As oppression become heavier resistance becomes fiercer. This much is certain. And while in the case of the Transgender Equality Movement this fact has taken some more time to show, in part because of the intense bigotry, recent events from across the Earth have proved this thesis to be sound; that so as long as reactionary paper tigers search the realm in search of fodder there will be progressive hunters longing to poach.
The first instance of such resistance can be seen here in Imperialist America. Enter the case of Kayla Moore, a transgender woman who died in police custody on the 14th of March after arrested on yet unreleased charges involving “resisting arrest”. How this woman died is not yet known and will not yet be known for some time.
Obviously this event is tragic. In all likelihood this woman was murdered by the police pigs. The intense animosity towards members of the Queer community is well documented among enforcers of the bourgeois state. Because of this historical fact it is no surprise that protests erupted in the wake of Kayla’s death; with dozens of protesters demonstrating outside of the police station the event turned militant when several of the demonstrators shouted “Vengeance for Kayla Moore”. Meeting the riot gear clad cops the demonstration nearly came to blows.
While none were arrested in this action it nonetheless is evident that the slumbering militant of the Queer community are being roused to action. Not just in Berkeley California either. For the Transgender resistance is also rising in Vietnam where the situation for Transgender persons is changing with the howling political winds of social change.
As in any capitalist or even socialist, for that matter, state Vietnam has a saddening history of heterosexism. Discrimination prevails heavily in the air with many Transgender people forced out of school forcing them to take on menial cultural gigs performing at funerals. Yet as with any movement the tide is turning. Increasingly throughout the last year the ruling Vietnamese party has been happily throwing out crumbs in an effort to appease the social opposition.
Their promises have included proposed legislation on legalizing homosexual marriage as well as remarking that specific reactionary gender norms present within the system have been preventing Transgender people from identifying, legally, in the manner which they so desire (such as undergoing sex-change operations and having their preferred gender listed on their I.D tags).
While they are doing this primary to win a human rights seat at the United Nations their actions, nonetheless, prove that the genuinely progressive grassroots campaigns have a place even in “totalitarian” places like Vietnam. Such pressures have taken the form of fruits in the mass-media with the Vietnamese version of “American Idol” (aptly dubbed Vietnam Idol) sporting several prominent Transgender celebrities which the nation’s multitude of young people are able to list off without hesitation.
While the movement has its gains (such as the first national transgender workshop held in August which was attended by government officials) it still has a long way to go in overcoming the powerful stigma still nauseatingly prevalent in Vietnamese society. Naturally, many Transgender people there are still forced to lead double lives where they must often “revert” back to the gender of their birth in order to keep on acceptable terms with family only to switch back when the return to their “other” life (often situated in a city).
Yet even with these obstacles there exists great room for change. If the movement keeps up and the leaders do not allow themselves to be led astray by false promises then Vietnam could become a beacon for Queer rights in the region. If this happened it would not only be a monumental accomplishment for activists and revolutionaries in the area but it would prove to the Western world that the Imperialist bourgeoisie does not have a monopoly on human rights.