Thank you based Team Trans, but I am afraid

Pixiv-kakaon
Pixiv @ kakaon

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.
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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.”

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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…

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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?

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5 thoughts on “Thank you based Team Trans, but I am afraid

  1. Hi Lady,

    Nice to see you around. You wrote: “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.” *I think of it this way too – because of people’s refusal to allow the same rights without discrimination, and those rights without it being laced with hate.*

    You said:

    “….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.” *Wow really? That is too bad, drama doesn’t move the ball forward unless it’s applied directly to the place, folks, situations needing change. If they take all that energy, organize it, put it into creating forums, campaigns, then okay. But cis/trans people fighting is stupid to me, why the heck am I as a poor disenfranchised person going to fight another, or me another woman over discrimination? That’s like in-fighting to me. Unless it’s directed at the source of the problem it’s wasteful. Further more, it will give unexposed people the wrong opinion of each. I have trans sisters who are like family without blood, there isn’t one ounce of competitiveness. No space for it when we’re trying to support and encourage one another forward. And so many of us are in a pretty similar position on some counts, who has time to tear a sister or brother trying their way through this tough world down?

    When I did research for my film (which continues) I had soooooo many lovely transgender people – some very random – help in huge ways! A few have become long time friends. Competition? No where. So who are these people fighting like this and pitting themselves against each other? Why? Sure I get people are all out biased – but this doesn’t sound like that group. So why??? Ugh. Not helpful.

    You said: “We all have a primal urge to engage destruction and conflict. People die because of this.” *EXAAAAAACTLY. So can the petty arguers get off the embers and jump into the fire of the real fights already? Eeeesh. Maybe some folks should come off Twitter. Spend that time organizing.

    But Ren’Ai….please don’t get discouraged. I know it may appear from the bunch on twitter like everyone is this. But I assure you everyone isn’t, I’ve met some “amazing,” transgender men and women who are advocating for the community in other ways (had added a bunch of this kind to my FB, wish could have made those introductions for you, but deleted my entire profile ways back). There are also alot of CIS people who are not against or attacking transgender people. Though yes, there are strong biases out there….

    Finally, your question. I’m not sure I understand Ren. The wording of the first part (and I’m not being grammar police you’ve seen every type of mistake from me) confused me. I think you’re asking if what we are doing to advocate for the transgender community will truly create understanding or foster hate.

    If that is so, it was the main question I kept in my heart while writing Glo. And because of that, I wanted to involve the audience with the main character as a woman with cares, tribulations, loves, without hiding the fact that she was transgender but not having that be her only theme either. Like I am not just black but a woman, not just a sister, but a daughter…

    Sorry this is so long…. if it is… feel free not to approve. Lol. Least I’ll know you read it. 🙂

    1. Hey girl, thanks for the serious feedback you gave! I often times need to take a step back to process everything before I reply. Though this entry was focusing on my heartfelt perspective as a trans girl on the outside, I had some time to digest a bit more information that will inform my reply to you.

      Regarding the whole matter of “in-fighting”, I agree. I feel it’s quite unfortunate that there are indeed cis women who have no sympathy or care for trans women and will laugh at the idea of actually being far more privileged. This is one of the reasons why there is fighting among trans women who just want to be seen as women and cis men and women who won’t have any of it for one reason of another. Trans people are fighting for their right to be who they are because, as I’m learning, so many are also disenfranchised to the point of winding up on the street after coming out.

      What you are experiencing is the positive side of things – having trans sisters while reaching out to the trans community to understand and be educated on their needs and struggles. We need more people like you who can dispel the noise and be an example to others to those who don’t consider people like me “real women” or even human.

      About those on Twitter putting up a ruckus, many of them are active in the trans community in a significant way. However, many of them are being shunned, ridiculed, and slandered for speaking out about what they are doing and standing up for their trans brothers and sisters. Sadly, so many of them are not in a stable life situation themselves while they are representing and defending their rights. Their personal frustrations come through, and it’s no wonder trans people are figuratively having to constantly swing their fists around – they are fighting their own personal battles as well…

      You are very right about there being people who are non-discriminatory and not verbally antagonistic. My viewpoint was from a very limited swath. Much of my apprehensions were due to those representing the community having an abrasive approach to engaging cis people who won’t ever understand. It’s much more than that though, which makes it so hard for those speaking on behalf of themselves and other trans people to have much positive energy when they or another are being kicked around every other day.

      You interpreted my end question correctly (haha grammar police~)! You gave a wonderful response and I’m grateful you took the time to reply so in-depth. : )

      1. Ren’Ai!

        Twitter gettin’ all the attention, we barely see you. 🙂 That’s okay, see WP is the new Twitter. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for the in-depth response in return. I’m going to follow your graceful approach as time moves forward. It’s wise to let some things ruminate.

        And you’re right there are CIS folks who laugh at the idea of being far more privileged — but you know — just like we fight with our family (over and over concerning certain things), we have to make our family (fellow Americans) see it. This is absolute lack of education and perspective, kind of how people can’t see how not allowing gay people the right to marry, is any kind of issue. The perspective is in the details people rarely get to hear, and even then, they’ve defined a position so they need some time to unravel their steel grip from it and think. Trans men and women are being denied basic jobs, health care, ID’s that would allow them to survive, as we all must, because of bias, and it is even life threatening in some communities to be. So, these details and details of those details, need to be shared. That, will derail people who are human. There is absolute privilege, and we “all” should be allowed the same ones (similar to how black people or say children of immigrants deserve the same basic rights anyone else has at get).

        But this is a civil rights fight, a reminder of when whites held back those rights from people of color and had all these reasons they held to, backed up by long (and wrongly) held beliefs. So it’s a tough fight but one that will be won in time.

        And yes, many transgender people do end up on the street when they lose job, can’t get hired, family refuses to support them (even friends). It’s so common, it’s shocking. Oh, we have so many social issues to tackle in this country…

        But trans activists, students, writers, filmmakers, judges, lawyers, medical staff etc., and cis people (who have gotten a little education around trans people) will fight this fight together over and over, showing their faces and raising their voices til the dialogue is an on-going one in everyone’s living room. And, I will be part of this group demanding to be heard about it.

        I am so aware of some of the activists’ struggles – but you know – even I forget that in the midst of people’s wonderful activism they can still have some very intense struggles such as unemployment, estrangement, illness (without access to healthcare). So thanks for taking me back there, these men and women are no different than myself who has been homeless and also on the brink, in the midst of public efforts which fail to signal so.

        Still, I am so happy you took the time to respond Ren’Ai…because even the part about people being kicked ‘so often,’ maintaining positive energy….is so true. When I was trying to raise money for “Glo,” I kept running into this multilayered bias and chilliness, that began to make me angry. Yet I had all these production people working for me for free who were in love with the project, and continually getting very positive feedback from cis (film industry folk) and trans folks (from all walks). I got to the point where the not so positive comments and blatant stone walling started to get in, to the point where I shut the entire production down and angrily deleted my Facebook in a huff one day.

        But I’ve grown a tougher skin, and know I need to get back up and jump in. Because everyone of our voices around this needs to be raised, that is what proved to be too powerful a force for bigots to fight after a while – some years ago.

        Lastly, glad I got your question! Ok, no more policing!! Talk soon luv. xo

  2. I kind of see it as a yin/yang thing. As long as there are people on the anti-trans side spouting hate & ignorance, there is a void that must be filled with people who spend a lot of time and energy countering that. Sometimes others get caught in the middle (like your friend), unfortunately.

    Maybe unfollow some of them for a while if it’s bothersome to you? Or just understand that they are one small part of an entire spectrum, and their role is not everyone’s role. Once our society moves to a more compassionate and reasonable understanding of transgender people and issues, this negative “counter-offensive” won’t be needed.

    Having said all that, though, i like your ending question. I love your heart.

    1. The yin/yang comparison is a very good way to look at it. Can’t have one without the other.

      I actually took a few days away from Twitter to clear my head and calm my emotions. All the opinions and articles were really becoming too much for me. It helped bring some difficult concepts to light and, yes, reminded me that my scope was limited. Progressive good that is indeed happening is difficult to see when the government, laws, and society itself stand in the way of the trans community.

      Thank you for reading & for your great comment. Happy that my question resonated with you also. : )

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