Thursday, December 15, 2016

Days that affect how generations see things.

The above is a special picture.  It depicts the activities of an America at peace, shortly before the war which would propel our country from being a republic to being an empire. The location of the picture should be easy to guess. And the Naval Base has not been the same since 12/07/1941 - "A day that will live in infamy." 

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As I write this, it is the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a defining event in America's history. Each generation seems to be defined by a defining event.  My parents had Pearl Harbor day.  Baby Boomers (of which I am one) had JFK's assassination day, as well as Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.  And our children had 9/11/2001. Each event colors how people think, and is a shared experience that a handful of words becomes a metaphor for much, much more.

There seems to be at least one of these events occurring every 25 years or so, and we live in the shadow of 9/11.  America is a nation living in fear because of 9/11. Our politicians have created "security theater" at every airport.  Our major train stations have a regular contingent of armed soldiers nearby, and the soldiers make sure they are seen by the general public - just to make the average person feel safe.

However, this safety is an illusion. Many people live in neighborhoods that aren't that safe. The poorer someone is, the more at risk that someone is. And most of us transgenders have had to sacrifice material comforts in order to be our authentic selves.  One blog I read is written by a person who has moved into a less desirable section of Philadelphia. And she is now at greater risk than before, due to the crime rate in her community.

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For us transgenders, being safe means more than just living in a "good neighborhood". We also have to be protected from people who hate us because of who and what we are.  Many of us do not blend in that well, and catalyze expressions of hatred from others. Another blogger reports how she is often verbally harassed by people who patronize her store. Much of this harassment is deliberate misgendering of the sales clerk, knowing that she has to accept these affronts politely as part of her job.  Couple this with some insensitive religious jerks who still believe that one can "pray the gay away", not understanding or caring about what being transgender is, and one has a recipe for a transgender person to get really upset at life in general.

Now, we have a president elect who appears to be ready to allow the extremists to get their way.  All of the bills that Obama has vetoed will now be resubmitted to a future president Trump - who will likely sign each one.  What deals will he make?  I don't know, but I don't think any of them will benefit us transgenders.  And I also doubt they will benefit America as a whole.

Therefore, I wonder: Will 11/08/2016 be another date that people remember in hindsight, as the Germans and Jews remember Kristallnacht (11/09/1938-11/10/1938)?  Only time will tell.

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