” campus.)
Now, why am I angry? I’m angry because I’m ignored. I’m angry because the LGBT group on campus talks more about the non-existent plight of allies than it does what happens to trans people. In fact, in the year and a half I’ve been there, they’ve only ever mentioned trans things once. When the opportunity arises and I bring it up, I would get ignored. If I mentioned my problems to the authority figures that can help me, I get dismissed. Example: I change my name, FA office calls out former name, FA ignores me telling them to stop, FA continues to insult me and put me in danger on the busiest day of the year. I go to the authorities, and they just dismiss me and tell me I should get over it (not their precise words, but that’s what it amounted to). So I swallow my hurt and anger and I deal.
Today, when they’re talking about the Safe Zone training in class, they talk about how the school is a safe place for LGBT students. (I’m sitting there rolling my eyes, because LGBT = gay in this instance.) When the semester started, the student workers in the gym building basically get into it with me about my ID card, they don’t believe it’s mine even though it’s clearly me. They also don’t believe I’m a girl. So they try to get me to go to the men’s locker rooms. I don’t, I go about my business and go to class. I come out of the women’s locker room, and they stare at me REALLY hard. Next class, they put up a sign that says to use the “APPROPRIATE LOCKER ROOMS”, in bold print. (Note: that stupid little Safe Zone triangle is affixed to everything in the building.)
I do what it says and use the appropriate room (the women’s locker room). Since then, I’ve been getting into staring matches with the student workers and they always misgender me. But this college calls itself a safe space and I’m looked at like an angry trans bitch with a chip on her shoulder when I call bullshit.
TL;DR - Safe spaces are only safe for trans people WHEN TRANS PEOPLE SAY THEY ARE. You’re only an “LGBT” ally when ALL OF THE LETTERS IN THAT ACRONYM SAY YOU ARE. And lastly, there is no way in fucking hell that allies have some plight because they’re allies. This trans girl would prefer it if you just said gay ally, because I know that’s what you really mean. Being an ally to me would mean helping me when I’m being harassed, assaulted, or verbally abused. None of which the so-called allies in my school have done.
I hate feeling the anger about it that I do, but I’ve taken so much shit that it would hurt me to just keep taking it.
Also: commenting on my breasts and genitals just screams that you’re a predator. Professors have done that to me and thank fuck none of them teach any class I’m in. I don’t bother complaining about it anymore because apparently that’s a compliment.