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Hey guys…please read!

So, I’ve been blogging for the Upper Delaware GLBT Center as part of my internship and unfortunately today I had to blog about something very disconcerting regarding one of our trans-members. I strongly urge all my followers to read the article in the link provided and commit to holding Daniel Tosh accountable for this transphobic episode. 

http://udglbtcenter.blogspot.com/2013/02/where-is-love.html

“Snake Women,” Transwomen and Hate Crimes In Myth

As someone who’s always been fascinated by mythology and the archetypes that evolved from those timeless stories, I find it enthralling to see how many cultures have developed similar symbology regarding the same things. Though the symbology may have differed, based on the specific phobias and hang-ups of each distinct society, the same figures emerge time and time again. One such figure is the Snake Woman. Before I delve into this any further, allow me to divulge my original source of inspiration for this topic.

I had taken an Anthropology class called, “Magic, Myth and Religion,” when I first started college and my professor had mentioned something that really struck me. He told us that numerous cultures have “snake women” or “serpent-goddesses” in their folklore, which must be challenged and defeated by some virile, sweat-soaked (not at all homoerotic, *coughcough* yeah, right) champion typical of male-dominated societies at the time. He then went on to equate their serpentine parts with penises, which seems to make sense considering a woman with a penis (whether it be a figurative or literal one) might potentially pose a significant risk to the patriarchal status quo. Whenever a male-born person relinquishes the privilege bestowed upon them by a patriarchal socio-cultural system, they are shunned. They are denigrated for essentially denigrating themselves. And as this pans out across ancient cultures, the fear of the feminine bubbles up into self-righteous indignation and “The Outcast” becomes immortalized forever as “The Monster,” in myth and legend. In the case of female monsters, many are given male qualities, the most prevalent of which are aggression and outspoken natures, at least compared with the ideal of womanhood as concocted by the male.

We are then left with beings like Medusa, who fornicates in the temple of Wisdom and as punishment for asserting her sexual power is cursed, her crowning glory taken from her and replaced with a mane of unruly serpents and a petrifying gaze. Or the child-eating Queen Lamia, who is turned into a half-serpent and who according to Aristophanes, sprouts a phallus “for monstrosity’s sake.” Throughout the world we see Nagas, Shirabyoshi, primordial sea goddesses, and even the biblical Lilith becoming conflated with gender-variance and almost always they are then demonized in some way. The snake has always been a phallic symbol, and by extension a symbol of power. What better way to illustrate the adoption by a woman of a powerful role than to physically morph that woman into a half-woman, half-man? In this way, folk tales and myths were able to be understood by masses which were by and large, uneducated.

It’s funny how a lot of the cautionary tales against the Snake Woman in myth mirror the “trans panic defense” that’s so often used to murder young transwomen today without consequence. Demonizing us in the same way that these seemingly primitive-minded people used to; responding with “justified hatred” against any threats to their patriarchal societies and, by extension, their collective sense of manhood. If it’s a monster, it’s okay to kill it. And monsters are deceptive, in the same way transwomen who deceive men into thinking they’re natal females are. That’s the erroneous line of thinking anyway. However, isn’t a delusion that the human being in front of you is a demon just so it makes it okay in your mind to hurt them a form of self-deception too? That’s the problem…far too many people never question the myth and as a result, our roles have become perpetually engrained in black and white, to the extent that in modern-day China, Thai transfolk or Katoey are referred to as “renyao,” a term which, when analyzed, can mean both “enchanting” and “monstrous.” The sad reality is that in today’s world, too many victims of hate crimes are still held to be exactly that. Until we replace the myth with a new one – an empowering one, filled with heroes and heroines who confront transphobic ignorance wherever it sprouts we will remain, to many people, “enchanting monsters.”

Why Mitt Romney Bothers Me…A Transgendered Perspective

There are a lot of reasons why I find Mitt Romney’s participation in the 2012 Presidential Election thoroughly disturbing; mostly because in this day and age I find it revolting to see fear-mongers such as himself rise to such powerful positions, and teeter on the edge of turning our beautiful country into a white-washed wasteland, reflective of his own distorted societal views.

This is a man who makes big promises and pretends to be what you want him to be (fine, like every politician you’re saying and, to a certain extent, you’re right), BUT this is also a man who bullied his classmates on the suspicion that they were gay and forcibly attacked a suspected gay classmate with a pair of scissors, shearing off his hair because he found its length inappropriate. What his supporters, especially the ones sympathetic to LGBT causes for whatever reason, fail to see is that he wants to project that same juvenile attitude onto all LGBT families on a much wider scale. He wants to cut us out of his vision. A vision that sounds fine enough if you’re a straight, non-minority with a lot of money and an undeserved superiority complex. That I’m not so offended by, because quite frankly, I wouldn’t be a part of this man’s anything if he paid me by the million. The part that offends me is that he’s taking that skewed thinking even further and wants to cut us off from our fundamental human rights. This is a man who actively supports measures that would strip LGBT folk of marriage equality, and anti-discrimination policies in the workplace. This is a man who was too afraid to attach his name to an anti-bullying pamphlet because it contained the words ‘bisexual’ and ‘transgender.’This is a man who “threatened to shut down the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth and vetoed a $158,000 budget item meant to counsel violence victims in the LGBT community.” This is a man who believes there is a “gay agenda.” What exactly is it, pray tell Mr. Romney? Requesting help to recover from the life-long trauma that bullies like you have caused us throughout our crucial formative years? Trying to heal the suicidal near-misses because a lot of us have been so put off by the kind of hate you and your kind engender that we would rather end our lives than continue dealing with you? No sir…if anyone has an agenda, it’s you and your camp. The “gay agenda” if you can call it that, is a cry for equal human rights and the same life, liberty and pursuit of happiness you have. It’s not a “gay agenda,” it’s a “human agenda.” Because like it or not, Mr. Romney, we are human beings…just like you, some of us just happen to be gay or transgen- oops, I forgot…that word’s scary for you.

That being said…I must admit, I’ve never been the most politically active person in the world. I always tried to stay away from ‘stuff like that,’ deeming it too frustrating and too complicated to deal with. Additionally, having to deal with the intricacies of my own transition all these years left me little time to involve myself. Until I realized that all of that thinking is horse-puckey. ‘Stuff like that’ is what effects every American person’s life and we should all take an active stake in seeing that things continue to evolve by not allowing them to decay. I don’t typically vote (mostly becuase my mother always told me once I registered they’d be able to make me do jury duty…don’t believe it, they got me long before I ever registered anyway), and I know a lot of LGBT people who are either politically apathetic or Log Cabin Republicans, but please…for all our sakes, stop Romney! Stop him because he doesn’t want you to be a part of anything he does. Stop him because he wouldn’t have supported you in high school and he won’t support you now! Stop him because he doesn’t see you and he never will. If you can’t recognize another person’s human rights, you essentially fail to recognize them as human. I can’t wait until November to show Mr. Mitt Romney how very human I am by voting for Obama and making my voice count, just like you hopefuly will, even if you don’t usually…so that you can show him how human you are too.