Monday, June 22, 2015


Recently Rachel Dolezal has been in the news. I do know that by now we've moved on to more serious issues, but it's taken me this long to organize my thoughts.

Recently Rachel Dolezal has been in the news. And I have to think about her because so many people are saying "If Caitlyn Jenner can pretend to be a woman, why can't Rachel Dolezal pretend to be black?" Dolezal is not only co-opting the black struggle, she's co-opting the trans struggle as well.

This means that people have been talking a lot lately about the differences and similarities between racial identity and gender identity. To be honest, it makes my brain hurt. I want to talk about something slightly different.

First of all, trans people do have a history. Comparing Jenner to Dolezal makes it sound like Jenner is the only trans person who ever existed, Dolezal is the only white person we've ever heard of who pretended to be black, so they're the same. Of course that is not the case. I've got nothing against Caitlyn Jenner, but she was a media spectacle. That's her business. There are many more trans people out there than most people have any idea of. Most of them don't seek the spotlight. Trans and gender-non-conforming people have existed throughout history. They fought and died for the right to be who they were.