Here is an argument as put by an ally, in a way I could not put it:
I am cisgender, identifying with the gender I was assigned at birth, and will therefore not pretend to understand what it is like to be otherwise. But given the difficulty and expense of changing pronouns, name, wardrobe or sex organs, I find it hard to believe that anyone would do so out of some goal of attention or manipulation, or anything other than genuine and extreme discomfort with their previous life… All that is being asked of people comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth is their acceptance and respect.
“Cisgender”, “identifying”, “assigned”- this is a person who has read about us or talked to us, and uses our language. “Cisgender” is a word she feels the need to explain, unless the magazine put that bit in. This is the only language which does not call trans women men, but some object to it. She has done some research, and shows empathy.
Pronouns, name, wardrobe or sex organs– I like that list, giving an indication of the magnitude of the change. Changing my wardrobe to a new look is indeed a big deal. Social changing is huge.
Genuine and extreme discomfort is the point. I felt it, and before then was desensitised by its magnitude. I still feel it, am still recovering. That’s the argument I can’t make, because when it is not a killer argument for someone that’s a punch in the throat for me. “You were upset? Tough. Shit happens.” Lots of people have a really hard time, and I do not want to dismiss anyone else’s struggles, because when someone dismisses mine it makes me worthless, weak and ridiculous, again, and I despair.
She said it. I am grateful. I feel cared for. I wish I did not need that, which is a shame, because it is part of the human condition.
Acceptance and respect. Not special treatment in any way; if we are criminals I want no special treatment, but I want your horror directed at the criminal themself, not at all of us. I want called by the name I choose and not to have particular fears around going to the toilet. It is not much to ask.