Love Is the Answer

Laverne Cox is a well-known, successful actress who shared an experience of street harassment in a recent speech on the intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny. She explains one of her negative experiences and the effects street harassment has had on her and other transgendered women and women of colour. She expresses that she believes love is the answer to these types of violence, while also asking the question of ‘What problems do people have with themselves that they feel the need to call out others for something?’. She refers to Cornell West, quoting “justice is what love looks like in public”. Cox believes that if we, as the public and society, can all learn to love trans people, then that will be revolutionary.

Laverne Cox’s lived experience is New York City proves that intersecting oppressions are prominent in everyday life. Many trans women go through experiences like hers of street harassment and live the reality of racism, misogyny and/or transphobia.

Because of the expectations set by society for people to identify within the gender binary, this creates oppression against people who do not. Trans people are an example of this because their gender expression does not with the gender binary of either male or female. Gender expression continues to affect these people every day, including on the streets, in jobs, in relationships, etc. They live in constant danger for a simple reason of being themselves. There are people who, because they have a problem with themselves, feel inclined to point that out on other people. This is often shown in ways such as street harassment, sexual assault, and even death by abuse. From Laverne Cox’s point of view, since violence seems to be the answer for eradicating and oppressing transgendered people, it does nothing but harm their lives.

The effects of racism that women of colour face every day cannot be compared to the effects that trans women also face, although can be analyzed intersectionally. Black trans women feel the intersectional oppression of misogyny, for being a woman, racism, for being a black person, and transphobia for expressing themselves as trans. None of these are a choice that these people make, and need to be accepted into society as a norm instead of acts of deviance.

Quoting from the guest lecturer from week that “dehumanization leads to violence” (2015), which is shown in Laverne Cox’s experience of street harassment. By calling out people for being different is dehumanizing and treating them as ‘others’.  If someone or a group of people happen to disagree with someone else’s expression of self and see it as unacceptable in our society, they may feel that the ‘othered’ person is in the wrong and engage in violence towards the person. This type of situation leads to ‘othering’ of people, causing an ‘us vs. them’ perspective.

In conclusion, Laverne Cox’s reflection on the oppressed lives of transgendered women opens up thoughts for listeners and readers of her speeches to reflect themselves on ways they have been oppressed or oppress a group. She recognizes that a systemic change needs to occur in order for a significant change to happen. Within popular media, public action, and social justice, transgendered people can become accepted through a conscious change. Love is the answer.

In my personal opinion, I agree with Cox’s point of view in saying that love will be the answer because if we, as a society, can learn to love one another instead of judge others for their differences, then this world and society can be equal and just. The reality of women, including trans and women of colour, is that their lives are disadvantaged as soon as they are born, so working together as a structural community, we can eradicate and eliminate the hatred and concern around differences.

References

           Tolmie, Jane. “Week 9 Lecture 1.” Kingston ON. March 9. 2015.

Cox, Laverne. “Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What To Do About It).” Everyday Feminism December 7 2014. Print.

foster.s

4 thoughts on “Love Is the Answer

  1. lesg1249 says:

    Your blog was really well done! One of the things that really stuck out for me from your blog was the concept of dehumanizing. To me, dehumanizing is the root of all of the violence and verbal abuse that happens in society. We feel that it is okay to treat people horribly if we don’t see them as equal to us. So to bring people down, we call out their insecurities and make them seem less of a person. In Cox’s case, I see that she was dehumanized because of her gender expression and race. Just because others were not the same gender as Cox, she was treated as, like you said, an other. Therefore, I agree with you completely on your discussion of dehumanization and it is a problem that needs to be addressed. For without addressing this problem, justice, love and equality may never be found.

    Like

  2. graceelisabeth says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I completely agree with your discussion of dehumanization. It is wrong to categorize people based on their gender, race, class, sexual orientation etc. When we constrain people to these categories, I believe that it prevents them from realizing their full potential within society. It also facilitates the abuse of these ‘others’ because we do not recognize that they too have feelings. The topic of dehumanization and ‘othering’ lead me to wonder why people do this. It is baffling to me how someone could discriminate against another person who shares similar feelings of oppression. In this case, it is the black men catcalling Cox, who is also black. I believe that group solidarity demands change, so we need to support each other in our endeavours to bring equality to our society.

    Like

  3. tlapp30 says:

    I really enjoyed your blog as a whole! In particular, I like how even though you focused on the concept of violence and disadvantage towards trans people, you still took the time to mention that for other people, it is caused by intersecting factors. So many people in today’s society do not realize that violence can come out of more than just one factor, and that there are many different things in a person’s life that can lead to the amount of violence that is being projected at them. Also, I really liked how you touched on the idea of dehumanization. It is sad to think that this kind of situation happens everyday: where people are othered and dehumanized just based on who they are. Overall, I think you did a great job of connecting this particular story to the bigger issue found in our world today.

    Like

  4. 12eg22 says:

    Thank you for a great blog post! I especially enjoyed your discussion of dehumanization. I agree that othering gives people of privilege permission to commit of acts of violence. I believe this concept connects really well to the Cornell West quote. One could consider love the opposite of othering; in order to love someone, you need to recognize their humanity.

    I also appreciated that you included your own opinion in this blog post. Recognizing that these conditions exist for trans people of colour outside the realm of their own control, causes us to take responsibility for perpretuating these oppressive systems. Your final paragraph made me wonder, “What can I do as an individual to unsettle unjust practices”? How can we as a society, change our justice system so that it looks like “love in public”? Thank you for bringing up these questions; I’ll be reflecting on your post for some time to come.
    -12eg22

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s