|Kim Petras, transsexual pop star|
In the article "Transgender Activists Not Cheering Jenna Talackova's Miss U Breakthrough," Miss Starlight has nothing good to say about sensationalism. And while I understand her perspective, I have to strongly disagree. Here is why.
Tami Starlight, the executive director of the Vancouver Transgender Day of Remembrance Society and an organizer of last year’s Trans Celebration and Liberation March, told the Straight that there’s “almost nothing good” about the Miss Universe Organization’s announcement today (April 10) that it plans to change its rules to allow transgender women to compete.
She makes the case that in addition to the opinion that Jenna is " fighting to get into a space in a system that is really terrible in general. It’s highly objectifying. It’s all about making money,”and goes on to say that there are far more pressing concerns for the transgender community, like full inclusion, better hate crime enhancement laws, and the Canada Health Act to step up.
Referring to the pageant, “I feel that the community does a disservice by supporting and applauding this kind of nonsense—that she’s allowed to participate in such a thing,”
While I agree with all the things Starlight highlights that need serious focus and support, in addition to housing, equality and protections in the workplace, and on-going education, what I believe Starlight fails to recognize is that the sensationalized stories are the one's that (a) bring transgender stories to the mainstream, and (b) stimulate transgender discussion on an national and/or international level.
There are stories from around the world everyday about transgender hate crimes, discrimination, transition and the like, but the mainstream is rarely interested, or even knows about them. It is its always great to see serious transgender stories spotlighted in the news, which happens on occasion: the presidential appointment of Amanda Simpson, or stories about Anna Grodzka, and Diego Sanchez, for example. But people like Pauline Park, who work tirelessly and impact positive change in the lives of transgender people -- and many more like her -- are often spotlighted or known by the mainstream.
Sensationalized stories of transgirls (and transmen), on the other hand, create a media frenzy that brings the transworld center stage. On most occasions, the community has been blessed that these people are well-spoken, balanced and provide the mainstream with another perspective about what being transgender means: when Chaz Bono can be Dancing With The Stars, or Jenna Talackova can get Bill O'Reilly to side with her, what better progress could we possible hope for?
These transpeople in the spotlight from sensationalized stories are our best ambassadors. These stories have included Jeanna Talackova, the Brazilian model Lea T, model/designer Isis King (the first trans-girl to compete in America's Next Top Model, who completed her medical transition in front of the world on the Tyra Banks Show), model Andrej Pejic, the actress Jamie Clayton, Nina Poon, actress/producer Laverne Cox, The youngest transsexual Kim Petras, and transgender kids and families
They are all intelligent, personable and well spoken. Had the media not sensationalized their stories, they -- and us by default -- would have never gotten before the eyes of so many [millions] of ignorant mainstream minds.
It is for this reason that I have to respectfully disagree with miss Stalight's position.
What are your thoughts?