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A Painful Pride: Ryan Confronts Bigotry at “Gay” Fest
By Ryan Cassata
Yesterday, I played Long Island Pride Fest. It was really excellent for me to take the stage at the Pride closest to my hometown. All of my local friends got to see me rock a huge festival. My performance went great. I got encored which was an amazing feeling. I was announced as a “transgender singer-songwriter.”
Now, I’m totally fine being known as a transgender singer-songwriter. I’m even more comfortable with it at pride. Everyone at pride is cool with trans people right? Wrong.
About thirty minutes after my performance I walked–alone–to the parking lot to move my guitar from backstage to my car.
I was approached by three cis-men. They seemed to be about 20 or 21. They didn’t seem drunk. They were wearing pride pins and rainbows. Two of them were touching a bit. They were definitely there celebrating pride, no doubt.
As they came closer they started to chuckle in an immature way.
”Look, it’s the girlboy!” They continued to laugh, pointing their fingers at me. I felt like a circus freak show exhibit.
I felt a fire rage up inside of me.
How could this happen to me at a pride festival? How could other queer people be so uneducated about the trans community that they make a comment so ridiculous and offensive?
The three boys walked past me.
I turned around and let that fire take hold of my actions. I screamed out, “are you in this community or are you a fucking asshole?”
Then I realized: I see all other queer people and also non-queer allies as a part of my community, but these three supposedly cisgender gay men, they do not see me in their community. They do not welcome trans people in their community. They spit at the very thought of us.
Isn’t it crazy how so much ignorance can exist within the queer community?
I went home from pride feeling like their was no safe place for transgender people. I always saw pride as a safe place, a place where I could truly be myself and not have to worry about being attacked, ridiculed or bullied.
Unfortunately, I will now carry fear with me to pride. Myself and other trans people are not welcomed by some members of the gay community. I now have to worry about being attacked by other members in the queer community. It’s really a shame.
I blame it all on ignorance.
For one, the Long Island gay center does not focus at all on transgender issues or the trans community. They predominately cater to white gay cis-men. It’s time to stand up. It’s time to let this awful truth be known. It’s time to let the gay center know how we feel. I will soon be voicing my pride experience and my feelings to them.
No, I’m not blaming this all on the gay center but they do have the upper hand and they can do a lot to fix this problem. We need to start somewhere.
I can name many other times where I have been excluded or made fun of by cisgender gay men. Sometimes it’s not they are trying to be rude. It’s because they are uneducated about trans people.
TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WORLD:
- You have no right to ask a trans person what they have in their pants.
- It’s rude to say to a trans-guy “0h, Well, You kind of look like a girl.”
- It’s rude to say to a transwoman “oh, well you kind of look like a man.”
-Read this article: “TEN THINGS NOT TO SAY TO A TRANS PERSON”
-Being queer does not give you the right to look over the things mentioned on the list.
Are we the LGBT community or is it segregated to an LGB community and a T community? Before we ask society to accept any of us we must first learn to accept all of us.