Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off My Chest

I've got a couple of frustrations that I'll share tonight.

First is with Facebook.  On one hand I've reconnected with friends from high school and college, I stay in touch with family, and I've made some good friends there.  I came to peace with the fact that I had to accept people I've never met as friends there a long time ago.  That was just reality for me and I don't regret that.  But, I'm thinking that things have reached critical mass.

Lately I turn down more people than I accept.  There are lots and lots of men and I get lots and lots of what I'll call "creepy" email or wall posts from them.  Not just sometimes, but every day.  Not just one or two, but several.  Somehow, what was a kinda fun forum for connecting with people has become some kind of a dating site where people feel free to take all kinds of liberties.

Some examples:  I've had 25 year old guys - kids as old as my son - saying stuff to me that is actually embarrassing.  Are you kidding me?  I've had people tell me they love me, or send me phone numbers.  They seem to think that I want that kind of stuff, when the exact opposite is true.  I don't find it flattering, or validating, or positive.  I find it uncomfortable, and insincere, and just creepy.  If another guy writes to tell me how they're looking for their soul mate, or the "one" I'm gonna puke.  Take it to Match or someplace where people go to actually get that kind of unsolicited stuff.

Lately it has gotten really bad.  People don't even need to friend you anymore - they just send you an email.  Often, they'll send you an email address and/or a phone number.  The height of silliness in all of this is when people send me an email and ask ME to friend THEM.  Are you kidding?  Not on your life.  It's just out of control.

Anyway, that's one thing.

The second thing is the arrogance of broader LGBT organizations towards the trans community, and towards me.  Over the past year there have been several opportunities in some or the larger, well-known organizations that I'm more than qualified to do and, in fact, I'd be an asset.  I realize that probably sounds self-promoting, but that doesn't mean it's not true.  My resume as an LGBT "Activist" is a long one full of firsts, full of breaking barriers, full of being part of important, foundational efforts.  The reason that it's as long as it is is because I was practical, pragmatic, knowledgeable, passionate, effective - there were lots of reasons I was stretched as thin as I was.

But to have a transperson as a single voice on a board is not the same as having one of us in a position of leadership or even NOT in a position of leadership but on the payroll.  When you look at the broader LGBT movement you can count the number of transpeople in employed on one hand.  Why?  Well, the answer to that question opens a whole can of worms about LGB and T.  Do we belong together?  Are we anything more than tokens or placeholders? Without getting too deep into it - the proof is in actions not words.

In a previous paragraph I used the word "arrogance" - it is carefully chosen and, methinks, very appropriate.  The kinds of positions I was investigating aren't necessarily executive director level roles - often there are other roles that are more appropriate for my skills and background.  But it has been my experience that not only do we/I not get hired, we don't even get any kind of acknowledgement that they even got the inquiry.  Nothing.  Nada.  What word would you use?  Disrespectful?  Uncomfortable?  Or maybe it's just that they treat everyone with equal disdain.  I don't know.  But what I do know it that organizations need to be better than that to people who express an interest in them.  It's just that simple.

On one hand I'm glad to see that the trans community is taking steps to take matters into their own hands, but that's a whole other discussion.....

Well - I feel better.  I'm glad I've got that off my chest.  :)

Things for me have been busy, and are about to get busier.  I'm leaving early tomorrow to participate in TransOhio's 3rd Annual Transgender & Ally Symposium in Columbus.  I've got a God awful early flight to catch in the morning.  One thing I've never seen the sense in doing is dressing up to fly.  Some people seem to feel that's important.  I expect to sleep on these flights so I may as well wear pajamas or sweats.  Anyway - if you'll be there I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!


Melissa said...

I think you are one of the dearest, sweetes people I have encountered on Bogger! As Joseph Campbell once said, "follow your bliss!"

F. J. said...


Regarding the single point of not receiving acknowledgments when applying for positions: it is indeed incredibly arrogant and rude, and unfortunately, all too common in lots of organizations and industries. It wouldn't be any more acceptable if it were directed primarily at you or the trans community, though lots of other decent, respectful and interested persons are getting "dissed" by potential employers everyday. And those employers then wonder why the people they do hire don't have any loyalty to the organization. Employees can read the culture pretty easily and act accordingly. After all, what goes around comes around (though never quickly enough for my tastes!)

J said...

I totally agree on FB's devolution to the Internet hookup culture-- friend me & we can discuss it. ;)

Sophie Jean said...

I wish I would have known you were going to be at TransOhio. It would have actually given me a reason to pay the fees, make the road trip and attend.

Shows how much I keep with the blogs (not much).

For me, turning into a cold fish works on some of these people who are only mildly aggressive. The others I unfriend immediately, like the gentleman looking for a replacement for his trans wife? At least I don't get strange references to nether parts any more, like Italian Sausage.

Unfortunately, these days, it seems that employers have to think you're a genius to be hired as a trans person, and when a recruiter calls me into their office about a position in another state with no protections, the need to feel safe requires me to out myself.

I can't wait to hear how the symposium went :)


sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Dear Donna I know exacly what your talking about as I to have experienced the same thing from the LGB community. I swear it seem now that I pass and blend in I get treated far better from just your normal straight person then I do by those in the LBG community ..... Go figure ?