E.G. (elainegrey) wrote,

Eldering someone about abusing their privledge

I'm pretty sure this isn't going to be heard, but it's what i felt i had to do. I received a message from a Public Quaker who is a member of meeting, with the subject "Have you seen this?":

[Transgendered attendee of Meeting] & [Me],

[Someone's name] (Philadelphia area, Quake-ish person, from a public Facebook post):

“Making an exception from my social media break to say: Shit is Scary out there, friends. Nazis are rallying in Philly tomorrow and planning on touring through the gayborhood to bash anyone they can reach. Another close friend of mine had to go in for a hospital stay last night for crisis and despair. Trans Visibility comes with a heavy price.

Next Tuesday evening is Trans Day of Remembrance and we don't feel safe being public this year, so we're holding a private event in our recording studio, screening a private showing of parts of the documentary _America In Transition_ and participating in a web stream talking about the nonbinary and intersex perspective on TDOR and holding each other close, grieving some of our community that we've lost, and trying desperately to hold onto the ones we have. If you're nonbinary, trans, or GNC in the delaware or philly area reach out to me you are WELCOME to join us. Tea and Cake and hugs for everyone. Maybe we'll record a couple of songs. Come be part of this and know you're loved.”

I replied, just to him

Hi [Public Quaker],

No i hadn't. I'm not sure why you are curious if i have.

If i lived in Philly still i could see the first paragraph being helpful in a warning sense, but i don't, so i don't need the warning. I certainly don't need a reminder of the violence targeting transgender bodies that has been high and terrible for years. I viscerally recall my fears for Christine when she first traveled outside of an urban area after transitioning. I sit with her morning after morning as she tries to cope with her fears living here in Chatham county.

Won't be going to Philly for a private event either.

I'm writing you back because i have the spoons to do so. I know how exhausting it is for Christine to have to do all the sifting through people's clumsy communications. As a person with much more privilege I can take the time and parse through and finally guess, "Maybe Chuck is asking whether i've heard about there being some documentary in some state of completion about Trans issues?" I know if i wanted to share this with Christine or [Transgendered person in Meeting], i wouldn't ask them if they've heard of it, as if the trans community is some monolith and every trans person is plugged in. I wouldn't expect them to tell me about it. I'd do the simple web search and find the website http://americaintransition.org/ and send *that* link to [Transgendered person in Meeting] with [trying to mindread here] a question of whether she's watched it, and whether this might also be helpful for Meeting.

This message brought to you by my reflections earlier today about about a far more subtle communication that has required Christine to set a boundary so that she can take care of herself. I have no idea if [Transgendered person in Meeting] has the limited energy budget that Christine has, but signs point to yes. I've no idea if she's been attacked before, but i'd want to show i cared and understood by thinking about how that first paragraph might affect her.

I know this is a chiding tone, and i hope you will listen to it also as me sharing the ache i have day in and out caring for someone who is a constant state of hyper-vigilance. I imagine you can understand, as you too care for people who are too often targets for violence.

In Love,

I'm not sure i had the spoons, but i sure as hell didn't want to assume that the other woman who received this would be stuck with the message. I wrote her letting her know that i had replied privately:

I do hope [Public Quaker]'s short facebook forward didn't trigger you as much as it did me, and if it was triggering you were able to pass it by. There were too many problems with that message that i felt i should elder him a little. ... but i wanted you to know i found the communication not respectful of you and i let him know a respectful communication would have been to put the films being produced under http://americaintransition.org/ (if that was his point? I'm mind reading here) front and center and ask whatever question he had in mind.

Tags: privilege, quaker notes, trans

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