a gripe and a warning
March 30, 2013
So. Paris Lees has this article about why Lucy Meadows’ death will not be in vain and while I understand the sentiment, i cannot quite get myself to back it up.
this type of rhetoric is extremely dangerous. but in a very subtle, insidious way. [1. Lees might also wish to spend a few hard moments really thinking about how she herself is implicated in the same machinery that many are blaming (and doubtlessly had a much to do with her suicide). that she published this rousing, ra-ra-ra speech on a major news org’s site. a major news org pretty much known for giving a platform to virulent transmisogynists.]
this article troubles me because of what it implies.
the subheading states:
The transgender teacher’s death will galvanise a community to end the persecution she faced – what a tragedy that she will never know it
okay. given that the whole julie burchill or whatever uk media debacle was literally just a month or so ago, i’m unclear how anyone could posit that the ‘community’ hasn’t already been galvanized to end the persecution that Lucy Meadows faced. This all belongs to the same cesspit of dehumanizing representation of trans women in the media.
indeed, if memory serves, Lees herself was a big voice in the uproar that followed the big uk transmisogyny blowout of ‘13. she should know, better than most, that the community has already been and will continue to fight how we are represented in the media.
the other implication, far more dangerous, lies in how she frames the article.
“Lucy Meadows’ death will not be in vain”
has the implication that the value that trans feminine people offer to the ‘movement’ is in our deaths. that when we die or when we are dead, only then do we have the power to motivate people to care. this is also the underlying logic for how most white people exploit TDoR.
the value that Lucy Meadows has in death, is the same that she had in life: the inherent preciousness that the life of all trans women has. it isn’t meaningful because she was a teacher who was upfront about her transition to her school. It isn’t meaningful because some horrible cis journalists said disgusting things about her. It isn’t meaningful that these struggles lead to her death. It isn’t meaningful because in dying other trans women can invoke her name in their moving and rousing speeches.
none of this marks the value of Lucy Meadows. nor should it.
for… my brain (as always) turns to the unnamed and unknown trans women of colour dying all the time all over the world. are their deaths in vain because they are unknown and, thus, cannot be used in (other than as a faceless/general statement about the violence TWoC experience) as a rhetorical point about the greater good that they, in death, provide for the ‘community’?
no. because this is not the value anyone, in death, has to offer. nor is it the value of anyone’s life.
trans feminine people are precious because we live. that is all. our deaths are noteworthy because our lives are precious. that is all.