Comment #2- Response to KOKUMỌ: artist and activist by Tess

Let me begin by saying that I enjoyed your presentation on Kokumo. Her video, “There Will Come a Day” is powerful, sincere, and genuine. After your presentation I found myself thinking about how Kokumo’s video shows a different form of “coming out”. I am taking a Homophobia and Coming Out class on the consequences of coming out in one way or another. In Kokumo’s video she had to come out as transgender woman in order to feel faithful to her partner. She felt like she could tell him because she had already been through sexual reconstruction surgery, but her partner did not see her for who she was, instead he saw her as the sex assigned at birth. The dangerous faced by LGBTQ’s in everyday life is heart- rending.

After class I showed it to my roommates and my partner. We began discussing the repercussions of coming out as a trans individual. After discussing the video and the dangerous with coming out as a trans person I connected it back to Gwen Araujo’s murder/trial, Throughout the conversations I found myself thinking back at Gwen Araujo’s murder, Tyra Hunter, and Fred Martinez. In all three murders we see transphobic violence occurring because of the stigma society places on trans people and masculinity. The videos ending is open to interpretations, but because of everything we have read, seen, and heard throughout the course we can assume that the woman was killed after telling her partner she was a trans woman. If we go back to Talia Bettcher, Shorton C. Riley, and Jin Haritaworn readings we see how violence, physically, mentally, and or socially all are subjected when coming out a LGBTQ. Bettcher’s piece on “Evil Deceivers and Make Believers” talks about the double mind of disclosing ‘who one is’ or coming out as a pretender or masquerader (Bettcher,283). Going back to Kokumo’s video I am assuming that her partner felt betrayed and loss of masculinity. The idea of having to come out as transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, etc. is a western idea that unfortunately comes with physical, mentally, and emotional violence.

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