Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and, um… oh, that's right, dressing up!

Random post-TDOV 2021 thoughts

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The International Transgender Day of Visibility took place this week, and if you read my previous post, you know that there is a bit of distressing news affecting trans people at a time when the trans community is celebrating being visible and gaining respect, or at least acceptance.  And while news of states barring trans kids from, at the very least, competing in athletic events is a serious concern, any bit of positive recognition directed at our community’s way is so uplifting.  Case in point:  This week’s presidential proclamation issued by Joe Biden, the first formal recognition by a U.S. President of TDOV.

When you think of elected leaders or officials issuing official proclamations, you think of them honoring some military veteran for their distinguished service, some team for winning a big championship, or even some citizen for rescuing a cat from a tree.  You also think these have the sincerity of a greeting card, with “whereas” this and “therefore, I” that and the official’s signature.  Yeah, their John Hancock may be affixed, but odds are they didn’t read the thing first, or didn’t pay attention to it being read aloud.

But when reading the actual words of Mr. Biden’s TDOV proclamation, you get a sense that he at least read the darn thing first.  Oh, I know that a staffer or speechwriter probably wrote the words; that there is, in spots, a boilerplate feel to the document; and that there is a “therefore” statement (“NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America…”).  But there feels like a sincerity to the proclamation.

That’s probably because Mr. Biden recognizes what the trans community has gone through, and what’s going on now.  Yes, there’s the mention of “trailblazing work” by past generations that fostered “hard-fought progress” that’s led to “shaping an increasingly accepting world.”  Note the word “increasingly,” for it also recognizes that we still have a long row to hoe, as plainly laid out in the second paragraph, which lays out, in stats and facts, how our community (trans women in particular) still faces “systemic barriers” toward achieving full equality and freedom.

Oh, and there may be what myopic naysayers of the current administration would call “vanity,” with acknowledgements of executive orders and other efforts (including the Equality Act) aimed at ensuring fairness and protections for trans people in particular and LGBT+ people as a whole.  But those are moves that are unselfish in tone, as opposed to Mr. Biden’s immediate predecessor, who only cared about the man looking back at him in the bathroom mirror, the textbook definition of the word “vanity” if ever there was one.

Mr Biden’s big proclamation wasn’t the only pleasant thing from those in leadership on TDOV 2021.  Now, brace yourself, because I’m about to offer a quote with some dark words.  I can’t get around these words because, well, they’re part of a law now:

“Provides that the discovery of, perception of, or belief about another person’s actual or perceived sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, whether or not accurate, is not a defense to any charge of capital murder, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, voluntary manslaughter, or assault and bodily wounding-related crimes and is not provocation negating or excluding malice as an element of murder.”

Those words come directly from HB 2132, which was introduced in Virginia’s House of Delegates earlier this year by Delegate Danica Roem.  They are the latest words that stand up against the legal strategy known as the “gay panic defense” or “trans panic defense,” in which a defendant accused of assault — or worse — can claim they were provoked into doing their violent deed because they “panicked” or went “temporarily insane” (note the air quotes) over realizing that their victim was homosexual or transgender.  This defense has been a frequent hot topic in the legal and cultural worlds since at least the mid-1990s, perhaps most notably in the murders of Matthew Shepard and Gwen Araujo.  It’s a defense that even the American Bar Association officially frowns upon.

As of TDOV 2021, such a “panic defense” is no longer valid in Virginia.  This is because HB 2132 is now law, thanks to Governor Ralph Northam applying his signature to the legislation.

Of note:  Virginia is now the 12th state in the United States — and the first in the Southern US — to legally forbid a criminal defendant from using the “they were LGBT, so I panicked” defense.  Unfortunately, Wisconsin is not among those 12 states.  Oh, it was proposed in our State Assembly back in 2019, but it has sadly never been enacted into law.

Since Wednesday was the Transgender Day of Visibility, many of us took those words to heart, be they politicians outside of the president…

…or reality TV personalities…

…or those sharing their own stories (side note:  This is just one “You Are Valid!” story from this Instagram account; the rest are also worth reading)…

…or those making their voice heard on serious matters…

…or allies in the fight…

… or little ol’ people like… yours truly…

In my defense, I was working all day, even squeezing a little bit of overtime.  I didn’t have the chance to get all dressed up and all dolled up on TDOV.  But when you think of it, what I may or may not have been wearing doesn’t make as much of a difference as what I was saying.  It’s the same for anyone else who made their voice heard on Wednesday, wherever or however we said it.  No matter our spot on the trans spectrum, we are daring to live our lives in open, positive fashion, regardless of how those who hate and disdain us may feel.  Here’s hoping we continue to life freely and openly, in our own ways, well beyond TDOV.

Author: Allison M.

A part of the trans community (specifically a "cross-dresser") who finds themselves much more expressive and somewhat more confident when presenting in a feminine persona ("she/her/hers" are my pronouns, thank you very much). A sincere admirer and supporter of those who are fashionable, fabulous, and friendly (LGBT or otherwise). Someone who tries to be witty and unique, but is not even remotely perverted or a pariah (I am a real human being, just like you). Using this blog to express viewpoints, thoughts, and feelings about my life experiences, fashion sense, and the world at large... and maybe impressing my high school creative writing teacher (he was a prick, but I really deserved those middling grades back then).

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