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  • (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Lack of Education About the Trans Experience Causes Discrimination

By |2021-03-04T11:02:56-05:00March 3rd, 2021|Opinions, Viewpoints|

With the recent uprising of discrimination from some members of the gay community involving the ban on transgender men at a Michigan, all-male campground, I’ve been compelled to be a voice of change and education. My name is Santiago Moreno, and I transitioned 8 1/2 years ago and have been living as male, not a “woman that acts like a man” as the transphobes put it.
I’ve always prided myself in approaching every situation with an open mind and an open heart, regardless of the ignorance that may be present, and I’ve always done my best to relate and then educate, leaving people with food for thought. I hope that because of my words, from this day forward, you will approach trans people with a better understanding.
When the owner of Camp Boomerang, Bryan Quinn, posted this to their Facebook page:

It reminded me of all the times I’ve heard similar comments from transphobic people like, “Real men have a penis,” and, “Real women have a vagina, uterus and bleed.” To challenge that concept, I’ve always asked, “So, if a woman gets a hysterectomy are they no longer a woman? If you are infertile, does that rid your gender? Are people born without their lower half genderless? Are accident survivors who lose their genitals stripped of their gender? What about those born with Turner syndrome (only an X chromosome), are they just invalid to a gender?” Let’s not forget about those who are intersex. You can’t argue with this known science, as well as the science of how transgender people biologically develop.
My point here is that many people base gender on a binary spectrum of being all or nothing. This or that. I call this simple-minded, uneducated and lacking in the ability to grow and learn. If you want to argue religion, just know that the science behind all of this, the biology, is valid.
I lived as a woman for 24 years of my life before I was able to transition and live as my true self. During those years I learned a lot about living as a woman in society. That’s knowledge that most men will never know. I was also circled into the lesbian community and culture, which, after my transition, I quickly learned was very different from the gay male culture and scene.
Going from one community to the other was a culture shock, amongst the culture shock of male expectations in general. It made me realize the pressure and toxicity involved in the gay community and on the young gay males discovering it. Learning about the “no fats, no fems,” “no transmen,” “no Blacks no Latinos” culture, it all blew my mind that a community of people fighting for equality were creating their own hateful divisions within.
From my own experiences in life, I had never heard of that in the lesbian community, or even amongst straight people. I had heard of them having a type they were more drawn to, but not a ban on anyone outside of that.
As I continue to learn more and more about the division within the LGB community against trans people, I’ve been made aware this same division is happening within the lesbian community. Specifically brought to my attention was the Windover women-only campground here in Michigan that banned trans women.
When this type of hate comes from within the community that trans, non-binary and intersex folks have been grouped into, it’s a shame as well as a reminder that we don’t belong to the same fight. Yet, for decades, the trans community has fought for you and alongside you for same-sex rights and change.
When I attempted to educate one of Camp Boomerang’s campers who supports the ban on trans men he commented with, “Santiago you are fighting a losing battle.” This same man told me he had been a part of gay protests in the ’70s.
So let me remind all of you, it was a Black trans woman, Marsha “Pay it no Mind” Johnson, that played one of the biggest roles in those gay rights movements. This is not a losing battle, we fought hard for yours, now join us in fighting for ours.

About the Author:

Santiago Moreno (He/Him/They/Them) is an activist for trans, non-binary and intersex people. He is Mexican and Filipino and was born and raised in Michigan. Currently, Moreno is a nursing student, but he accepts writing inquiries via email at [email protected] or through Instagram @santisalvaje.
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