Neither a titillating tell-all autobiography nor a cry for loving acceptance, Amy Dentata’s first chapbook defies the stereotypes of transgender women’s literature. Through poetry, short stories, and mini-essays, Bite tackles the intersection of child abuse and gender politics with a voice that is simultaneously shocking, hilarious, and provocative.
Fake (Yet Accurate) Praise for Bite:
“That was powerful! Life-changing! Now please go away so I can cry in a corner for a week.” – General Consensus Among Live Audiences
“I am a trans person or ally with a decent grasp of feminist and activist terminology, despise anti-trans bigotry, and think Bite is a must-read.” – The Author Just Described Her Target Audience
“What does ‘cisgender’ mean?” – Most Cisgender People
Print Edition via Amazon.com ($6.00)
I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth reposting, because you should probably go read this if you haven’t already. I mean, you’re not going to argue with General Consensus Among Live Audiences, are you? Of course not, they court martial you for arguing with generals. Go read this now.
Cause I’m tired of seeing this. Being autistic doesn’t mean you are transgender or lgbt. Being transgender or lgbt does not mean you are autistic. Autism and gender/sexual identity are two different things.
People are saying that? O_O
Hang on, people are saying that? o.O
During my youth, when I lived in the role of a young queer boy I would often only feel truly safe in GLBT spaces. The communities I frequented were often completely supportive and there for me no matter what I was going through, and so I naturally assumed that coming out as trans would afford me that same safety in the spaces I had grown to know were accepting and respectful of my expressions and identity.
However after transitioning and being out in the same type of spaces for some time, I began to notice a subtle trend that slowly and subconsciously gnawed at my nerves until I was forced to face it. And upon doing so I was shocked to see how I had gone so long never noticing it in the first place:
The constant and unabashed exclusion of transgender issues from, ironically, a community that so proudly totes us around inside it’s acronym.
To be honest, it’s something I should have noticed from the very beginning when I looked to the GLBT community for trangender information during my own first budding feelings of trans self-awareness. I remember having an unnecessarily difficult time actually finding sound, constant and relevant info and being led into dead ends with such unhelpful non-answers as “it’s complex” or “transsexuals are a difficult subject”. I ended up, in the beginning, cobbling together only that trans issues are a mysterious subject that most folks - both in and out of the community - knew little to nothing about and had a curious aversion to actually digging into.
Of course in my youth I was happy to excuse this and chalked it up to the simple fact that, as a minority inside of a minority, I would of course have a more difficult time finding what I wanted since we are so “rare” in the first place. I didn’t even think, at the time, that this was a big red flag as to the kind of treatment I would receive in the future.
My increasing weariness at the GLB(t) community came slowly as I started to actually voice my opinions on issues that affected us. I would interject in discussions and debates that I previously would hold at least a respectable sway in, and now found myself the target of rolled eyes and wincing “Oh, you people” looks. A sort of “Why do you have to intrude on our community?” feeling.
I quickly realized that the GLB community has a disturbingly large amount of animosity towards it’s confusing little “T” tacked onto the end of it. Like it was their bizarre little sibling who they’re forced to take care of for the weekend but begrudgingly puts up with because “they’re family so they have to.”
So it should have come as no surprise when I started to harbor a certain level of resentment when a bone was actually thrown to me.
There’s this idea in the GLB(t) community - this disturbing trend I see over and over wherein if trans issues are actually addressed in ANY kind of light - there’s an unspoken expectation that I should be suddenly and thoroughly so grateful that I’m actually being included in something. A kind of “Hey I know we haven’t talked about you people for a while but look! Look I mentioned a trans person in passing. Aren’t you so validated?!”
So I sort-of-kind-of belong but only sometimes when it’s convenient, in this community where I’m supposed to be equal in the first place. Great! Thanks brah!
It’s this idea that I’m supposed to be happy, I’m supposed to be content with only receiving a tiny slice of the pie. The equivalent of a sarcastic smile and pat on the head as I’m tolerated within these spaces and that bare tolerance in and of itself should, of course, be enough to fulfill me.
And I’ll be frank and fair about this - I mean, there’s lots of issues that affect only one portion of the community. If it’s an issue that only affects cis gay men for instance, then sure - absolutely I don’t expect to see anything trans-specific in there. I’m not saying that I have to be constantly validated in everything that’s said about the community as a whole, but there is still - by far - a massive imbalance at the inclusion and visibility of trans folk and if I’m going to be up there in that acronym I don’t think it’s unfair that I should at least expect to have myself represented in something more than an afterthought.
What turns my stomach the most about this though, is the apprehension I see from cis queer folk when we actually attempt to call out our exclusion. You can see this in situations such as DADT, where trans folk are still excluded, but when we attempted to speak up on the unfairness of that we were met with an exasperated “why can’t you people just let us have our victory” mentality.
And you know what? That’s great that a victory was scored for GLB rights and inclusion. It’s fantastic and I of course, completely support it. But when a side effect of that is me and everything I am being blatantly and completely erased from an issue that should have rightly applied to me as well? I’m gonna call bullshit.
I see this illustrated in burning clarity when a pro-GLB(t) “ally” or popular figurehead member of our community speaks with transphobic and erasing remarks in the media and we call it out. Because we’re met with a backlash of “How dare you pick on them, they’ve done so much for GLBT rights!” and “There are much worse people to go after with your hatred.”
And you know what? That’s right - There ARE much worse people. And we do call them out. But when it’s someone from within the community, who we look to to deliver a positive, respectful message to the rest of the world, and who for all intents and purposes should know better when having the balls to speak FOR us and not even do their homework? I’m going to call them out just the same.
But time and time again, my outrage at this shit would fall on deaf ears. It was at this point I realized the community I had once called home suddenly and harshly became alien to me.
So I was not surprised when my growing trepidation at the GLB(t) spaces I used to inhabit was often met with a perceived elitism from others, like I was distancing myself because I had become “too good for the rest of them” and people would much have rather tisked and rolled their eyes at me as I got heated and offended at blatant trans exclusion, instead of - I don’t know - actually asking me why I’m pissed and possibly learning something about their own busted viewpoints and misconceptions in the first place.
And the delicious irony of this all is that it’s a perfect, stark illustration of the accepted and tolerated aversion to actually having to deal with that pesky little “T” in GLBT.
And they still don’t get it.
So you know what? Don’t expect me to be filled with joy and graciousness in the offhand event you remember I exist up there and decide it’s about time to toss me a cookie.
Because for me, I’ve learned that more often than not the “T” is silent.
As tybaar shows all too well, the T is silenced. Even those of us who refuse to be silenced are silenced.