Sarah, in response, says that what concerned her most about the women who talked about transwomen surrendering to vanity is how feirce — my word — the responses got. She wonders if we shouldn’t lighten up a bit.

I can think of many reasons why trannies are fierce:

  • We have been told all our lives to play nice or suffer the consequences, so just to break out of place, we have to be able to say “Fuck You!” and be fierce.
  • Transwomen were trained to be men, so an aggressive response often is the first choice. Our personal defenses are one of the last things to shift.
  • When we are newly out, it’s easy to feel insecure and pressed against the wall. Being fierce just reveals our own terror, terror that stops us from being graceful
  • We have the expectation to negotiate other’s fears, and that obligation is killing. When people see us and feel fear, most never take time to wonder where their fear is coming from, rather they just blame the “phobogenic object.” When faced with that onus, being fierce is often the best choice; you can’t just always be the only grown-up in the room negotiating the fears of others.
  • If you can’t blend in, then standing up is the only other choice. As any fierce queen will tell you, standing proud always requires a touch of ferocity.
  • Some of us just are fierce by nature, cutting the crap as part of our mission in life.

For me, the mark of a mature tranny is the ability to respect ferocity in others, because when we know how to see and understand it in others, we can learn to shape and control it in ourselves.

I agree that way too many people in the world, transpeople included, act out of their own fears too much, trying to silence challenge rather than engage it. I always wanted a codicil to freedom of speech: the one thing you can’t do with it is use it to try to take away freedom of speech from others.

Of course, having people enact their own fears on you to try and silence you, well, that’s not really useful.  It is easy to learn to become a bully by being bullied, a lifetime of stigma and silencing, of fear and falsehoods playing out in manipulating others into silence.

It’s my experience that our most toxic venom is saved for people who are like us, but are revealing bits that we cannot bear to see in ourselves yet. Those are the people we feel the need to silence much more than outsiders, who can easily be dismissed as just not understanding.

It’s the people who offer more understanding than we can yet tolerate, who touch places we have not yet healed for whom we usually reserve the total force of our wrath.

I just want people to get over their damnselves and open to others rather than trying to beat them into silence. It’s amazing how fierce and funny comments can help slice away the crap and leave the raw beauty exposed.

The fierce, raw, real  beauty.

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