On PBS, trans YouTuber Jackson Bird discusses importance of media representation in closing gaps of inequality
Bird: "If you're watching this and you're wondering what you can do to help close the gaps of inequality ... the biggest thing is to just see the humanity in us, to raise up our voices, especially in so many place of media and community and spaces where our voices are underrepresented"
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
From the June 21 edition of PBS NewsHour:
Loading the player reg...
JACKSON BIRD: I think it can be difficult for people to wrap their heads around gender, specifically cisgender people: people whose gender identity is congruent with the one that they were assigned at birth. It can be difficult for them because they've never had to question their gender, which is astonishing to those of us who are trans because we spend so much of our time questioning gender and thinking about in a very existential way and wondering why is gender, and what is gender, and how did this happen?
There's something in the trans community called "living stealth," and only some trans people even have this privilege. What it means is that you are perceived enough, you are read as the gender you identify as, that when you go out and about in your everyday life, people aren't going to question your gender. For anyone who is not consistently read as the gender they identify as, it's so much harder because they're going out in public every single day just living their lives and having strangers on the street, on the subway, the cashiers at the grocery store giving them weird looks, maybe even dirty looks, making them explain themselves anywhere they are. So that's an every single day, multiple times a day coming out process on top of the very turbulent, traumatic one that you probably already had when you told your family and friends.
If you're watching this and you're wondering what you can do to help close the gaps of inequality that exists between LGBTQ+ people versus straight and non-transgender people, I think the biggest thing is to just see the humanity in us, to raise up our voices, especially in so many places of media and community and spaces where our voices are underrepresented. I did not have any transgender role models growing up. I hardly had any gay or queer role models growing up in Texas in the nineties. I didn't even know that transgender men existed. That lack of representation growing up made me literally feel like I was alone in the world and there was no one else like me. So to now get to be the role model that I needed as a kid is just indescribable.