Monday, November 9, 2015

Atheism & The Black Community - TransPHOBIA

Me and Fallon Fox met at Creating Change 2015 in Denver, she had a great and down to earth spirit about herself. I had become a fan of Fallon in 2014 because she is a damn good fighter and as earlier stated, she is a great person to be around. So when I saw this post in a group I participate in, along with the comments from Cis men and women that were just disheartening. As a fellow Atheist, Fallon is at an intersection that many lgbT People of Color are situated and it becomes even more unique for a person who is openly Trans. Why turn your back on a fellow POC because we don't fully understand who they are???

As Black and other Atheists of Color, don't we have enough to deal with when folks question our racial identities? In the video below, there are statements of antiTrans nature mixed with Fallon telling her story. It is important to watch because many of the derogatory statements in the video match the statements in the group...

The thread is at nearly 300 comments, Normally I do screenshots of comments, but I will share what I have written in the past:

"Transphobia in the Black community is out of control, it may be invisible and hard to identify at points but it is there. Just look at the fight for Houston's equal rights ordinance that has come under fire due to its Trans inclusive language." - Black Lives Matter: Black Trans Lives NEED to Matter

"...I guess, I never tried to understand what it meant to be Trans-Masculine  or Trans-Feminine, only that people are people, PERIOD. I saw how Trans folks were and are abused physically and verbally via institutional & general means. I will not go into all of that, what I will go into is how we are currently treating people who have the same struggles as us. When I say struggles, I mean living while Black and dealing with all that comes with being Black, while being told that we don't exist by Black folks! When will we stop being so Trans-phobic and disrespectful to our Brothers and sisters? It is extremely odd that members of the SGL-BT/LGBT community of color are some of the most Trans-phobic, this is extremely problematic.

The first thing that we must understand is not how and why a person decided to transition, but how we can help our brothers and sisters in that transition and respecting it. We can't continue to sexualize Trans persons out of curiosity of what their genitalia may or may not look like! Here is a place to start:

Sex - refers to biological differences; chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs.
Gender - describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine.
Gender identity - is a person's private sense and subjective experience of their own gender. This is generally described as one's private sense of being a man or a woman, consisting primarily of the acceptance of membership into a category of people: male or female.
Gender expression

Gender expression - refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions. Social or cultural norms can vary widely and some characteristics that may be accepted as masculine, feminine or neutral in one culture may not be assessed similarly in another.

Transgender - is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression is different from those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g., the sex listed on their birth certificate). Not all people who consider themselves (or who may be considered by others as) transgender will undergo a gender transition. 

Gender transition - Transitioning is the process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. This may or may not include hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery and other medical procedures.

Can we come to agreement that we should try to respect and understand others' choices to transition without stereotyping, demeaning and attack our Trans brothers and Sisters? Now is the time for us to use our privilege to help the "T" in SGL-BT/LGBT and understand that it doesn't take away from or main struggles and only serves to benefit all." - Why we Must Support our Trans Brothers & Sisters

About Fallon:

Fallon Fox is a professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter specializing in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Muay Thai. She began training in 2008 and currently has a record of 5-1-0. Fallon trains out of Midwest Training Center in Schaumburg, Illinois alongside her talented teammates.

"Born in the industrial city of Toledo, Ohio Fallon Fox grew up the middle child of three children. Growing up in a neighborhood that she considered hostile, she sought out a means to defend herself. She joined her high school wrestling team her senior year in order to get into shape and have a base for self defence.

In 1996 Fallon joined the United States Navy as an Operations Specialist, served honorably for four years, and ended her service as an Operations Specialist second class.

After serving, she went on to study at the University of Toledo. During this time Fallon began to research transgender or transsexual information in order to better understand herself. Fallon struggled with being comfortable with the body she had at the time as she had the unfortunate disposition of being born male. Unable to bear the emotional trauma of this, and realizing that the longer she did nothing about her situation the less chance she would have of successfully correcting the problem, she removed herself from studies to work for the money to transition from male to female. Fallon physically transitioned from male to female in 2006, finally matching up her inner identity with her physical form.

In 2008, Fallon Fox began training jiu jitsu in order to get back in shape and find a way to defend herself physically yet again. In this process she found empowerment in her new body and gained a passion for jiu jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. She went on to study Muay Thai and Mixed Martial arts. Fallon has been competing in Jiu jitsu, Submission Fighting Tournaments, and Mixed Martial Arts competitions ever since.

In addition to competing, Fallon is pursuing speaking engagements to tell her story, share how Mixed Martial Arts and other contact sports can empower women of all stripes, and how all of this fits within her perspective as a feminist."

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