The ugly truth of my past thoughts and actions is that for the first half of my life, I was ignorant, uninformed, sexist and dangerous to trans identified persons.
- I would laugh at or remain silent when trans persons were mocked on TV, film or in conversations among people I knew.
- I got my
informationprejudices from hearsay, movies & TV. The view I held was that trans ID’d persons were to be feared like those portrayed as disturbed murderers in crime dramas or as the butt of jokes.
- From grade school to high school, I would laugh at gossip and whisper campaigns of cruelty and insinuation involving the mention of being trans as a joke.
- I didn’t know one trans ID’d person and made no effort to meet any.
- I believed that trans women were not to be trusted and that they were as likely as not, to be deceptive and manipulative in presenting to men as women without revealing their genitals until after the men had committed sexual or emotional desires.
- I did not consider the impact of my actions / inaction / complicity / agreement in these prejudices, at all, in any way. I have no idea how my prejudices impacted anyone directly or indirectly. I never struck or verbally assaulted any trans ID’d person, but my participation in the majority discrimination and devaluation of trans ID’d persons was part of the culture of cruelty that takes and crushes human lives. People died. I didn’t help to save them. I let them die. I silently and anonymously helped attack and isolate them.
I’m ashamed that I thought and acted like this. There is no apology I can make that will undo the harm of lack of care that I took part in creating and sustaining. I cannot undo what has been done, nor will I ignore it. Like every other action and inaction in my life, my role in harming trans ID’d persons - is part of who I am now and any legacy I leave.
Some 20 years ago, I dared to admit that I was wrong in my trans ID discrimination and complicity. Wrong thinking and wrong deeds. I didn’t like how that felt, and I wasn’t supposed to. I had been cruel and there was either honesty or dishonesty to choose from in dealing with what I had done, and who I had been.
- Immediately apparent was that I didn’t know shit about trans ID’d persons. So, I shut the hell up with my bullshit ass opinions.
- I read.
- I listened.
- I asked myself, who is this person in front of me? Who do they say they are? And whatever that answer was, that’s who they were to me.
- I questioned my beliefs and where I got them.
- I figured that there is no undoing my past actions. There is only the choice of what I do in the present. The
bestonly thing I can do in regards to who I was, is to not deny it, not forget it and not repeat it.
I’m writing this today, in the shadow of the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Trans Awareness Week, to extend an invitation to anyone else harboring similar views and/or participating in their own acts of complicity in targeting trans ID’d persons negatively:
It’s never too late to stop being cruel. Please do. Now, and for the rest of your life.
We are talking about human lives. Children, friends, parents, neighbours, breathing, living beings, as full of love as you or I. Each and every person being a unique expression of life that exists no where else in this entire universe.
There is no good attained in the toll of human lives that results from cruelty, malice, violence and ignorance heaped onto a person because they ID as trans. The real cost is measured in blood, sorrow, hate and fear.
We are either part of the problem or part of the solution.
This complicity in oppression and cruelty is an easy thing to sustain. One of the easiest ways to maintain it is to ignore it, dismiss it, do nothing. It’s an every day thing. We don’t interrupt prejudice by thinking about it once and then never again. Every day, we listen instead of speaking. When we pretend that we know everything or that this issue doesn’t exist, we are helping the next life to be crushed, lost or taken.
This cruelty and violence doesn’t go away on its own. It takes all of us listening to each other not as who we think they are, but as who they say that they are.
That’s it. Thank you.