Sharing our stories

Should we share personal stories of transphobia? The time I was called a “fucking nonce”, the time I was assaulted. Yes, if there is a good reason to.

The story becomes mine, to do with as I wish, when I have processed the emotion arising from it. That man tried to push me in front of a car. I was distressed after, but talking of it now does not bring up that distress. The world has risks, and chaotic individuals, but fortunately the risk of coming across such a person is low.

Processing emotion is a bad reason to tell these stories in public. I have told my stories privately, using people as confidantes, as my distress returns and eventually it subsides. But I don’t want to use them to gain sympathy. She has heard people’s stories, and she is angry. She wants to tell their stories to make other people angry on our behalf in the same way. I don’t feel that emotion is useful. It paints us as victims. Sometimes, journalists want us to tell those stories as entertainment, to paint a picture of the world and what kind of people we are, rather than to produce useful change for us.

And, as a professional I wanted to see what good I could do. People would be surprised when my care and sympathy turned into a curt dismissal; it was because I felt they had no chance.

It might be better to share public transphobia. Linda Bellos, otherwise an admirable person, does not like trans people, saying of us, If anyone of those bastards comes near me, I will take my glasses off and thump them. Yes I will take my glasses off… But I do, I am quite prepared to threaten violence, because it seems to me that what they are seeking to do is piss on all women. I don’t, actually. That shows there is a general problem of prejudice, which everyone who wants diversity and inclusivity should oppose. It illustrates a systemic problem rather than individual victimhood.

I do not want to come over as a victim. Society has a problem of transphobia. It is pervasive: The Times reports that Lily Madigan has applied for the Jo Cox Leadership scheme, calling her Lily Madigan, who was born male but identifies as female. This is not a story: woman applies to women’s scheme. It might be a story if she got in, so we could celebrate her, but this is only of interest to those who want to tut or fume at “men pretending to be women”. Linda Bellos should know better than to get in bed with Rupert Murdoch. Let us gather to resist this transphobia.

We are people with rights. What can you do so that we vindicate our rights?

But she has heard the personal stories, and she is angry. She is fired up on our behalf, and cannot believe than anyone hearing those victim stories would not feel the same way.

All comments welcome.

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