There’s a classic film in which one of the characters states: “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it?” Roy, because this is from BladeRunner goes on to say something about slavery. Here we are in a year that’s later than that shown by the film, and yet, there is still slavery in the world, and indeed the UK. I find this both shocking and appalling.
What does Roy’s line have to do with today’s post? Well, for the trans folk reading this, you’ll no doubt know that it was the Transgender Day of Remembrance this week. For those not in the know, it’s a time when T people remember those we’ve lost to violence. Yes, people murdered. Yes, you read that right: there are those who would wish us dead because of who we are, and – like other evil in the world – they act on it.
You don’t have to be trans to be an ally. You don’t have to fully understand what it might be to be somewhere on the trans spectrum. You don’t need to know anyone who is trans. You don’t have to have questioned your gender. You just need to care and to stand up when you hear bigotry. Thoughts lead to words, words lead to actions, and actions lead to consequences.
I’m not saying go medieval on a friend or a colleague if they tell an anti-trans joke or start saying that whichever populist honk spout is right, but do take them up on it. Sure, be prepared for the possibility of the noise around it’s political correctness gone mad BS – but it’s just that, BS. Most regular folk may not understand and will not want to cause offence. You have the power to challenge that and help stop the fear.
The fear? The feeling that you change your behaviour based on who you are and where you are. Feeling that because of how you are dressed, you can’t run, that your belongings are in just one bag, and your wig could be pulled off, revealing more of your old identity. You may clutch your bag tightly, you may avoid a shortcut, cross the road when approached, or be mindful that you’re at risk..
I’ve only glimpsed the world of what it might be to be full-time (transitioned) or to be treated as some women are, but it was a powerful lesson.
Perhaps by cosmic irony, it’s also International Men’s Day this month. There’s nothing manly about punching down, IMHO. Caring, supporting, going against the herd: that’s tough stuff. To use my privilege as a middle-class passing for Cis straight guy: well, if I can help challenge and change things, that’s got to be some use right?