Ok, so I got a little wild.
Some lovely blogger came up with the idea that we should be “Candidly Transgender” and actually admit to it when someone taunts us rather than trying to keep our trans biology and history hidden.
Now, when I first heard this idea, it was simply called being “out.” Is transgender about concealing our biology & history, or is it about revealing our nature? It’s easy to figure out that the more you are about concealment the bigger that stick up your ass is, and the more you set yourself up for failure. I mean, it feels better to be seen as female because people have different expectations — no wonder Duncan Tucker wanted a female actress to star in TransAmerica to give Bree some leeway — but most transpeople born male don’t have bodies that can be easily femaled.
Problem is that this author wanted to talk about this in the context of banter with young males on the street. They found their out moment in responding to jokey jabs about Adam’s Apples with other jokes.
I got on my high horse and talked about the obligation of trannys to be the clown, how dragface is the new blackface, and we learn to shuck and jive to keep the normies laughing.
Well, she was peeved with my response, and dismissed it out of hand. She wasn’t doing dragface, and besides (and here is the kicker)
My point was to disarm then educate.
No one hears you when you yell in anger.
They go on to talk about akido, to disarm.
Believe it or not, I actually know how to be disarming. I know how to do lots of things that deflect, open and teach.
But fuckaduck. This author didn’t want to hear me “screaming in anger and pain” and believes nobody will listen to that.
Is that why tortured prisoners stay small, because no one will hear them screaming in anger and pain?
I understand the “mature” way of speaking gracefully about your own anger (and pain.) But when the obligation to be the gracious and mature one is obligation of the one being abused, then fuck that. I am so intensely sick of having to swallow my own anger, rage & pain to help people understand that I am going to drown in them. Over a decade of working hard to be non-threatening and find calm, common language while getting almost no steps in my direction hasn’t left me sane, sober and healthy. Instead, it’s left me bruised, battered and broken.
Don’t tell me to rise, above it, not today, don’t do it. Don’t tell me it’s the job of the stigmatized and marginalized to make the normies laugh and learn, the normies who start by bangslapping them. Don’t tell me that it’s our job to negotiate fears, transcend expectations, lift social barriers, and make magic all while being crushed by the weight of good-old normative yahoos.
Good, go, do the best you can. Come to the conclusion that being out is the best we can do, and that if we are going to get attacked we have to learn to fight back in the best way we can.
But if you turn away when someone else screams in pain, if you dump the expectation onto them, then know you are just making your own challenge harder. Until you can hear the pain of others, you can never ask people to hear the pain in you.
And that’s how abuse circles and expands.