Saturday, April 14, 2012

Where Would We Be Without Sensationalism?

Kim Petras, transsexual pop star
 Sensationalized stories provides a positive impact to the transgender struggle. 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?

1 comment:

  1. My reply to Tami Starlight...
    In re of: "Transgender Activists Not Cheering Jenna Talackova's Miss U Breakthrough"

    16th April 2012
    Hi, folks!
    Every & each Pageant fo any sort in the world which are centred in Beauty, Admiration & Glamour and for Entertainment Purposes... They all are always extremely "Objectifying" (no exceptions at it at all) whether GLBT & Hetero oriented.

    Everything to do with GLBT Progress, Equal Rights & Equality for all, etc... They all are unavoidably merged with/connected with "Having To Being About Making Money"!!!
    Because it is quite obvious that there are always prices to pay for services, for incurred costs and expenses in furthering the dear Causes of the GLBT Community & in this case chiefly the Transgender Community whether it may be anent to "Inclusion, Better Hate Crimes Laws and of course in sweet Canada the Canadian Health Act, it surely should step up, etc...

    I think it is really a shame to have such a wonderful, intelligent and much admired dear Tami Starlight being openly critical of Jenna Talackova's Miss U Breakthrough!
    Of course Tami Starlight has always the right to her opinion.

    However it does not make it right for those in the GLBT Community whom are actually Becons of Lights for us all GLBT Family, to see Tami (A Becon Herself) putting down another dear Sister.
    Tami does a Disservice for the GLBT Community when she forgets that "We All" count very hard and Everything counts in The end.
    I cannot change Tami Starlight's opinion but I can ignore her Arrogance and try to forgive her oversight!

    The fact is, nobody is too little to be put down and deemed worthless and nobody is too big that they are going to throw their massive weight around without being brought down to earth and put back to their rightful place!
    Just my opinion!

    I still love Tami Starlight but I am rather saddened by her criticism and belittling of Jenna Talackova's Miss Universe Breakthrough as if contemptibly small and unimportant...

    Love and Light,
    Sky a.k.a. JDAeon - GLBT MTF Pagan Witch/Hps Shaman & Occultist