Living Without Privilege

We hear a lot about privilege these days. It seems that everyone want to prove that other people have more privilege than they do. David Cameron thinks that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, while men’s rights activists are convinced that men are far more oppressed than women. There are even quizzes you can do to prove to your friends how little privilege you have. But what is it actually like being at the bottom of the social pile? Well readers, let me introduce you to Monica Jones.

Monica is a trans student in Arizona where they have a law against “manifesting prostitution”. Ostensibly it is a means of cleaning up the streets and “rescuing” women from the sex trade. The practice is, of course, very different, because all it takes to be found guilty of this crime is for a police officer to decide that you look like a prostitute. And what does a prostitute look like to an Arizona police officer? Obviously she’s female, she’s not white, and probably she’s trans.

Monica was brave enough to speak out against this law. Not long after she was arrested. Yesterday she was found guilty, solely on the word of the arresting officer. She has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 days in prison, and a $500 fine. As a trans woman, she will be sent to a men’s prison.

The silence about this from the white, liberal feminist media is deafening.

That’s what it means to be without privilege. You can be arrested simply for walking down the street, convicted without any evidence of wrongdoing being required, and subjected to what in any civilized country would be described as a cruel and unusual punishment. And the supposedly liberal media doesn’t fucking care.

Oh, and before anyone starts saying, “that’s just America, the UK is so much better”, read this.

Update: I’ve had people on Twitter asking whether there is anything that can be done about this. The most important thing to note here is that there are trans women of color who are all over this, and have been since Monica was arrested. There are very high profile people such as Janet Mock and Laverne Cox involved. What the rest of us need to do is keep an eye on what they are doing, and lend support where it is requested. The hashtags being used by activists are #IStandWithMonica and just #StandWithMonica. Checking those on a regular basis should keep you up to date with what is happening.

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4 Responses to Living Without Privilege

  1. Farah Mendlesohn says:

    I’ve been following this one.The language of the “academic” who thought this one up is vile.

  2. Adam Roberts says:

    This sort of thing has a shameful history in the UK that goes back long before these examples in the US. The Contagious Diseases Acts of the late 19th-C were used to arrest large numbers of women (almost all working class ) merely on the suspicion of the arresting officer that they were prostitutes.

  3. Erica says:

    This is appalling. I had not heard about this case, and I’m a US resident. Arizona has a terrible reputation for respecting the rights of people who aren’t white, hetero and cisgender, but there’s plenty of persecution to go around in other states too. You’re right that the media picks and chooses the human rights stories it wants to run, and transgender people are most often invisible unless they’re being mocked.

    And it saddens and angers me that there are women who call themselves feminists who are indifferent, even hostile, to the issues faced by trans women.

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