By Violet Louisa Austerlitz
By and large, Iowa City is and has been a welcoming and supportive place to live as a transgender woman. But there are still people here who feel the need to commit acts of radical hatred based on their own ignorance. One such person is the author of madamnomad.com, who, among other things, has made a practice of attacking transgender people. This has become a campaign of harassment directed against local organizations that support us, and, lately, against individuals like myself.
Being personally and specifically attacked, misgendered and maligned in ways that are grotesque, false and hateful, is deeply disturbing. It constructs a false narrative that seeks to dehumanize not just me, but all transgender people. If someone chooses to believe that false narrative, I suppose I can’t stop them. But I refuse to let it be the only narrative that exists. My identity and my humanity belong to me, and to me alone. No one has a right to try to take them away from me, or from anybody else.
If you want to know who trans people really are, what we really want and how you can help us, know this first: We’re human beings, and our rights are human rights, and we have always been part of this world. We belong here, no matter where “here” might be. Memorize that. And then go to oneiowa.org, or transequality.org, and learn the truth of who we are and what we face. Our stories are valuable and should never be overshadowed by the voice of someone who operates purely from a place of hatred and ignorance.
And to Madam Nomad, all I can say is — bless your heart. I’m so sorry you feel that way.