trans/gender 101: how white people could discuss IAOPOC genders without being shitty


Hmm… I have an ask in my inbox about how a white trans person can bring up/discuss IAOPOC genders without appropriating or erasing or otherwise fucking up (in what sounds like a 101 gender type talk). 

I mean… this person was of the belief to not mentioning us wouldn’t be a good thing. And this is entirely true, ‘cause that is just erasure. And also gives the very false notion that white trans/gender discourse is comprehensive and good for all contexts. So. Yes. We shouldn’t be forgotten when white people are doing trans/gender 101. 

But. Then. *How* can a white person discuss us without being shitty or oppressive? 

1. Know your place. It is not your place to represent us. Ideally… it would be awesome if you could just idk, have PoC involved. In the case that this happens… you’ll be safest if you don’t try to explain us. I mean, we exist. So mention that we exist. And then stop. Anything more sets you up as being authoritative over stuff that you aren’t, because this is about people lives. And. This applies even to those white people who might’ve done some research or taken a class on some IAOPOC genders or societies. Enough people have tried, and failed, to represent us and it never ends well. 

2. Talk about erasure. Talk about how white people constantly forget that we exist (unless it is convenient, see point 4). And, again, not much needs to be said here. Other than, idk, giving a strong reminder to everyone that, um, WE EXIST. 

3. You’ve mentioned we exist, now what? Well… how about discussing appropriation? And how white people like to do this. And you don’t even need to say much. But you can say things like: “If you are white, you can’t be Two Spirit” etc. These boundaries are pretty clear. And it would be great if more white people would spread the word to other white people about not taking our shit. 

4. Exploitation. White people forget that we exist… until they are trying to make some sort of point either about their oppression (see TDoR) or some larger academic point about how being ‘trans’ is ‘natural’ ‘cause look at all those uncivilized savages who have ‘trans’ people and IDs. We do not exist to prop up the freedoms or movements of white people. Never have and never will. 

5. Talk about fetishization. This related to point 4, too. Since. Sometimes white people like to have extremely romantic views about IAOPOC genders. And our societies. Sure. Bakla is, in some respects, better respected amongst Filipin@s. But anyone who thinks that it is a lovely picture of societal wide acceptance and that there is no oppression, is too busy romanticising and fetishizing us to actually see or know any facts. 

6. I almost forgot this point, it seemed so self-apparent. Racism. You should mention racism. And how the white trans community needs to do a *lot* of work in being way less racist. No seriously. Look every white person in that room, no discussion allowed, and just tell them that they are expected to be less racist. Or, ideally, not racist at all. 

(and, of course, re: point 4, maybe actually credit this to me? so. yeah. maybe this’ll help)

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