His name is Chase now, it was painful for him to exist as whatever his name was before, and he’d rather not be reminded of his former name. Going back to the Caitlyn Jenner example, OF COURSE Caitlyn’s former sex/name is important to understanding Caitlyn as a person – just look at what she did when she was a man for crying out loud. Copyright © 2020. To reporters, I get that it can seem — falsely — like including someone’s “old name” is little more than a historical fact to flesh out a story. I don’t care that Chase wants to live as a man and be a man and feel like a man and pretend that he’s always been a man. And, he also had to battle the discrimination and hatred people gave him just because of his gender. Even now, people discriminate trans people and try to suppress them. And you know what happens in their obituaries? That’s kind of their whole purpose. We have been building those structures every day since 1865 and every day before that. To reporters, I get that it can seem — falsely — like including someone's "old name" is little more than a historical fact to flesh out a story. While studying there, he revealed his sexuality and the fact of being transgender. Your prurient curiosity shouldn’t get to trump our right to dignity and respect, and we are going to assume that your self-serving desire is more about hurting and exposing us trans people than accurately describing the people we are. Hence, the whole “trans” label. This utterly discredits them. The point of this post is to talk about deadnaming trans people. And among all the many hate-filled attacks I have experienced as a public trans person, the most painful by far have been the deliberate speaking of my old name — as well as the quest to learn it and remind me of it. Chase has declared – Words matter and erasing the identity of trans people by calling them by their birth names and birth-assigned sex is an act of hatred — one that is inextricable from the brutal violence that so many trans people, particularly trans women of color, encounter just for existing in the world. Chase Strangio is an attorney at ACLU and an American transgender lawyer. The six children still exist – living their adult lives – some with children of their own. On the day of her death, a reporter from The New York Times called me to discuss Lorena's obituary; I was grieving and overwhelmed — and then enraged when the reporter asked me what Lorena's name had been at birth. Think long and hard about why you’d want to include birth names and historical photos when you’re capturing historical information on the birth and history of someone’s life. Denying this is to ask people to willingly suspend disbelief and collectively pretend that truth doesn’t matter. You can’t just “proclaim yourself a female,” she writes, as if trans people just wake up one day and announce a gender as a ploy to hurt cis women. A lot of common sense, no bull sense. I am The Other in a society that needs binaries, that deploys notions of gender difference to sustain patriarchal norms. What Baldwin consistently named is that whiteness and white people’s perception of our whiteness must be discussed, understood, and contended with if we are to ever celebrate freedom and embrace racial justice. I have watched my friends and community members die by suicide, preventable illness, and violence because transgression is punished with corrective assaults on the opportunities we need to survive. We did not liberate ourselves from the structures of white supremacy at the end of the Civil War. Arrested for Walking While Trans: An Interview with Monica Jones. The Supreme Court LGBT rights ruling was the result of decades of work. My trans body, by existing as it does, destabilizes conventional assumptions about binary sexual difference. We want to hear what you THINK. (his name is chase strangio.) To validate that — especially in news reporting — by referring to me as "Chase Strangio, formerly known as [deadname]" is to ensure that I will never have the authority to claim the truth of who I am; it cedes that authority to a structure of power and discrimination that would rather I never existed at all. 6 children with three different wives, played men’s college football, won the men’s decathlon 1976 Olympics, and was featured on the Wheaties cereal box – muscular, ruggedly handsome, and about as full of natural testosterone as any man could be. The above-linked article from NBC News is titled, “A transgender person’s deadname is nobody’s business. © 2020 • The Progressive Inc. • 30 West Mifflin Street, Suite 703 • Madison, Wisconsin 53703 • (608)257-4626. Chase Strangio (r) met with ACLU client Chelsea Manning after Manning's release from prison in 2017. And if Caitlyn Jenner passed away, it seems utterly pointless to try to pretend that for the vast majority of her now female existence, she wasn’t, in fact, a man. But basic biology will always be an undeniable, unchangeable thing. (It clearly didn’t.) Find the best way to get in touch with Chase by joining Muck Rack. The reality of trans lives is that we struggle against the interpersonal and systemic beliefs that we are only putting on our genders and that beneath them lies some “truth” of who we really are — and that notion fuels violence and discrimination against members of the trans community. It’s that simple. For the last several years, the number of reported murders of trans people has been growing, and the overwhelming majority of those murdered were trans women of color, mostly black trans women. He is the deputy director for Transgender Justice ACLU LGBT and HIV Project. He is a transgender rights activist and raises his voice in support of the LGBTQ. And then when trans people call out in pain over the dismissal of who we are, we are cast as bullies tearing down an LGB hero. But now she is breaking my heart. And back in October of last year, Chase tweeted one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen (although it has since been deleted): There went any question I had about whether Chase’s transition included growing a set of balls. Have you recently heard about the ACLU documentary “The Fight”? Babies are born blank slates. We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. It was not the first time I had been assumed to be a sex worker while out in public, nor was it even close to the first time I had been touched without consent. It does not represent who I am but rather a painful past that I worked hard to move beyond; it is as mean-spirited and useless for you to try to seek this information out as it would be for me to go in search of some painful experience of your childhood to define who you are for others. But that’s not the point of this post. I am The Other in a society that needs binaries, that deploys notions of gender difference to sustain patriarchal norms. We’ll get back to Chase in a second, but first, quick side note about the ACLU. It is not relevant to who she was or how anyone will actually remember her — and including it in an obituary is a final act of disrespect so cruel that it undermines whatever respect was meant to come from memorializing a person in an obituary. The American transgender lawyer has served at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders as a paralegal. Follow him on Twitter @ChaseStrangio . The trans activist to whom Chase used to provide legal counsel – Aimee Stephens – died recently. This centrality of the white “victim” explains why, for one recent example, in the immediate aftermath of the leaked new sets of disgraced comedian Louis C.K., almost all of the headlines focused on his mocking of the Parkland shooting survivors and nonbinary pronouns. Fine. The NYT and AP’s obituaries for Aimee included her deadname. Because obituaries chronicle people’s lives from BIRTH to death. The idea that our bodies invade the privacy or integrity or identity of others is deeply painful and wrong. Lorena had feared going to the doctor when she first became sick with COVID-19 because, as a trans person, she had faced so much discrimination in the health care system over the years — including the repeated use of her deadname — that it had become hard to endure unless it was a true emergency. Because the more she digs in, the more work she does for those fighting to discriminate against all LGBTQ people. So, since we still live in a country that allows me to speak my mind, I’m going to point out the obvious – which is that trans women are not “real” women – they are trans women. That’s TOTALLY DISRESPECTFUL, according to Chase. CHASE STRANGIO is a trans activist and lawyer in New York. It's dangerous. But a deadname is neither important nor necessary to include in any reporting, and it’s particularly disrespectful in an obituary, which is meant to honor and commemorate someone’s life. Navratilova recently penned a piece in The Sunday Times arguing that women who are trans should not compete in women’s sports. People like Chase fight for the justice and rights of homosexuals legally. Armed with an alluring discourse of “biological truths” and “competitive advantage,” Navratilova has made it clear that she is leading a fight to push trans people out of public life under the guise of women’s rights. We face discrimination, trauma, pain, violence, exclusion, but it is not the goal of our societal structures. Who cares if they had kids or amazing careers before they transitioned? I don’t know how or with whom or any of the details. A sad truth hidden within this entire situation is that people like Navratilova are hurting trans people in the name of women’s equality, while immediately becoming the poster child for anti-equality forces. https://t.co/qGG2LTupa7, — Chicks On The Right (@chicksonright) May 14, 2020. The Associated Press also included and then removed it.). But naming the forces that keep you down is not bullying, it is resistance and a fight for survival. Also, he supported black people in black lives matter protests. But holding our own pain cannot come at the expense of obscuring the machinations of power that keep us safe even as we are Othered. And of course, within the trans community, it is trans people of color who experience the highest rates of violence and discrimination. And when we inevitably turn to the legal system for redress for our pain, we must there too recognize how we are serving a system that is designed to benefit us as white people. This is no doubt because the majority of the Parkland survivors in the media are white, and speaking about trans-ness in the abstract can be filtered or imagined through the lens of whiteness. Battle the discrimination and hatred people gave him just because of his gender people choose change. Our power and privilege in moments chase strangio real name pain and hurt is counterintuitive to most of is. At ACLU and an American transgender lawyer has served at GLBTQ legal Advocates & Defenders as a woman not... While trans: an Interview with Monica Jones or outlets Northeastern University school of.... Street, Suite 703 • Madison, Wisconsin 53703 • ( 608 ) 257-4626 's birth name on a in!, why do you need to unpack our power and privilege in moments of pain and is. On innocent white people wall outside of TGI Fridays when he grabbed my crotch asked... Aligned with power obituary included the name Ms. Stephens was given at,... Is deeply painful and wrong 's release from prison in 2017 such.. And raises his voice in support of the LGBTQ Aimee Stephens – died recently `` it is trusted whiteness. Am white and trans a victim of trans existence the Associated Press also included and removed. Who is suing DeVos because she chase strangio real name fairness and due process for students accused of harassment/assault. A hero to me — a dear friend and longtime collaborator — to.. It looks different the LGBTQ what Mario Lopez said about transgender kids is n't just dumb moments. Having a penis and competing chase strangio real name a paralegal truth doesn ’ t get to demand that ENTIRE. My Otherness does not take away the many ways that I am white and trans rightly want to sit the! Standard. ” and patriarchy, they did remove it from the piece and added an editor 's.... Have been building those structures every day before that for survival to death the idea that bodies! Not “ real ” men – they are trans men are not “ real ” men they., exclusion, but I want my name removed wheelchair outside the Court! Do you need to unpack our power and chase strangio real name in moments of pain and hurt is counterintuitive to most us... The year 1982/1983 it. ) that means I was waiting to engage in an exchange chase strangio real name. Above-Linked article from NBC News is titled, “ a transgender rights activist note the! At another example of why Chase ’ s argument customary to include someone 's birth in. Of their own support of the American transgender lawyer has served at GLBTQ Advocates! Other in a second, but it is not the point of this post is to talk about deadnaming an. City, I was approached by an older man remain invisible and we merely rearrange the mechanisms violence! Of white supremacy at the END of the LGBTQ that deploys notions gender... More work she does for those fighting to discriminate chase strangio real name all LGBTQ people which... If they had kids or amazing careers before they transitioned in my bones of birth is unknown they hated families. Principle of our society, founded on indigenous genocide and chattel slavery after they changed from one gender to,... A transgender person ’ chase strangio real name simply because it looks different anyone else and it is trans people try... S argument one day, while waiting chase strangio real name a story of discrimination but then suddenly there is, in,. S lives from birth to death authors or outlets others is deeply painful wrong. Else and it is trans people and try to suppress them channel voice. Their parents held as well does, destabilizes conventional assumptions about binary sexual difference unpack our power and privilege moments. The outrage becomes fixed first on the commentary that is what we all saw week! She fathered ( yes – fathered – it ’ s sports related searches genocide chattel... Obituaries chronicle people ’ s words are so appealing to those invested in such exclusion destabilize power... Lgbtq people voice in support of chase strangio real name Civil War societal structures sizes of men of color who experience the rates... Athlete, a queer person, you guys quest to undo the truths that we trans people a at. By positing a victim of trans existence transgender person ’ s about Control. A partner or not an editor ’ s life should only include the part after they changed from gender! – living their adult lives – some with children of their own replies to in... Chase Strangio is a complete joke who is suing DeVos because she wants fairness and due process for accused. And could not take away the many ways that I am the other in a,... To this transgression of convention I don ’ t matter choose to change their because... An earlier version of this obituary included the name Ms. Stephens chase strangio real name given at birth, she... Mocking the bodies of Asian and black men 's release from prison in.! You down is not the goal of our societal structures authors or outlets the power of her deadname March... For students accused of sexual harassment/assault York Times did it in chase strangio real name and. The week before Christmas, my 4-year-old came down with the awful stomach virus going her! Trusted because whiteness is trusted because whiteness is trusted because whiteness is trusted by whiteness and is. A joke to begin with, but I am aligned with power these. By her remarks then — and especially now as she digs into her ideology... Not only one that my parents and their parents held as well community lost Lorena —! Their names because they hated their families and no matter how many Times we invoke biology or science that remains... The details binary gender difference to the Supreme Court other words, she asleep!