Hate and fear

I don’t hate anyone.

(We’ll come back to that.)

I have been accused of hating. There is a blog purporting to be the diary of a person who transitioned male to female some time ago, and is now transitioning back. It is probably a TERF fantasy. It does not have any of the detail you would expect from a record of real life, but seems imagined, and it links to TERF blogs. I commented, and was referred to as  “full of hate”. I won’t link to it, it is too silly, but I notice I get a slow stream of views from there, and I got a huge number of views from a silly “Christian” homophobic site where I engaged briefly. Disagreement can be enticing.

I don’t hate trans women who revert. There are lots of reasons for reverting- social pressures, being read and insulted, demands from children- and, given that there are losses as well as the gain of Authenticity from transition, it is a choice some people make. Some, like Sam Hashimi, blame everyone but themselves for their transition, but they are people under pressure, and their letting their anger out is understandable, more to be pitied than hated.

I don’t even hate TERFs. They’re the haters! They seek to exclude us from changing rooms and loos, they seek to erase us, they try to infect all women with their paranoid, delusional hatred of us, they want us dead, they lie that we are oppressors while they oppress us-

-breathe-

My colleague Ann had a phobic reaction to me. She found the thought of me expressing myself female repellent. She made great efforts to retain a professional working relationship with me, but eventually we had to stay as far apart as possible. TERF accounts of us reek of such phobia, rationalised and celebrated rather than set-aside, as Ann’s was.

So, start again. I don’t even hate TERFs. I think they are wrong about trans women, wrong about privilege and have picked on the wrong enemy, particularly when they support “Christian” “Pro-Marriage” groups in attacking trans children, but I don’t-

What can I do with that initial emotional reaction? I can deny it and suppress it; or I can acknowledge it, and persuade it. There is my Fight-or-flight, eyes wide, breathing heavily, and another part of me (some call them angels) is talking calmly and reasonably to her. The anger is there– TERF propaganda is horrible- but I can persuade myself, and feel other feelings.

In face to face argument at university, Sylvia bested Iain by winding him up with tendentious rubbish and then saying, calmly, softly, sweetly,

there’s no need to shout.

Iain was flummoxed. On line- there is discussion in the comments here, where Matt and atoughpilltoswallow both accuse each other of Hate.

Like a lot of people, I can type with my blood up, expressing my anger and fear, or I can calm down, and say much the same things, more articulately. And- I can write polemic- This is why they are the Bad People– or irenic, seeking common ground and greater understanding.

However articulate polemic is, there is anger and fear underlying it. Love and peace must seek understanding.

4 thoughts on “Hate and fear

  1. Sorry, darling, but love and peace… must they seek understanding? Always?

    What about hate groups that are happy with their own hate? They may never understand, and in the meantime we would turn and try cartwheels to make them see, and it doesn’t work.

    We move towards peace and love by moving towards them. Immutable constants, P & L don’t change, and in that sense, you are always perfectly safe and understood. If others choose not to see, that is no reason to deny ourselves the truth.

    Have a blessed day. XXXX

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  2. I think people who devote so much energy to hate and fear are deeply disturbed. Perhaps destructive narcissists having to be right? Your life is yours to live and I salute you for having the courage to transition even though it has been challenging. As far as TERFs are concerned (I wasn’t familiar with the acronym)? The little bit I read on the link you provided reminded me of neo-nazism. I can’t imagine giving that much energy or even a little energy to hating an entire group of people. I mean, it’s so abstract and kindof scary.

    I agree with Ann, dear Clare. You are understood and safe. I’m reminded of a quote I heard years ago and don’t even remember to whom it was attributed. I try to live it every day in my own life. “What you think of me is none of my business.” That way I don’t spend any (or as much) energy worrying about whether they like me (or hate me) or not.

    Just some thoughts.

    Cathy

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    • I have gone through a lot in transitioning. At one point, all the acceptance of friends and Quakers and work colleagues and that I read about, generally, in the wider world meant nothing to me if someone said “Hello mate” in the street: I would be upset. I needed everyone to see me as female, so any passing yob could make me miserable. At that time, reading “Trans-exclusionary radical feminists” would have deeply upset me.

      Acronym: they tend to refer to themselves as radical feminists. Their allegiance is to those born with vaginas (I don’t think they have any particular position on intersex)- the root, radix, of Feminism. However, on certain blogs I see obsession with trans women, which I would say for a feminist should be a side issue- equal pay, third world education for girls, domestic violence should be far more important than whether someone AMAB (Assigned male at birth) is a “woman” or not.

      So we have come up with the acronym TERF- Trans-exclusionary radical feminists to distinguish those who seem phobic about us from radical feminists who worry about other issues.

      The link I gave is a trans woman’s link: for their point of view, see You think I just don’t understand, but I don’t believe you. I still think you will find it obsessive: a guest post of 22 October argues that you are not a feminist unless you agree with them that trans women are men. That makes excluding trans women the defining issue of feminism. I think equal pay is more important.

      The main point of my reading conservative Evangelical blogs saying that trans women are really men, and TERFs saying that trans women are really men, oppressors of women, rapists, perverts, wicked and disgusting people, is to inoculate myself against them. I do now feel, more or less, that I have a right to exist and to express myself as I wish to. Someone’s violent reaction to me matters to me insofaras it raises echoes in me, and these things don’t, mostly, now.

      What I want is to understand with my head where they are coming from, without my own emotional reaction getting in the way. I tend to feel that this enables me better to relate to people. I also want to consider an expression of anger- here, the “manosphere” against women, or what they see as a woman-oriented society- for what I can learn from it. I find anger difficult, as I was socialised not to express it, but found it got out anyway, and my generalised anger attached to inappropriate targets. So this anger expressed at the World, rather than at a manageable target, intrigues me. I think it is an inappropriate response to anger, but any response to anger helps me learn about my own.

      And there is also us throwing out allegations of hate against each other. In Michelle’s comment thread, I make one of my own. I begin to think that even if it is true, the allegation is not constructive.

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