This goes for other communities that are hypersensitive too (at least parts of them are), but I’m not going to name them, or shame them. All these communities really are marginalized, victimized, and vilified by the general populace or even just the majority. They feel justifiable outrage, but sometimes that slips over into things that lose focus.
I wrote about the political correctness of the gender police, but in many ways that’s just the tip. The trans community loses focus, in my view, when it overly concerns itself with what seem like important matters that really are not. Let me give you some examples.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
We gather and name the 200+ people who died because they were trans. Sad, and of course it is sad. Nobody should be killed because of their gender identity, their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, their nationality, their faith, because they wear glasses (one of many signs of learning that the Khmer Rouge used to single out victims), their political affiliations, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
We constitute by recent estimates perhaps 1 in 200 of the population, probably a bit less when only counting those who are visible and transitioned. 15,000 people are murdered a year in the US and perhaps 30 of those are trans (given where the count is right now). If you make that proportionate that makes us only half as likely to be victims of murder.
Murder is, by and large, not a random violent act. It is a personal act of emotion, often planned and carried out. I suspect many trans murders are no different.
We should join with the community of all people everywhere to look for an end to violence, especially pervasive violence against women and children.
Don’t look for a fight
People are curious. People are also inconsiderate fucking assholes. People are going to ask you about surgeries or about drag or transvestism or any number of inappropriate things. Just be polite and try and educate them as best you can.
Don’t forget that sometimes you’re the asshole, we all are sometimes. It goes with being human. So forgive. Do a lot of that. Forgive.
You don’t have to answer.
Try to resist the urge to be snarky. I’ve given in a few times: “Are you sure?”, “Well no” I say, “After 54 years of consideration and six months of therapy and serious clinical depression brought on by it and every sign that it will help me lead a better life, what would YOU do?” (eyelashes fluttering) “Of course I’m sure”
You think we’re the only receivers of stupid questions or statements?
How do you know you’re a lesbian, you probably just haven’t been with the right man yet
How about asking someone who’s fat whether they’ve thought of losing weight.
No, never crossed my mind when my back started giving out and my knees are screaming with pain.
Deadnaming and Misgendering
OK, how many of you have gotten seriously pissed off at someone for using your old name, asking about your old name, using the wrong pronoun? My hand’s up too.
If you’re a couple of years beyond transition it is time to grow up and get a life and a thicker skull. I know that’s easier to say than do. Sure, it can sting, but you need to really be observant and consider some things before you take the nuclear option:
Is that person using the old name someone you haven’t seen in a few years?
Remember, six years for you, three for them. You’ve made progress that is invisible. Often you’ve changed, and you’re asking them to change with you right here and right now. Is that reasonable?
Are they making any effort?
Especially pronouns are difficult for a few different reasons. Let’s start with inertia. My wife has known me thirty seven years. For the first thirty three I was a man, I had a beard for god’s sake. I fathered a child. It was pretty real. Then one day I say my name is Rachel and I’m a woman. Think that might be hard to accept for her? I’m rather flabbergasted at how well she’s done. How well I’ve done is a distant second on the list.
Pronouns are really hard.
Do you pass 100% absolutely perfectly in every single possible detail? Do you realize that just a couple of minor issues will cause the other person’s brain to make it really, really difficult to do the right thing by you. Take me, I’m only now seriously fixing my voice. It just wasn’t bad enough before. But it was bad enough I’d get misgendered sometimes.
You always have the option to just grin and bear it you know
You can also let someone else correct them. If you do have to say something, which of the following is more likely to cause them to respect you. A long winded diatribe on why you really are a woman or a short polite request about how you find it painful after all you’ve been through to be called sir or him or whatever. Enlist their aid, don’t fuel their anger.
- It doesn’t matter what they think (repeat this every night until you believe it)
- They do not need to agree with you
- They do not just need to read that book or study or watch that movie and all will be well, once a zealot, always a zealot
- Good people will always love you even if they don’t understand
- Being loved is all we can ask, loving back is all we can give