Violence against trans people is a policy of harassment, not bullying.
Harassment is completely different from bullying -- in both method and intent. Harassment is used by today’s society to encourage conformity. For example, a teacher might punish a student with a dunce hat for not learning his math tables. The hat is a signal to his classmates to laugh and tease. Supposedly the child will study harder next time to avoid further humiliation.
In 2008, the following took place in a Castle Rock, Colorado, school: A second grade teacher announced that a "boy" who "thought he was a girl" would be joining the class. "He has a mental illness," she explained, but it was safe for the rest of the class to be around him. "But the principal says that anyone can switch to another class, if they're bothered by all this."
It should come as no surprise that the 7-yr old trans girl encountered a tornado of harassment when she arrived -- teasing, taunting, rejection, sexual innuendos, etc. Within just a few months, both she and her family moved to a more accepting city.
Notice how harassment works:
(1) Social leaders -- in this case, teachers & school officials -- decide that someone isn't conforming to their standards.
(2) Usually there's a fictional backstory to justify the action being taken.
In this case, the 7-year old girl is supposedly "Really a Boy with a mental illness" who poses some sort of threat.
(3) The teacher enlists the other students to harass the non-conformer.
(4) Attacks on the singled-out child are encouraged & protected -- never punished.
(5) However, the victim herself may be punished, because she brought it all on herself by refusing to conform.
(6) Supposedly, all the harassment would stop if she gave up and conformed. (Alas, not true. Once a victim, always a victim.)
(7) There's no remorse for the injuries that have been inflicted. In fact, all involved are proud of what they're doing.
They believe that they are serving society by enforcing standards and encouraging "proper behavior".
The child's misery is "for his own good."
How to Stop Harassment
The only way to stop harassment is to make fundamental cultural changes:
(1) Value individuality instead of conformity; diversity instead of orthodoxy.
Don't be afraid of independent thought -- it opens the door to opportunity. It's evolutionary, not revolutionary.
A diverse society is far stronger than an orthodox society. Orthodoxy offers only one way to tackle every problem, which means that many problems will never get resolved. In a diverse society, there will always be someone with the creativity to successfully tackle new problems -- or find better ways to deal with old problems. Diversity offers flexibility, adaptability, resilience, and innovation.
(2) Reject harassment and inflicting injury as a method of coercion. Hurting someone doesn't cause true long-lasting change. The target may pretend to comply, but deep inside they're seething with anger, resentment and a desire for revenge.
Individuality and independent thought only threatens the Establishment -- the group of grumpy old men in charge of any social group. They like things as they are. That is, they hold the power and the money, and need to be secure in the knowledge that they'll always be in charge (and their children, and their children's children.)
The Establishment knows what constitutes "good behavior", and they warn of the dangers of "bad behavior". They create a mythology that establishes their authority. They create a system that perpetuates their power. They establish their opinions as Eternal Truth, while other opinions are Evil.
Unfortunately, faith in a myth is a fragile thing. The Establishment is terrified that some free thinker will find a flaw and the entire organization will fall apart. (Ironically, the Establishment doesn't even have faith in their own mythology.) Coercion is the usual solution: Crush independent thought for the "good of society."
Here are some of the myths currently circulating regarding transsexuality:
-- Transsexuality is either a mental illness, a bad choice, a flaw in childhood development, a form of rebellion, or a sin.
-- A trans woman is "Really a Man"; a transman is "Really a Woman".
-- A trans woman somehow violates the privacy of other women.
-- Transsexuality is contagious.
-- Somewhere in the Bible there's a passage that condemns transsexuality.
Of course, finding flaws in a group's mythology won't necessarily lead to revolution. Many firmly-ingrained Establishments survive even an encounter with The Truth. ...The mythology may not be so important for ensuring a group's survival.
Mention violence -- especially at school -- and bullying is what comes to mind. Everybody remembers the tough guy in elementary school who beat up random people just for the fun of it. ...And usually got away with it. Focus on that image:
-- A bully is a lone aggressor.
-- Any victim will do, although it's safest to attack a weak social outcast. The victim's actual appearance,
behavior or values are irrelevant.
The key point is that bullying is all about power. He's a thug who feels insecure and helpless. He compensates by making someone cringe, suffer and cry. He's rewarded when the other students back away whenever he walks by, and don't resist when he steals their lunch money.
Often even the authorities are afraid of the bully. It's safer and easier to blame the victim for being vulnerable. -- That allows the bully to get twice the satisfaction.
After an attack, bullies don’t feel guilty, they feel powerful & superior.
If bullying is a quest for power, any program seriously trying to stop bullying must address that individual's insecurity. Most bullying starts out as a conflict with adult authority. Parents, teachers, police, bosses, etc demand compliance with certain standards. The idea of obeying infuriates him, so he takes it out on some poor 7-year old with glasses.
Rules and policies will NEVER stop bullying, because they're just another example of someone forcing him to do what he doesn't want to do. Irresistable demands only make him feel more angry and more impotent -- so his next attack will be more ferocious. In fact, if he ignores peoples' demands, he can prove that the authorities have no real power.
For their part, the authorities are quite aware that they can't really force a defiant youth to do anything. The result is a power struggle, with each side needing to take control, but helpless to do so. Too often, the bullies win.
Extra rules & more extreme punishments make bullying worse. A better approach is to offer the bully a way to vent anger & frustration while teaching them constructive ways of achieving confidence. Athletics is often a good solution -- or perhaps giving the ex-bully a special assignment, such as a policeman to keep students safe from bullies.
The New Gender Paradigm
Some cultures are firmly committed to conformity -- everybody looks the same, thinks the same, and acts the same. "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down", the Japanese say. Harassment is the tool of choice for ingraining conformity in those cultures. A high suicide rate is the price the culture pays for forced compliance.
It's highly significant that most definitions of the term transgender charge them with "non-conformity." It's an open invitation for "normal people" to harass them into compliance.
Likewise, it's no surprise that American governments don't even track harassment & suicide in the transgender population. After all, who cares?
...Even though independent surveys (2014) have indicated that about 41% of transgender youth have attempted suicide -- 25 times the rate in the general population (1.6%) and the highest of any minority. And places with the most harassment have the highest suicide rate. Suicide risk is also related to family rejection (57%), unemployment & homelessness (69%), health care refusal (60%).
The region's transgender suicide rate doubled after North Carolina enacted their 2016 Potty Law.
The Utah suicide rate among transgender people tripled after the Mormon Church published a more stringent anti-GLBT policy (2015).
These forms of discrimination & rejection (and others) are sanctioned by legislators and religious leaders. In fact, many healthcare professionals use high suicide risk as justification for treatment refusal. They explain, If only transgender people would become normal, then their suicide risk would drop from 41% to 1.6%
In other words, it's the victim's fault.
The Treatment Portal
Shame & embarrassment are self-inflicted harassment. You torture yourself in the expectation that everybody else will soon be doing the same. -- That way, you can take your harassment home with you.
Free Speech with a Heavy Cost
In today's America, harassment is often ignored by calling it "free speech" -- Which supposedly is protected under the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law...abridging freedom of speech.”
The truth is, free speech is quite different from harassment. Free speech is the exchange of views and ideas. The intent is to sway public opinion through thought and reasoning. On the other hand, harassment is an attempt to FORCE others to comply with a group's views and ideas. It works through violence and fear, not through reason. It inflicts pain on non-conformists. Harassment crushes freedom of speech -- the target is too frightened or unable to answer back.
The United Nations' Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) makes the distinction more clear:
"Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. ... Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice." In addition, the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "be subject to certain restrictions" to "respect of the rights or reputation of others." It's okay for a society to limit speech for "the protection of national security, of public order, or of public health or morals."
In 1977, the Nazi Party of America planned a conference in Chicago, Illinois. Except, city authorities made it impossible for the meeting to take place. ...THAT's denial of the right to Free Speech. The conference would have involved lectures and social events. Anyone who didn't want to hear the message could have just stayed home.
Denied the chance to meet, Nazi leaders threatened to replace it with a march through Skokie, an all-Jewish suburb. Many of the area's residents had suffered bitterly under the Nazi's during the Holocaust two decades earlier. Seeing Nazi symbols, uniforms and marching would awaken those past terrors. With the march taking place in and around their houses, there was no way to avoid it.
THAT's harassment. That march wouldn't express any values or ideas. The Nazi's didn't WANT the resident Jews to join their cause. The activity's only purpose would have been to injure innocent people who couldn't escape or defend against the attack.
Enter the US Supreme Court: The justices ruled that the Skokie March was protected by the First Amendment. The Jewish residents would just have to huddle in their closets and cover their ears while the propaganda echoed through the streets.
Since then, courts have consistently protected every groups' Right to Harass. In other words, harassment isn't recognized under American law. Ministers are protected by law when they discriminate against LGBT individuals and when they encourage hate & violence. A legal or legislative approach to stopping harassment will always fail. Success can only be achieved by appealing to common morality and decency.
Speaking of common morality, the Nazi Party never did actually march through Skokie. Even the Nazi's were aware that nothing would be accomplished by hurting innocent people.
Every day, everywhere a transsexual goes, fear of violence is always at the back of their mind. On a per-capita basis, the threat of anti-transsexual violence is greater than any other social group. The violence is often perpetrated by the people closest to them; the very people who should be protecting them: parents, siblings, spouses, offspring, teachers, religious leaders, police and supposed friends. Attacks are extraordinary in their ferocity: often involving an hours-long beating with a blunt instrument in order to prolong the suffering.
Fear defines a transsexual's existence: it transforms their true self into a terrible secret -- discovery often leads to catastrophic loss of home, family, education, income and spirituality. On a per-capita basis, transsexuals are almost 10 times more likely to be forced to drop out of school, to be homeless, and to commit suicide.
Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me...
It's easy to dismiss harassment, because supposedly nobody really gets hurt. Supposedly, taunting & teasing are merely parts of a "normal childhood" that teach a child to be strong & resilient. Of course, the reality is that the emotional injury is severe and life-long.
However, harassment is connected to real violence and blood loss. Bullies attack people at random. But they soon realize that if they attack the designated target of a harassment campaign, there's no punishment. In fact, the other harassers cheer them on. Not only do social leaders sponsor harassment, but they launch insecure violent criminals at the designated target.
“Outing” someone designates them for harassment and bullying.
Note that the distinction between "bullying" and "harassment" isn't legal. According to American law, harassment is simply less-violent bullying. Anti-violence legislation and school policies usually define "bullying" as an attack that results in physical harm, while "harassment" causes only psychological injury or property damage. ...Presumably because it's easier to establish the extent of injury in court than it is to prove motive or intent
On the other hand, combining the two problems hides the real nature of harassment: That is, the fact that it's state sponsored -- from the social commitment to conformity, to the selection of harassment as the method of conformity coercion, to the lack of response to the victims' cries for help. Teachers, religious leaders, legislators and doctors have been enlisted by the state to detect non-conformity and to incite students, members of the congregation, and the general populace to make the attack.
Since it's the nameless majority who have blood on their hands, the leaders -- ie, the actual instigators -- can maintain plausible deniability. ...While the people can maintain that they were just following orders.