Is Social Activism Being Shrouded by Political Activism
A critical part of transgender equality is being overlooked. Social activism is being shrouded by political activism, and it’s setting up trans, societal-integration for failure.
At 21, I was kicked out of my house. My step-mom told me shortly before she kicked me out I was setting myself up for a long and difficult life.
It’s clear to see why; my parents had no idea who trans people are. Nothing they saw on the news was positive. It was always how trans people we’re fighting for rights and never finding equality and acceptance. When trans people finally win a fight, the political landscape quickly replaces it with another problem, and the media are on to cover that issue. Trans people are being ignored as capable members of society and are instead being covered for our problems and negative stereotypes; and of course the hot political issues all focus on one thing, sex. I’m not talking about the act. I’m talking about biology.
Whether it’s in the bathroom or the military, both issues come full circle to discuss genitalia and/or the act of transition. Trans people are once again being focused on because of our unique anatomy, while our human qualities are being ignored.
If we are to change the view on transgender people in our society, we must stop focusing on trans peoples’ problems. The solution to trans acceptance lies with the social activists while he solution to trans equality lies with the political activists. The current political focus of trans people is creating a lack of acceptance in our quest for social integration. Political activists ensure trans people are equal in legal right, while social activists ensure that people will treat those legal rights with respect.
Respect does not come from broadcasting hot issues. Respect comes from acceptance, and acceptance comes from empathy. Art and song help people empathize the issues trans people are facing. Artistic social activists play a key role in finding empathy through the stories they share, the art they create, and the music they sing. With empathy for trans people, we can start shifting the viewpoint of others to respect a fight for equality and we rally allies to create an even bigger voice for trans rights.
Social activism makes society aware of trans people in a positive light. By focusing on trans people for their individualism outsiders may find themselves relating to trans people. Trans musicians tell stories of their hardships, the things they’ve had to endure and overcome. These stories told by the artist are not exaggerated by a member of the media, they tell only what the artist has experienced and nothing more.
Songs about overcoming, mourning, love, and friendship are relatable to everyone. Music plays an incredibly important role as an auditory medium in that the listener can only interpret what they hear. An individual’s prejudice can not exist if they are not aware that an artist playing on the radio is transgender.
With stories told in a catchy, relatable way, trans musicians, have the ability to challenge the belief of bigotry. These musicians, these social activists have the power to sway the viewpoint of an unaccepting society. We as both the media and the trans community are not giving power to these social activists though. We as a transgender community need to lift these artists up, and when we do, the media will listen.