Trans pride and self-respect

I maintain self-respect as a trans woman, despite the hatred and mockery of the transphobes, despite the prejudice of society. How? Through self-knowledge and acceptance.

I am coming round to the phrase “I am a woman with a trans history”. You put your transition in the past, and move on to other concerns. You have done the emotional, intellectual and physical work of transition. It need not mean you abandon trans people or deny being trans. We can be proud of accepting this daunting and difficult path, and of the progress we have made on it, wherever on the path we are.

We can’t reach self-respect through creating a hierarchy of trans, this trans is better than that trans because they are further through transition, or transsexual as opposed to cross-dresser, or through attempts to create a war between androphile and gynephile trans. Every way of being human, including those “social conservatives” pick on to hate such as different skin colour or eye shape or sexuality as well as gender, is of value. The conservatives create slurs to denigrate those they hate, and get others to join in. Like in this post– content warning transphobia, obviously.

Self-respect is not “even though I am trans” or “I am trans but”. Being trans is a characteristic like being left-handed or aphantasic. It is something society enthusiastically tries to make me ashamed of, with the phobes making various spurious arguments why we are all dangerous or to be feared, and moralists calling us disgusting. If we are to be feared or admired it is for what we do rather than what we are. They want us ashamed, they want us hiding away, and therefore we need gay pride, trans pride as an antidote to that- I am happy to be trans, because if I were not trans I would vanish in a series of weird space-time paradoces, and cease to exist. The person in my space would not be me. This pride is not the opposite of humility, but of shame.

Like with aphantasia, the well-meaning often can’t quite believe how shit it is to be us. Look at this blurb on an aphantasia programme. What if you could not… it seems inconceivable, but that is the reality for some. It’s not concern-trolling, but the effect is to make people pity others as abnormal and lacking rather than value them (us) as diverse and gifted. It’s all-pervasive. My imagination is just fine, thanks.

Against this pressure it is necessary to say, I am Trans (aphantasic… Scots… ) and that is OK. That is the heart of Pride marches. This is who we are and you will not bully us into hiding it.

In the past I surrendered to that bullying. I conceived of dressing female as a temptation, as a bad, unmanly thing which I wanted because of Sin or something, and gained false self-respect by denying it. I am not really like that. I compartmentalised, imagining a good me shorn of all these bad impulses, and with righteous desires. Or, I hoped I could resist the desire to cross-dress, and make a man of myself. I felt self-respect insofar as I could make a man of myself, and when I could not that false self-respect was torn from me, which was extremely painful.

And in the past I gained self-respect by what I could achieve, which in the end was the most monstrous perfectionism: any achievement was only what was to be expected, any failure even if it was entirely because of circumstances beyond my control was a disaster. I could not cope with the pressure, and that self-respect vanished too.

I was left with myself, the trans woman, whom I despised. Feminine, emotional, every characteristic wrong. Taught to loathe and despise my true self I fled from it, but could not get away, and it makes me think of Francis Thompson’s The Hound of Heaven.

I am myself. Myself I’ll know.

Then self-respect is a matter of seeing what I have been taught to admire, letting it go, and finding ways of admiring what is actually there. This person, with these gifts. There is no self-respect without self-knowledge and self-acceptance. A lot of this is what I am doing here in this blog: teasing out aspects of self which were not valued so which I denied, which I need to see and value for myself.

And as I strip away the false understanding, in order to accept who I am, I need lots of self-forgiveness. This is who I am, this is what I have done, these are the pressures and difficulties I suffered. I would rather be in a less precarious place than I am, but if I curse myself as useless or stupid for ending up here, that only traps me here.

In the lockdown, here is a verse I wrote:

Eight little peanuts
lying in a palm
wondering what would happen
would they come to harm?

Eight happy peanuts
One gets dragged away
where has it gone to?
None of them can say

Seven salty peanuts
are getting their kicks
another is taken
then there are six

six surprised peanuts
begin to get concerned
another is taken
nothing have they learned

Five roasted peanuts
looking all about
one of them is taken
he didn’t even shout

Four little peanuts
arranged in a square
Now it’s a triangle,
the fourth isn’t there.

Three sanguine peanuts
think it can’t be that bad
one is pinched in fingers
two are going mad

Two little peanuts,
lying side by side
One got eaten
The other tried to hide

One lonely peanut
hadn’t long to wait
Thrown up high, and caught in mouth
and then it was ate.

It is about death and the fear or even dread of death, though that is part hidden by playful fantasy. I thought it was for Covid. Perhaps it is not just for covid. “Accepting the fact of death, we are freed to live more fully.”

3 thoughts on “Trans pride and self-respect

  1. One little peanut
    Not He-not, nor She-nut
    I collect today
    On way to mouth, it slipped, went south
    Down my decollete

    Where it fell
    Where bosoms swell
    No one of whence be faulted
    More of gravity than depravity
    Which one of us be assaulted?
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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