I’ll start by saying that this is very much a personal opinion piece. What’s here is my opinion, no one else’s. I mean no personal offence, I made that clear, so I expect none back. Ok, now we have that clear, let’s move on. Or not, if you don’t want to.
We all know the activist type. The T-Shirt wearing, flag waving (ok so far) ones that demand that you automatically understand us and move into our space and accept us. Now!
Look, I want everyone to understand and accept me for who I am. A Trans identifying, intersex born woman. I don’t want to be discriminated against, shouted at, laughed at, beaten up, murdered, it’s bloody hard work surviving without the arseholes that think they have the right to be, stupid. I guess.
There are various forms of non-Trans individuals out there. We have the active ally’s, thank you, we have the try-hards, again thanks, the I’m not sure about this, the outright no-ways, the religious right, the alt-right, the far-right, the TERF’s (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, they hate everyone that’s not a TERF), the I’m too old to adapt’s, the blatantly ignorant. That’s some list and that’s why the activists cause more problems than they solve.
Some who hold an anti-Trans stance do so in part because they’ve never met anyone like me or all they’ve been exposed to is crappy TV documentaries, magazine articles or politically biased media. Others are somewhat blinded by religious dogma, whilst others just see us as the new group to blame for the ills that modern society loads onto all by the rich, white, predominantly male 1% society. Donald Trump anyone?
I also get that some people are just arseholes, there’s not much we can do to educate the unteachable so I’m parking them to one side and focusing on the rest.
We can’t demand that others come into our space unless we first go into theirs. We need to understand why they might be anti, afraid or conflicted, we need to understand why they hold their views. If we move towards them and help to understand their issues then we can slowly, and I do mean slowly, help them move into a space that they might be comfortable in.
If we drag them kicking and screaming into our space, then they will kick and scream until they can return to their ‘safe place’. If we try and force them, all we generate is an individual or group who will be reluctant in the future to move forward again. All we’ve done is waste their and our time. Absolutely, bloody, pointless exercise for all involved.
If we look at the broader LGB community then we can see that they took their time to educate, to share, to inform. They gave that slow to absorb education despite the Aids hysteria of the mid to late 1980’s where for a while people were even afraid to use the same toilet seat. They achieved amazing things. Fore sure there were the flag waving, ‘I want this and Now!’ element but they were the minority in the end. The LGB community still has a way to go, things are still far from perfect but just go into any city centre nowadays and see just how few LGBT, think gay bars, there are nowadays. You see integration has started to take place.
Activists, especially the extreme activists just piss people off. Not only are they annoying the general public but they’re also beginning to pee off the wider Trans population. We saw it last year in London when a group of TERF’s were met by an aggressive, violent group of Trans activists. What did that achieve in the end? Well they got the wrong sort of media attention, they reaffirmed everything that the TERF’s say about Trans people, they showed a form of patriarchal male dominance through the use of violence and they embarrassed a great deal of the Trans community.
So, if extreme activism isn’t the answer, then what is?
That’s it, we need to start to listen and educate. We need to go into their spaces, talk to them in a location or emotional space where they are most comfortable and then help them to undertake their own form of transition. It’s not complicated, it’s just slow.
I look to my own transition as a form of validation for this perspective. Despite always knowing I was different, I was a medical mess, I delayed my transition until I was 47. I delayed it because despite ‘living it’, I was, like many, confused as to what the hell was going on. I was afraid of how society viewed me and whether they would reject me once I came out. So, if I was confused and scared despite everything I knew then it’s not unreasonable to allow the non-Trans community the same rights that we had. The right to walk at a pace that we could cope with.
I am an activist, of that I cannot lie. But I’m a peaceful activist. I write articles, I give university presentations, I donate my time 1:1 to those that want to understand. I do it silently in a manner that reflects my audience and their ability to move.
I don’t waste any cycles on those trapped by religious dogma, there are issues much bigger than the Trans question at play there. These people are lost, afraid, alone, brainwashed, whatever other terms you wish to use. If they’re open to calm, unemotive, non-threatening debate then I’ll have that debate, but I make it clear that as a non-religious person I don’t need saving, hell for me doesn’t exists so there’s no threat there. What would I achieve if I shouted or demanded they accept me regardless of their own position? Nothing. Zero, Zilch, Nada, Bugger all. You get the idea so why bother?
There will always be those as I mentioned earlier that we will never educate. For those, I’m afraid I have no words, no energy or emotion that I wish to expend in their direction. I won’t scream at them. I won’t make demands, I won’t shame them, they’ve done that themselves. Instead I will invest myself and my resources helping those that can over time move in the right direction.
Walking the street, waving the flag, protesting is great. it needs to be done. I’m not advocating for a minute that we stop that. I’ll be out at the next pride carrying the Trans flag. That’s about awareness and education. If one of my community suffers violence, again I will be out there creating visibility and asking for help to make it stop. You see, alone we can do little. We can achieve the most when we involve others. When we raise awareness and ask for their support and assistance. The difference in approach may seem subtle, almost non-evident, but it’s there. It’s not about demanding, it’s again about educating. It’s about widening the community so that it includes us. Unconditionally.
If you’re an extreme Trans activist who wants to shout at me and tell me I’m ignorant, stupid, wrong or naïve, please don’t bother. Especially not publicly. The only person that will feel awkward is you. I won’t be extending any emotion as there are too many out there to talk to who want to listen, want to learn, want to grow.
So, sorry. I really don’t want the Extreme Trans Activists representing me. Sorry, not in my name. Not in my cause. You’re buggering it up enough already.