Letter to the editor

Joshua Harper, For the Review

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Discussions on who faces structural oppression, who is marginalized, and conversely, who is privileged, have been increasingly more common. If it were not for their rampant high-mindedness and low-browedness, this would be encouraging. What is discouraging to witness is to see my body, bodies like mine – so many people become bodies – become a battlefield from which, at the close of day, both allies and oppressors withdraw.

Perhaps it can be dismissed as an ontological problem of allyship, that to fight such fights as these, one must utilize the same homogenizing and condescending -dehumanizing – rhetoric as the “enemy” employs: no three-haired brush has ever painted a wall length mural.

Perhaps it cannot be dismissed so easily, that each individual who happens to be trans* is dragged into the courtyard to form a hill upon which the self-righteous can die.

I am six foot tall, and two hundred fifty pounds, biologically male, and white. From whom do I need your paternalistic wing over my skeptical brow covering? This speaking for, grandstanding for, a group of individuals as diverse as any contained within an arbitrary label does nothing but froth the foam falling from the corner of your mouth – an indiscriminately open mouth catches flies more than its spat words catch fire. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, when an individual comes to the defense of trans* people as a monolith, that individual further marginalizes those in more dire need of specific protection while I ride on the coattails of someone else’s straight flush of marginalized identity markers.

In rereading that for consistency’s sake, nothing contained heretofore has been, to those in support of the most recently shunned speaker, an acquiescence. Simply because allies do not end their statements often enough with a question mark does not excuse the questionable methods by which you package bigotry as sardonic or smug. I, too, value with primacy a common respect for human dignity; that in no way precludes disrespecting the dignity of individuals far more brave, and no less human, than you. Perhaps the individual is fetishsized by the right, and perhaps the label is fetishized by the left: neither is more wrong than the other, there is no magnitude to falsehood.

It seems too optimistic to expect any change to be affected by this, yet also too pessimistic to expect no change at all. I have no qualms with allies and skeptics engaging in further discourse on my status as a human being, but the one reservation I allow myself is of my identifying with “queer” be the same identification espoused or articulated by a single other person by that label. How many people all six foot tall have you met that were justifiably homogenized?

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Letter to the editor