There is a “Trans Open Mic” coming up this next week, a cunning activist plan to try and make people feel heard and empowered so they will sign up to participate in the kind of process towards political change I have done for so long.
What would I say?
I am sick and tired, battered and exhausted with the truth that just to emerge and be visibly trans in the world, I have to take on a political position.
Every time I walk out the door, I am told that my political stance is on display. I am offending Christians and other people of faith, I am expressing my own arrogant privilege in the world, I am one of the abject and oppressed classes, I am not worthy of respect and dignity, I am indulging my own self-deceptions, I am really whatever someone else thinks that I am.
Having all this political garbage heaped onto me when all I want to do is get on with my life and make the choices which reflect the contents of my trans heart is bullshit.
I get why people who fear change beyond their comforting beliefs want to politicize me, creating reasons why I should be shunned, dehumanized and even criminalized.
What I don’t get is why people who face the same challenges of having to carry this heinous political burden every time they want to reveal themselves, why the people who should be my allies, have decided that the only proper response to this politicization of what is real and proper is to create more politicization, judging others and demanding that they be politically correct or suffer the consequences.
Why is the second priority for volunteer leaders at our locally funded trans-pride program to use teaching moments to help transpeople understand a political belief system that venerates shared group oppressions, like sexism, racism ageism and so on?
My life as a transperson is politicized by my enemies and it is politicized by those who claim to be fighting for people like me. When I enter trans spaces, instead of getting affirmation, understanding and warmth instead I get explanations of what I am doing wrong, I am told the right way to be trans in the world and shamed if I do not comply with that group think.
My transgender journey, the emergence of my wild trans heart beyond the social, political and economic pressures to stay tame and compliant in the world had only one goal: to claim the privilege of being more integrated, more actualized, more authentic, more empowered and more honest about who I have always known myself to be.
Nobody emerges as trans to join a political group, rather we emerge to claim our own damn heart in the world.
When anyone politicizes who I am and who I should be without my consent, they break that heart, demanding that I follow along with their vision of how things should be in the world, insisting that their view of reality is more real than mine.
Feeling the pounding of those who demand political compliance is enough for me to want to duck the damn process altogether and just get on with creating a life. Wearing the label transgender only seems to set me up for political attacks from both sides, from those who want to keep queer invisible and from those who want to demand compliance to some kind of identity politics.
I am sick of pounding that comes from people in the world thinking that they have the political right to define what can be real for me, that they have the political power to demand my compliance in their own political beliefs and goals.
For me, opening to the immensely powerful individual stories and challenges of trans people is at the foundation of empowering them to be all they can be in the world. We are not abject, for in our own queerness lies the truths that can free us, moving us beyond the pain and abuse of a life-long political pounding into compliance.
Politics will not save me. Those who demand my political compliance as the price of admission to their own myopic reality, their own fundamentalist belief structure, be it the erasure that comes from imposed political & economic biological determinism or the erasure that comes from imposed identity politics only add to my burden.
It is blossoming that I see required in transpeople, beyond convention and expectation into the freedom to harmonize their choices beyond defence and attack.
I want transpeople to feel the power and beauty of their own heart in the world beyond any political burden others want to harness onto them. I understand why so many transpeople strive to walk away from being identified as trans, striving to just be themselves in the world. We have felt the political sting of those who want to erase us and we have also have felt the political sting of those who claim to be allies working to tell us how we are doing trans wrong, how we are not being politically correct enough. There is so much judgment in the world; why open ourselves up to more?
I am sick and tired, battered and exhausted with the truth that just to emerge and be visibly trans in the world, I have to take on a political position. My trans is about the truth of my heart and my striving to manifest that meaning in the world.
My trans is not a political stance and anyone who wants to force me into believing that it is is someone who wants to diminish and hurt me for their own purposes.
I reject the oppression of denial and the oppression of group think to claim my own possibilities, looking instead to find ways to listen to, honour and cherish other transpeople and their own powerful stories in the world.