A little respect

Hi,

The other day I was browsing Reddit and I happened to hit on a re captioned 60s comic image, or as the cool kids are saying these days: a meme. 😉

The image to your right isn’t it, but one I’ve tweaked as it feels a bit more trans positive. The other was one of those dramatic head-in-your-hands poses… oh, and 50 underwear which I felt might tip us towards the racy side of things and that’s not where I’m headed with this.

Like a lot of things in life there’s a certain level of randomness – or synchronicity – about blogging. So it was that an article floated by about certain political parties trying to ‘protect children’ from transition regret.

Excuse me while I roll my eyes. 😛

I was a kid before I was trans.

I was a kid before I knew any words that fitted how I felt.

I was a kid before I saw anyone in the media who was like me.

The person who who took me down this path is me. Not the TV, not the liberal agenda, not my folks, not books, not comics, not drugs (!), and certainly not my school friends.

To be trans, or perhaps more accurately, to be anything but your assigned gender at birth in the 70s and the 80s was not a walk in the park. This doesn’t mean it’s time to get the violins out. 🙂

One more time for the folk at the back: you don’t choose to become trans. You realise it is part of you, and you have to come to terms with it: whatever that means for you. Maybe that’s someone who’s mixing their gender up, happily drifting between binaries, or is going full time. All those identities are valid.

If anyone reading this is thinking “well, you could try not to be.” Yeah? When did you realize you were straight? Have you tried not to be? I mean, it could be just a phase 😛 Plus, not being you? I wouldn’t recommend it and that old adage: that way madness lies, isn’t far from the truth.

What might things have been like as a kid who’d seen positive role models for part-timers like me? I honestly don’t know, because I can’t look back that far. Certainly not without the thirty plus years of experiences and help I’ve had along the way.

What I can say is that reading about people like me, people who can’t fit into a rigid boys only / girls only world, that helped. Listening to their stories helped me make sense of my own, and helped me find my way through things. Rather than bumping through a dark room hitting my shins on sharp corners, the far off light helped me navigate out of the shadows.

There’s a rule in comedy – apparently – that it’s bad to punch down. Challenge authority and mock the powerful, not the weak. If you’re hearing from a trans kid – one in the real world or in a news report – how about putting your own bias on hold and asking what is it I can do to help?

We trans folk, we’re not here to steal your kids away like some mythical piper. We were kids once and we know what it was like to struggle. I think I can safely say anyone who’s battled with dysphoria would not wish that on anyone. So, no, we’re not here to recruit: the next wave are already here and all we can do – cis and trans people alike – is help make their route through life better than ours was.

Take care,
Lynn

6 Comments

  1. I'm with you Lynn, we are not here to change or 'corrupt' anybody else's view on life, we have all had it hard enough ourselves and as you say we wouldn't wish this on anyone. Since I, eventually, came to terms with what and who I am, I have been very lucky to find the support from many within the community, it appears that in spite of the world being much more forgiving than it was when I was young, there is still a long way to go. If only the 'no believers' would just chill out and accept us as the decent people we really are!

    1. Sorry for the delay. I was just lighting the Wicker Man in the garden. It's Halloween and Bonfire Night all in one. 😉

      Crap jokes aside, for all the negative press and foot stamping fun certain minority groups, most folk don't give a stuff and just let us get on with things.

  2. Good words.
    So what form does this government protection take so that children are not exposed to the idea that not all people see themselves as fitting comfortably and neatly into the either/or gender binary?
    Ban them from watching television, using the internet or social media, listening to the radio, visiting the library? (there are three LGBT/trans books in the children's/YA section of my small local library)
    Because not teaching children sex education classes put a stop to teenage pregnancy, and Section 28 stopped children being gay didn't it?
    Of course it didn't. It just made those who were feel confused, alienated and afraid, unable to discuss how they feel with their families or closest friends. And those families and friends being equally confused about how to respond. (With love, kindness and acceptance is always a good start. You can usually work it out quite well from there.)

    1. "…kindness and acceptance is always a good start."

      Can we have that on some leaflets, wristbands, and maybe a few t-shirts? That sounds like excellent advice, Susie.

      I think coming from a place of kindness and curiosity is a really good starting place. In terms of acceptance, I think that can be as a simple as "I am going to accept that this that person's feelings/experiences/story and I'm going to listen to them." You don't have to understand it all.

      I am, what?, 40 years into knowing I liked to be a bit of both when it came to gender and I don't fully understand it. I don't expect anyone meeting me or reading this to get it fully either.

      For me, I think the best thing you can ask is "So you say you're X. What does that mean to you?" Don't judge, listen actively, and, if you can, stay with open questions.

  3. Having grown up in the 1960s/70s, I hear ya. One thing that makes life easier and better for today's youth is the Internet: the ability to connect to information and people was sadly lacking during our youth.

    1. Doesn't it just 🙂 I was listening to one of our group tell me how it was in the 70s and 80s. It seemed you need to be 'in the know' to find someone who was like you, and that would get you into the network. It was quite quiet given the UK's laws on the 70s on being gay, and that cast a long shadow on to our community. Thankfully those days are long gone!

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