CONTENT NOTE: VIOLENCE AGAINST TRANS WOMEN; DISCUSSION OF RAPE
This article, by Kai Cheng Tom, is a moving and beautifully written piece about what it means to be a young trans woman of color and to read over and over again about the violent death of women like you.
I have argued for years that male rape of women is a terrorist act, reminding all women what men can do to us, how vulnerable we are, how we have no way to exist in safety in this world. That the knock-on effects of one woman’s rape extends to her family and friends (if she feels comfortable enough to share the story) and beyond, if the news media picks it up. I do not mean to imply by this that survivors of rape should keep quiet or that rape should not be reported in the news. The problem is not knowledge. The problem is rape.
I gave up an extra unpaid job writing for a local Queens newspaper more than fifteen years ago because I was having to cover community board meetings etc. that took place in the evening, and thus had to take the G train back home to Brooklyn late at night. The G train ran seldom and was usually empty, and this was just the time that a man dubbed by the local news as “the G-train rapist” was operating. So much for a career in journalism.
Edit: I think this kind of unremitting, unrelenting violence against trans women is also terrorism. Look at the effects on the trans women who are not its direct victims. Look at the way Kai Cheng Tom has to live in fear, how hard it becomes to envision a future free of that violence and the fear of it. I felt something that I think is a little similar when I was 18 and I started to find out how many of my friends had been raped: I started to think that being raped was inevitable. But as a cis white woman, I had many more resources for support, ways to help me move past that feeling.
And at least I could give up that job–women who had paid jobs late at night on the G line couldn’t. And what are trans women supposed to do? Stop being?
Trans women need a future. They deserve a future. So what I’m posting here is a link to a piece on trans people over 50. Some transitioned later, some earlier. But they’re still here, still living, still making lives and happiness. If we are all lucky, this is what the future looks like.
Edited because I lost the thread originally and forgot to make the parallel between rape of cis women and transmisogynist violence that I was trying to create clear. Sorry about that. That’s what I get for composing directly on-site instead of drafting.