It’s not a 24/7 responsibility - nobody can be "on" all the time, and if they are, their life isn’t going to be all that happy. But it is a responsibility to be aware of what is happening, how our actions are positively or negatively contributing to it (harm reduction), and whether the solutions being proposed are ones we can support or oppose.
You don’t always like, get along with or even understand your neighbours in a community. It’s important to try, by stepping outside the limitations of your own experiences from time to time, but a community is not a "Borg" that thinks and acts alike. Similarly, no one is entitled to dictate the rules of a community. The community is ultimately shaped by its residents, including those who move in and out. It will tend to follow general will, but not for lack of individuals promoting their own vision.
I’ve written before on umbrella thinking, and how "in-or-out" frameworks, territorial ownership, and one-group-with-one-need-and-one-solution narratives cause harm. The same goes for the perennial question of whether "trans(*?) is a part of LGBTTIQQAK..." That’s an ownership question: as in "should I care, or not give a whit?" It’s the wrong question.
I’ve also faced an assertion that trans issues are predominantly feminist issues. Absolutely, there’s a lot of overlap. There have also been exclusions and essentialist borders drawn, and some needs which don’t coincide - and occasionally even conflict. Ownership is the wrong question.
Ownership slips into that you’re-in-or-you’re-out mindset that umbrella activism is guilty of, and encourages groups to come into conflict. But we are individuals. We are not any one characteristic alone - neither do we fit any characteristic definition exactly, nor could we reside under one umbrella exclusively. I am a woman. I am in a lesbian relationship. I am omnisexual. I have a trans history. People once "read" me as gay. I was raised with male social conditioning (even though it didn’t "stick" very well). I am Métis. I was raised in white culture. I am Canadian. I am English. I am French Canada -positive. I am (responsible, consensual) sexual minority -positive. I have a limited history in sex work. I am socially progressive. I am a believer in blended socialism (i.e. at one time, fiscal progressive conservatism, before it was hijacked by neo-liberal / far right capitalism fetishism). I am at times mobility challenged. I am self-educated. I am one of the working poor. I am ex-Pentecostal. I have a personal kind of spirituality. I have a few other thousand characteristics that define me in ways that will at times coincide and conflict with every single one of my readers. These characteristics would never fit under a single umbrella. I am an individual. So are you. Ownership is the wrong question.
Alliance should be the question. Do we work together? We all share a global community, like it or not, so it’s more useful to look for ways to meet collective needs than create and enforce borders.
Community is also global. It’s not a question of who belongs or doesn’t, nor a question of whether we can opt in or out - we can be anti-social and withdraw, but that doesn’t help anyone, ourselves included (and if we do that, then we can’t expect the status quo to change to what we’d like it to be).
Throughout my writing I’ve tried to view things universally. I’ve also touched on decolonialism. Transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism, ableism, age-ism, body morphology bias (i.e. fatphobia)... are part of a larger system of oppression, which singles out people for (usually as the endgame) isolation, poverty and disenfranchsement. It’s worth understanding the nuances and differences, just as it is worth recognizing how the intersection of those oppressions is exponentially debilitating for people, because that all provides ways to structurally dismantle those oppressions. But micromanaging who fits or doesn’t is not helpful.
True, substantive change is not driven by prescriptive (and sometimes paternalistic) solutions, although things like legislation can help reduce the harms, and are among the few available remedies for emerging communities - which is why I still support those things.
I’ve been at plenty of trans support meetings where people start sounding off about "drunk Indians" or "those pakis" or making fat jokes. Transphobia is a part of a more global issue of oppression, and we’ve all failed at times (myself included - there’s a reason I use "we" rather than "you" or "they") to effectively dismantle that 24/7. Transformative change is not turning and lashing out at another group.
Much of transphobia and homophobia routinely gets justified by religion, but making faith the villain is also the wrong answer. Affirming people of various faiths have a role to play in ending oppression, and we have a parallel role to play in watching their backs when they do, and to stand up for affirming allies. You’re an atheist? That’s cool, but you still have to grant the same dignity to a religious person that you expect them to grant you.
True transformative change comes from changing our own thinking, and then challenging that of those around us. I was attracted to writing because of the ability to challenge and to be challenged. Sometimes we fail it (sometimes catastrophically), and gradually and inevitably get scared to put ourselves back out there again. But that frontier is where change happens.
It starts within us, and then moves on to questioning and challenging those around us. It doesn’t mean we can’t have a sense of humour or cynicism, but we do need to parse what we’re thinking and saying based on how it could be received.
And it doesn’t mean that we all have to agree; we just have to listen. And step outside the comfort zone of our own experiences. Because community is a responsibility.