Sometimes, looking at things from a sideways angle is helpful...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Gender Neutral Victory?

First off, I apologise for blogging twice in one night. The previous one was something a bit older that I wanted to post up for someone specific to see.

Secondly, I am aware that this would normally belong in my personal blog. However, I tend not to post anything there that could identify me offline, hence putting this here.

Tonight, my university had a motion going through the GM regarding gender neutral pronouns / language in General Meetings, primarily from the chair, but as good practice in general. I knew about this motion in advance, and I knew that it was going to pass. Maybe that sounds big-headed, but knowing my union as I did, I expected opposition from one person, who I'm already aware of, but other than that, the motion to go through smoothly. When I heard he intended to oppose it, I was pleased, it gave me a chance to really make my points to him, face to face, and I looked forward to that.

The motion passed, and I feel awful.

Why? I got what I went in there for, I got the motion through. I feel awful because of the amount of opposition it faced. I didn't expect that. I honestly thought, as an out trans person in my university, that maybe a handful of people existed who had an issue with it. Instead, the comments against this motion came through to gales of applause. In fairness, a lot of that came from ignorance, I suspect, but deep down, I realised: there were a number of people in that room, probably a number greater than those who publically voted no, or abstained, of which there were very few, who don't acknowledge my gender as valid.

I have fought for this. I have fought tooth and nail for six years to be seen as who I am. I've nearly died for this, and I don't say that lightly.

I don't see the motion passing as a victory at all, in terms of the opposition it faced, whilst I was hearing "the majority of people just don't care about this", how can I call that a victory? How can I call it a victory when the mood in the room indicated the motion passed because people didn't want to be seen as transphobic, rather than because they believed in the motion?

I don't feel safe in my students' union, and I feel incredibly sad saying that.

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