I had a good working relationship with Ann until my transition, which she found revolting. Before, we would discuss clients we had in common, discuss common problems, and support each other in the stresses of the office. We had a good, friendly working relationship. After, she was revolted by my expressing female. “Eugh”, she said. She was almost apologetic about it, it was just the way she felt, and we kept apart as much as possible. I still liked and respected her, and could even accept her revulsion- it was just one of those things.

What did she think of you, before?

It is strange thinking of my levels of comfort answering that. Er, alright I suppose, he does his best, bit irritating sometimes… claiming “she liked and respected me” felt deeply uncomfortable. Thinking about it, it might be true. I was alright. How would I know? Well, we got on, and she was a good worker without infinite, saintly forebearance. It was a good friendly working relationship, though we would have little in common now.

Someone referred to my “humility”.

I do not want humility as a virtue. That reminds me of Jesus’ line, “They have received their reward in full”. I do not want to show humility which can then be noted by others, chalked up on my credit side, be part of the evidence that I am a good person- because then it would always have a tincture of hypocrisy or self-delusion. I do not want it for itself but for what it might achieve, perhaps making me better able to see reality and make predictions. If Ann regarded me, before transition, better than I did myself that is at best a mixed blessing. Humility has value insofar as it helps me know the truth, and no further. There are advantages in arrogance in some circumstances. Humility made it easier for me to accept Ann’s response and try to achieve a better working relationship, which efforts benefited us both. Humility making it difficult for me to articulate that she found good points in our relationship before my transition has no good effect. It is painful for me, and inhibits my clearly seeing what is. It may inhibit my actions.

What do they think of you?

I don’t know. I just don’t know. Or, a complex web of shifting impressions, one of which may have assumed great importance to another even though I don’t remember it. Or, I have an idea, which must always be open to reevaluation, for the pattern is new in every moment. Some good things. Some not so good, and I might not really understand either.

The “humble” Uriah Heep in David Copperfield is not repulsive because of humility. He knows his station, and he remarks on it, but he resents it, and his resentment is his excuse for whatever dishonourable clandestine manoeuvrings he uses. When he alludes to his humbleness and humble station and need to show proper humbleness and gratitude, he is a hypocrite, not feeling that gratitude. If he could see beauty as well as cruelty in the world he might use better means. He is humble about his station, but arrogant about his desert.


2 thoughts on “Humility

  1. Clare I am not sure humility should be confused with having a lack of fortitude in defending our stances. Being humble is more about thinking of others first and deferring to their needs while still being able to keep our heads high. I cannot comprehend the viewpoint of revulsion coming from an understanding person. If one has the concept explained to them why would they feel repulsed? I could see more a stance of being baffled but in the end leave the person to their decision and respect it. I don’t know this person Clare but I their viewpoint is not one I would associate with a kind person.


    • I don’t know. It was as if my being trans and her being repulsed were objects, things separate to the both of us, and we both looked at them, wondering what to do with them. She was apologetic. So often people like that are self-righteous- “I am repelled because you are repulsive”- but she was not at all.

      It helped that in the work context, it was accepted that I had a right to transition, and to treat me less favourably because of that would have been destructive, as well as unlawful. I was not apologetic for transitioning. I was not going to revert for her.


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