I am trans like me.
I am not trans like them or like some other person, or trans in a good way or trans in a bad way. I am trans like me.
To me, the entire premise of trans emergence is to be yourself beyond social expectations and conventions. Trans says that you are not out to join a group, rather you are our to be more powerfully and authentically yourself. Trans is a journey to integration and truth.
I want — no, I need support for being trans like me. I have found that difficult to find in this world.
People want to put me in some kind of box or other. They want me to be like them, be like someone they know. They want me to fit neatly into assumptions, into constraints that fit the organization of the world inside of their head.
These people include those who claim to want to support other transpeople. They are struggling to effect trans in the world in a way that negotiates their needs and fears, finding some way to be effective in constructing their trans expression.
Because of this challenge, they have an acute sense of what expression, what truth, what assertion is wrong and wrong headed. They know the forms of trans that they reject for themselves. They know what they desire and they know what they fear.
They know when others are doing trans wrong. Hell, everyone claims to know when others are doing trans wrong. They easily offer advice on how we need to get over our history, how we need to just assert the gender we claim, how we need to work to look more invisible, how we need to be more gender fluid.
Everybody has an opinion how to be trans like me and each one of them starts with how I should change to be less like me.
My consistent supportive recommendation to people is simple: Be more like yourself. Be more you.
Everyone in the world knows where fears and bad habits hold them back. They just don’t get past those bits because they need to feel defended, need to feel safe, need to not be too exposed and vulnerable.
Inside of them they have a whole range of tapes made in their younger days that tell them that they are not enough, that they are broken, that they need to play along and fit in, that no one else will get the joke.
These are the tapes they use to guide their own behaviour. Worse, these are the tapes they are amazingly willing to share with other people, offering them a free blast of the sticks that shape their behaviour. They know the wrong way to do things, the way they fight, so they are ready to tell others where they are wrong.
Those tapes, though, mostly don’t include bits that tell people how great they actually are already, how if they can lose the fear and defences, removing the broom stick from their own butt and becoming more comfortable in their own skin people will find them compelling and engaging.
I don’t need to learn how to fix someone trans like me, how to become more trans (or human) like them. I need to be more confident in being trans like me, less rigid, afraid and defended, more open, adaptable and confident.
I don’t need to be challenged, I need to be encouraged.
Instead, I often find that people want to harness me with keeping them comfortable, want to demand that I speak not only for myself but also for them. They want me to be the kind of trans that they would be, because that’s the right kind of trans.
The problem, though, is that I am trans like me.
I didn’t fight to explore and confront my own demons so I could take on yours.
It may not be easy being me, but I know that it would be profoundly harder to be anyone else. That’s not really an option for me.
I need to believe that being trans like me is enough, if I just do it well enough. I need to learn how to be the best me possible, not to learn how to be more like you.
It isn’t a makeover I need, rather it is good editing that brings out the very best in me in a way that makes me more confident in the world. I need to let go of bits I cling to that are not me, that are just defensive armour, and trust that me, just me will not only be enough, but that it will be amazing.
I don’t need to be more politically correct, don’t need to speak more with shared voices, don’t need to make myself smaller, don’t need to pander to other people’s fears. I don’t need to eliminate my unique differences, becoming more homogeneous, more following guidelines.
I need to be even more trans like me. Being more trans like me, more confident and assured in being trans like me means I will be less shy, less prickly, less retiring, less sad, less broken.
Respecting that others are human like themselves is vital to me. I strive to approach others with respect and honour, working to find common ground. That’s a key part of who I am, not me to invalidate you, me to offer the golden rule and not treat you as I wouldn’t want to be treated.
It doesn’t matter that there is no one exactly like me succeeding in the world. That just means that there is room for someone who is like me.
It doesn’t matter that some people say they hate people who are trans like me. They have never met someone who is trans exactly like me, and besides, you can’t win them all. More than that, you can’t be someone else that they will like and still be yourself, either.
It doesn’t matter that when asked for advice most people say that to succeed, I should be more like them. Do I really want to trust their tapes? How can I know where those tapes have been?
It just would be nice to feel supported and affirmed when I feel like being me is not enough or is too much in the world.
I am trans like me.
And if that’s too much or not enough for you, well, I just don’t know how to be someone else.