This is one of the best posts I’ve read on what we need to do to make the world better for trans people period, let alone posts responding to Leelah Alcorn’s death. It is, as the author points out, a cobbling-together of things other trans people have been saying for years, but it is, nonetheless, a concise, intelligent, powerful piece of writing and well worth a read.
I do take issue with one thing Binaohan says in this post, though–the assertion that the RealLiveTransAdult hashtag on twitter is “a hashtag that popped up on Twitter as a way, it appears, to give hope to young trans people that — and this phrasing is intentional — it gets better.”
Binaohan is right to be critical of the It Gets Better campaign. Many people before me have discussed its shortcomings, but let me give you a brief rundown: “It Gets Better” is a campaign begun by a white, wealthy, conventionally attractive, cisgender gay man who occupies a place of relative privilege in society. It is inappropriate for someone in that position to tell queer youth that it will get better, when for many, it won’t. “It Gets Better” ignores the structural inequalities of racism, sexism, transphobia and other kinds of marginalization that keep “it” from getting better for queer and trans youth.
The thing is, I never read the RealLiveTransAdult hashtag as an It Gets Better type of thing. The very first tweet I read, the tweeter just said “I’m 31 and I work in a bookstore.” That’s why I got on board. Because something missing from society is trans visibility. I didn’t even know any lesbians I could identify with as a young kid, let alone trans people. Leelah may not have mentioned trans invisibility specifically, but that doesn’t mean that trans kids aren’t suffering from lack of representation, lack of role models, lack of any sort of canvas on which to project their potential future life.
My tweets have been about being employed, having friends, having cats and rabbits, having good days and bad days, and loving Melissa McCarthy. Nothing that’s particularly groundbreaking, and therefore nothing that’s especially out of reach for trans kids. Just a reminder, in a world that likes to pretend we don’t exist, that we do. And we’re everywhere.
So although we’ve got a lot of battles to fight, and adult trans people tweeting about their boring lives probably isn’t the *most* impactful thing we could be doing, more representation of trans people who have survived to adulthood is, undeniably, a good thing.