the letter z

On the presumption of innocence

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2009-12-07

I’ve been pondering this in the back of my mind recently; where you take a presumably cis person you have just met and put to yourself — is this person a transphobe? Am I going to trust this person to not ridicule other trans people? Am I going to trust this person who (possibly) may know that I am trans? Am I going to trust this person not to kill me? Am I going to trust this person at all?

We can say what we will about cis society as a whole; I have already posited that a group can be judged as a whole by it’s worst members and that group’s attitudes towards them, and we know that transphobic attitudes amongst the general populace are, to say the least, commonplace. But to consider a single cis person, do we exclude and distance ourselves from them because they are part of the problem? Or do we respect the presumption of innocence?

I suppose there is a spectrum at play, we may exclude ourselves completely from cis society, or we may choose to be suspicious and skeptical (which is probably healthiest, perhaps?), or we may trust, with the possibility of severe consequences later…

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