Ever since I began following a number of outspoken and highly informative trans-related resources & content creators on Twitter, I’ve been hit with a lot of heavy news and opinions lately. I never knew that there was so much anger and negativity surrounding the “T” community until this past month. Rightfully so, as much of what I’ve read usually does not involve positive, happy reinforcement – not from what is reported and, of course, not from those who are raising their voice in protest of being denied a proper quality of life.
For people like me who are still questioning and finding it difficult to come out to even close friends because of immediately being hit with the obvious pronouns (even while presenting female), let me say that being fed so much negativity, fear, and conflict does not bode well in my heart. I want to believe that it gets better, that people are capable of understanding one another. I also know that there is both good and bad that comes with coming out and entering the LGBT community. Though, I’m rarely witnessing anything good or uplifting from those who are firmly planted in their identity as transgender. Rather, I am daily reading about so-and-so being jerked around and trolled on social media, or rough, angry hashtag tweets condemning anyone who would have the audacity to write or say something anti-trans with little to no regard to whether the person was conscious of their transgression or not.
The following is a true Twitter story I’ll be using as an example. Their identity & @reply usernames has been removed for the sake of privacy.
A Twitter friend of mine with no connection to the LGBT community though well-versed in politics and history “unconsciously” referred to Chelsea Manning as her “dead name” and with male pronouns the same day the news controversy started. According to my friend, they held no ill/disrespectful intent and was simply tweeting about Manning in their own knowledge under the gender identity they had always known her by.
A mistake akin to myself and other trans people may encounter with a close friend who we’ve come out to. Likely in part due to the backlash of prolific news sources misgendering Manning (and some not responding favorably to the outcry), my friend was ambushed by a handful of Twitter users on their maligning error on a “touchy subject.”
Apparently, the confrontations were initially lined with hostility, which, frankly, was wrongfully displaced towards my friend who had only just learned hours ago within the same day that Manning was transgender…
I am frightfully aware that the fight for basic human rights, job benefits, and necessary protection for those within the LGBT community is a fierce one. In many ways, it appears on a similar level as the Civil Rights Movement. When people are being murdered, raped, threatened, discriminated, etc. for no reason other than for who they are, this is an issue that requires outspoken individuals who know their rights in a nation that supposedly stands on them. I can only speak as an American, but I sincerely applaud those who are using articles, social media, and even leveraging their occupation to help and educate those still early in their transition like me.
Conversely, what is scaring the shit out of early transgender people like me are those who are seemingly seeking some manner of constant conflict. Trans persons/allies engaging anyone in a hostile manner who gives the slightest hint of having an anti-gay/anti-trans agenda so as not to appear weak-willed. More times than not, blasting their social feeds with all the unpleasantries that come with being transgender/transsexual complete with a daily score sheet of misdeeds of cis people have committed at theirs or another trans comrade-in-arms’ expense. The latest trend by harassers is taking their disgusting hate-mongering to the Ask.fm accounts of trans people.
Team Cis versus Team Trans. All day. Err day. Who will come out on top today?
I’m certain this kind of behavior among the majority of the trans community means well in raising public awareness of our hardships and adding to a solid foundation at large (as opposed to a cry for attention – i.e. bitching), but is potentially doing emotional and mental damage to those who truly want to find the strength to accept themselves and walk this path. I follow these people on Twitter because they have become so very brave and confident in their lifestyle that it behooves me to learn from their example. However, some of them seem to take great pride in being trans to the point of creating hashtags like #fuckcispeople and circulating the grounded and, often times, angry opinions as ferociously as possible. Thus, conflicts and misunderstandings between cis people and trans people escalate due to one always trying to win against the other.
This is nothing new with humanity as a whole. We all have a primal urge to engage destruction and conflict. People die because of this. However, there surely is good and progress being made by trans allies and community (that isn’t national news) occurring little by little. And yet, the bad/ugly always seems to get the most attention and emotional response. Witnessing things like this – still feeling like an outsider despite me coming out to a few close people – makes me wonder how much progress we are really making as human beings to understand one another…
I hope I am not coming off as naive. I am not, by any means, suggesting anyone who falls under the transgender umbrella to stop advocating and shouting from the rooftops what you believe to be right and just. We need these kinds of people using their influence to create a change. It’s deplorable that the LGBT community even needs to be at odds with receiving basic human rights to protect us from being assaulted and equal opportunity to be hired based on our qualified merits. We are at the point of literally fearing for our livelihood and our very life on a daily basis. This should not be, and I thank you, based Team Trans, for all you have done and are doing. However, in my humble attempt to have a voice amidst all the mud-slinging and name-calling on behalf of transgender people everywhere, I admit that this has not made me any less afraid and unsure of my self.
I’ll end with a simple question for anyone advocating anything:
Is what we say/do/write something that, at the end of the day, will aid someone who may not understand our heart, and connect with a sense of enlightened humanity of who we are in a positive way…or are we unwittingly breeding more enemies of those merely unaware?