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Transgender and proud! Or keep my head down?

I'm transgendered, and proud to say so. But...

There doesn't seem to be a day that goes by where there isn't a news item about abuse being thrown at a transgender person, or even worse their physical abuse or murder.
One of the latest events has involved a hired comedian working for Microsoft at an Xbox One gaming event, that decided to dehumanise, misgender and insult one of the participants purely because she is transgendered.

Sadly, any reporting of this case (and similar) will draw out the usual trolls and bigots. What I wouldn't expect is the same abuse from other members of the GLB community. Here's a selection of samples taken from the Gay Star News article:

  • Rebecca ToxicLette Soderi Soderi: "You're a man.", "The fact is, it is confusing. I dont know what it is. It is fair to call it an it."
  • Jacob Troutman from Longview Community College: "pre op? then no leg to stand on.", "I have a problem with how some people are reacting. Seriously, a trans wearing MLP stuff gets called on stage. What do you think a COMEDIAN is going to do? Tell jokes about how awesome and above everyone else you are? That must of been what was going through his or her mind. I don't fucking care anymore... If you have a dick you're a guy, if you have an axewound, woman."
  • Kim Seese: "Well. I'm a gay man and if you go up un stage with a rainbow wig with ears....then excuse me if I react to your freakish appearance! If we want to be treated NORMAL then we need to act and TRY not to freak people out by looking like a clown!", "Like I said...DUMBASS. Look like a clown. ....get treated like one. Simple as that."
  • Wesley Jeffers from Jimmy John's: "Not trying to sound pessimistic, but when choosing to become transgender, you should be prepared to put up with a lot of criticism; it's one of the least accepted concepts I can think of in the world today, and if you can't stick up for yourself and handle other peoples' opinions and harsh words, then you aren't ready to undertake such a huge life decision."

As misguided and stupid as most of these comments are, most are down to pure maliciousness. If someone doesn't understand, isn't it basic human nature to want to learn rather than just write it off? There were however many rebuttals and amazing comments of support, but far too many to list :)

What this does, however is make me, personally doubt whether I've done the right thing by being "out and proud". With each new article or post, I worry even more whether I'm going to be safe, whether I'm going to get abuse hurled at me when I walk down the street, beaten up because someone thought I was "trying to trick them", all for being true to myself and living my live as I feel, not trying to hide, to pretend to be something I'm not.

Many people I know strive for (and many succeed in) being "stealth" and "passing", which perpetuates the problem and pushes it onto someone else. We're still seen as "freaks" or "men in dresses", or worse, "perverts", and "paedophiles".

This is the reason I am out and proud, to make a difference, to make things better for me, for other people in my situation, for future generations, to not have to deal with this shit. We have to stand up and fight our corner. We can't expect anyone else to do it for us or the bigots and trolls out there to think "Oh, I'm really being quite mean, I should stop". Isn't this what social progress is all about?

I'm transgendered, and proud to say so.

Update

Some people seem to have taken this as deriding transgender people who aren't out which was not my intention at all.
I understand that some people are in a position where they feel unable to transition, and those that want to keep out of the lime light.
It is a personal choice, but not mine. I know I'm unlikely to "pass" 100% of the time, so I'm open, and I answer questions, and increase understanding so we're no longer "freaks in dresses".

Comments

I'm transgendered and proud to say so too. Society will change itself over time. It's already happening. I read a news article recently that said an anti-gay MP's kids were bullied at school because of their father's stance on gay marriage. It's inexcusable to bully anyone for any reason, but it shows a remarkable shift in attitudes, especially amongst the young.

The best thing any of us can do for society and each other is just get on with our lives. Be confident and proud of who you are. The more cis-gendered people interact with trans-gendered people the easier it becomes. I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in 10 years who, despite being in his fifties, has never knowingly encountered anyone transgendered. He admitted he was nervous before we met. Way more nervous than I was. From my perspective I was just going to the pub after work for a drink with an old friend. To him he was meeting someone new, someone different, and he had no idea how to act. What he actually did damn near made me cry. He kissed my cheek.

It dawned on me as we laughed and talked that meeting someone transgendered is more of a trauma for the cis-person than the trans-person. They're on the defensive from the start and, if it's not someone you know, it's easy for defensive to turn offensive, especially if they see any weakness. I don't believe they see being trans as a weakness in itself, but if they see someone who's avoiding eye contact, or hiding in the shadows, then they'll use that vulnerability to hide their own insecurities by going on the offensive.

Being confident and proud of who you are isn't an end in itself, it's the best weapon we have against the abuse. I think the word "transphobia" is accurate - it is a fear of trans people. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side. Thanks, Yoda, but what I'm trying to say is that we have it in our power to stop the fear turning to anger and hate by just being confident in ourselves.

I blogged about this recently, linking one of the most inspirational songs I know, so please feel free to check out my own blog at http://transgenderjem.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/resolution.html

So, yes, I'm transgendered and proud. We all should be. That's how we change society. Just by being part of it.

Hey Dee, I'm trans too, and about reaching the point where I could go "stealth" if I wanted to. (Well, if I moved to another city or something...). Stealth appeals to me, in that I hate not being treated for my true gender. But then again, I just can't stand to let all this ignorance and bigotry go unchecked. I know the best weapon is visibility and helping people understand. So I do talks, I blog, I talk about it... I know I've made an impact already.

Stealth I think will always be somewhat attractive. But this is better. And so long as a few, important people see me as I am, it's enough.

(I'm at http://www.sophiagubb.com if you're curious)

You're single and have no children, correct?
When you have a family and a partner you will begin to understand why people aren't 'out and proud'. Currently your choice only affects you. When it may affect other people, you may regret all the stuff you have published on the internet that outs you.

I'm in a long term relationship and have been since just after transition. They and my family are also just as supportive.
The whole point of my article was that I am out to try and get rid of the stigma and prejudice.
Why do you think I will be likely to regret standing up for my own equality and right to be treated like any other decent human being?

You missed my point entirely; which was: when there are other people involved, you're not just making a choice for one. You need to be considerate of their feelings and potential repercussions on them. You never mentioned that in your blog post.

"Why do you think I will be likely to regret standing up for my own equality and right to be treated like any other decent human being?"

Loaded question and one that has nothing to do with my initial post.
But to answer it anyway; passing appears to have a lot to do with your current attitude. You seem to be in that space of "I don't pass so I might as well be an activist".
You may later regret that choice if/when you start passing - something that a lot of people end up doing. Once stuff is on the internet, it is damn hard to get it off the internet.
Is the point of your transition to be female? Or is it to be trans? Have a think about that as well. Because while you're constantly reminding yourself that you are trans, you're never going to get there.