Recently I attended an event for NARAL Maryland where I ran into many friends of mine. I am not a huge fan of these types of events because I find it uncomfortable to dress up, but I expect most people are used to me showing up unkempt by now (and they have the decency not to tell me I look like a schlump, thanks friends!)
One of my friends and I got to talking about the Mormon practice of baptizing the dead into the Mormon Church. In case you haven’t heard of this, Mormons posthumously baptize Jews who died in the Holocaust as Mormons. Seriously. This practice does violence to reality, to a person’s lived experience, and to basic decency. She told me that her partner felt so strongly about this practice, he added a provision to his will expressing his wish never to be baptized into the Mormon Church postumously.
So what of what happens when we die? I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in opportunists. The Mormon Church see dead Jewish people and think, “Look, an opportunity to help more people have endless celestial sex!” (As a side note, I also believe that some Transgender Activists will celebrate when I die, and when Radical Feminists die, because they’ve told us so. Knock yourselves out boys!)
I’ve been thinking a lot about the posthumous baptizing of non-Mormons quite a bit lately, as I have been reading about the people honored by Transgender Activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith and others on the Transgender Day of Remembrance and the MEN who murder them (which you can read about here.) I am going to write about the Men kill Trans Women (and why) in another blog post; this post is about how Trans Activists have tread dangerously close to being like the Mormon Church in baptizing murder victims into the Church of Trans.
As a Lesbian activist since the early 1990s, I’ve seen (and read about) dozens of cases of Gay Men who wore drag attire or women’s clothing and who were attacked or murdered – indeed, you’d have to be willfully ignorant not to know this if you’ve been out in the community since the 1990s. I remember Smith writing letters to the editor of The Advocate pointing out various men murdered while en femme. Are these Men transgender? Does it do violence to the lives they led to claim them as Trans? Might it? Does it matter?
I think it does. I think Truth matters.
But I am not a Gay Man. I will simply note that there seems to be a very broad definition of Transgender and move on.
Until I reach the children.
These are children murdered by Men because the Men wanted to enforce (violently) masculine social roles on them. The murderers here used words like sissy and faggot to degrade the children (oh and btw, the fear of little boys acting like girls is rooted in misogyny), and killed them because of their (own) Masculine socialization. The actions of these Men says NOTHING about how these children “identified.” Because children don’t “identify.” They are children.
Smith has attempted to justify Transing children thusly. “This is important to realize that although transgender people are at the heart of this, and are the most affected by anti-transgender violence, this is not solely about transgender-identified people. We all can face anti-transgender violence.”
No. We (can and do) all face Violence from Men and we all bear the burden of Male socialization; the problem of Masculinity (Gender) and Male Violence perpetrated by Men does not mean that these children are transgender. It does not make the murderous violence of their fathers “anti-transgender violence.” It means that Masculinity (and Male Violence) are a big fucking, evil problem that WE need to fix (which we can only do by Naming It).
Another questionable inclusion is the death of Allison Decatrel, murdered by Richard Burzynski one Halloween when she dressed in men’s attire (it was HALLOWEEN!!). Burzynski’s masculine socialization dictated that Women should present in “womanly ways,” even on Halloween.
Burzynski felt so strongly that Women should not wear “men’s clothes” that he thought a reasonable response was to run over Decatrel with his car. This murderous act says something about Burzynski; it says little about Decatrel and certainly does not make her a posthumous trans man. It does highlight, however, why it is crucial – a matter of life-or-death – to work towards the elimination of Gendered social norms (oh and also, MALE VIOLENCE).
Our Communities have much to learn from the anecdotal data gathered by Gwen Smith et al. Unfortunately, the (false) narrative Smith has given us with her years-long project is “Cis People Kill Trans People.” But as I said, another blog post for another day.
Transing the Dead makes me just as uncomfortable as Mormons baptizing dead Jewish people. Because it is a lie. It doesn’t reflect reality. It is opportunistic. And, most importantly, it does nothing to solve the problem of Male Violence (which, I’ve decided, is not really the point of Transgender Day of Remembrance, an event with a whole other agenda).
An anti-death penalty group with which I have been active used to give out cards that affirmed the bearer’s commitment to anti-capital punishment.
So, in the event of the bearer’s murder, the bearer’s family could prevail on the State not to seek the death penalty for the bearer’s killer.
Is it time for cards that state “In the event of my death, I am not Transgender. I am simply a (Woman/Man) who tried to live my life free of oppressive Gender Roles”? Or a provision in your will, perhaps?
I think it might be time for this. I think, at the rate things are going, Everyone Is Trans. And I cannot see how this “Everything is Everything” impulse reflects reality or aids in the quest into WHY Men Kill. If nothing else, Truth should not be a casualty of Male Violence.