I must admit, being offended is a lot fun. You get to holler, call people names that insult their intelligence, and just revel in the greatness that is social unfairness. There is a sense of relief that happens for me at least when I’m offended. I can choose my weapons carefully. Be it a condescending tirade or a subliminal snarky comment. Indeed, the joys of being offended aren’t always highlighted, but they are there. I hypothesize that it’s one of the reasons why liberals watch Bill O’Reily or why afro-centric feminists listen to Nicki Minaj’s lyrics so closely. We hold some kind of endearment for being taken aback, and subconsciously we search for more and more things to ruffle our feathers. It gets us off.
A few days ago, I was consciously browsing YouTube for something entertaining to kill the time. Subconsciously, I was looking for something to validate my opinion or offend my perspectives. Fortunately for this article, I found the latter. While searching the popular platform for viral cat videos and webcam confessions, I found a video of a fairly popular YouTube user that is transsexual.
On camera, she’s a life guru with a spiritual flare that might inspire thoughts of Oprah or Deepak Chopra. Off camera, however, she is a porn star and escort. The contradiction isn’t lost on me and I actually find it quite poetic. Besides, don’t we all have a ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ quality to our personalities and everyday life? Well, I’d like to think so. Besides, judging is pretty unbecoming. I’m sure as a black transsexual woman she’s free of judgment and has experienced enough judgment in her life – wait. In one of her videos she describes her effeminate family member as ‘swishy’ and ‘too much.’
Instantly, I am goddamn offended. Not just offended, but goddamn offended. The type of offended that you can feel conspiring in the center of your chest and rush throughout your body like an intense orgasm or electric shock.
How could someone a part of the LGBT community say something so offensive and ignorant? Before her surgery, isn’t it possible that she too was seen as just a ‘swishy’ man? Granted, I don’t know her rather effeminate family member, but the distaste that came out of her mouth rivaled that of some homophobes.
In sheer bliss of just being newly offended via YouTube, I told a friend what I found. Little did I know that I’d hit another politically incorrect jackpot. My friend responded, “Who cares what a tranny has to say?” Now, this is a black gay man on the more feminine side saying this. I was instantly offended again. How could you disregard somebody that is breaking down and reconstructing gender norms just like you? How could you dismiss somebody for staying faithful to what their mind and soul is telling them, despite how society might feel about it? I was in limbo. I was in between a rock and a self-loathing place. At first it was shocking and angering, not too long after, it became fascinating.
Of course, this is not the first time I’ve noticed that the ‘T’ in LGBT wasn’t always so welcoming or welcomed by the rest of the queers, but why? Aren’t we all virtually going through the same struggle of reinventing gender and sexuality norms to include who we are? Apparently, it’s not seen that way. In fairness, that too has good reason. Being transgendered has nothing to do with sex, romance, and everything else queer folks talk about.
Being transgendered is more of a biological issue that gets corrected than the political issue that is being homosexual or bisexual. Simply put, being a transsexual is handled internally and being homosexual/bisexual is handled externally.
Besides, if you’re lucky, you can be a transsexual that never has to claim the LGBT community because you’re living your life as a heterosexual man or woman thus making you an instant member of the majority, until an unsightly dick print shows up or maybe there’s a prominent Adams apple.
Alas, that isn’t a lot of transsexuals’ stories. Lest we forget that many queer rights being fought for will result in transsexuals benefiting. Outside of appealing to political greed, isn’t it just plain nice to try to understand each other? We all are a disenfranchised people, so before labeling someone ‘too much’ or brushing someone else off as less than a human, why not get to know someone. With understanding comes knowledge and less of an open space to offend people, especially those in similar struggles. Well, that’s unless you find a secret joy in being offended and being offensive. In that case, the ignorance might just be your bliss and create the LGBT community’s saddest divide yet.