Rad Reading: Transgender liberation doesn’t need inclusion

Image is black background with quote reading “When cis people ask what trans people need to feel safer and better, get this: I don’t want your validation. I don’t want to be “included” in your already-existing faulty systems that murders trans people and hurts cisgender people. I want you to deconstruct the current model of gender in our society and change it.” At the top of the image are grey and white swirls. The outline of leafy plants are in the bottom left hand corner. The white POC logo is in the middle on the bottom.

Image is black background with quote reading “When cis people ask what trans people need to feel safer and better, get this: I don’t want your validation. I don’t want to be “included” in your already-existing faulty systems that murders trans people and hurts cisgender people. I want you to deconstruct the current model of gender in our society and change it.” At the top of the image are grey and white swirls. The outline of leafy plants are in the bottom left hand corner. The white POC logo is in the middle on the bottom.

by Abaki Beck 

In this essay, trans non-binary student Landyn Pan writes about inclusion versus liberation for trans people. He emphasizes that inclusion in violent gender binary systems should not be a goal in activism, and does nothing to make him feel more safe. Beyond physical inclusion (he cites bathrooms and Greek life), he also discusses how the gender binary and gender expectations policies trans people on how to "be" trans. He writes about his own process as an Asian American trans non-binary person navigating both mainstream spaces and (majority white male) trans spaces. 

This is a particularly relevant essay as many states, cities, and schools are debating "bathroom bills" that would allow individuals to use the restroom affiliated with their gender identity. Similar critiques are had of marriage equality as a "big moment" for LBGTQ rights. How does advocating for entry and celebrating "being allowed" into an oppressive system help to dismantle it? Though brief, this essay is an important critique and perspective on contemporary trans activism and what liberation truly looks like for trans and queer people. 

POC Online Classroom celebrates the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities. Rad Reading is a series that highlights texts to read, writers to support, and ideas to discuss. We post every Tuesday!

Read the full piece HERE!