Topic Paper: Sexism, Trans Oppression, Heterosexism
|Sexism||Gender roles in relationships.||Wage gap.||Stereotype threat.|
|Transphobia||Deliberate or accidental misgendering.||Student ID with dead name instead of chosen name.||Acceptance of the binary or pathologization and related complications.|
|Homophobia||Prevents heterosexuals from forming close relationships with members of their own sex.||Military banning some sexual orientations.||The belief that it is wrong to be gay.|
The readings from this week reinforce my previous research on the topic of interrupting sexism, transphobia, and homophobia. (These were the terms used on the handout.) The same is true for the terms used on the Canvas assignment. In the deeply informed words of Philip Zimbardo, calling out evil behavior including the use of language and action to harm groups of people, and responding to that by intentionally forcing the perpetrator to see their targets as humans is the most effective way to interrupt cycles of evil behavior.
Each of the authors this week seemed to elude to a similar idea, directly or indirectly. In the words of Evans and Washington, “Being an advocate… involves… confronting inappropriate behavior.”
I think the biggest challenge faced by allies of any group is to understand how and why each group is oppressed. Something seemingly innocuous could in fact be highly triggering and oppressive. Something as simple as assumptions about gender presentation and pronouns can be a vicious attack to the person who isn’t understood. The things we think least about are often the most important things. This is fundamental to privilege in any system of oppression. It is only by building trust with marginalized communities and learning about their concerns that we can learn to be effective allies and to support them in the way they want to be supported.
After that, it takes having the courage to ruin Thanksgiving dinner by calling out a drunk grandparent for saying something sexist or heterosexist, or something against any marginalized group. That is the cost of being a decent person, of being an ally.