The transgender pride flag (Photo via Flickr Commons)
Look at how resilient we are. Look how strong. Look at all we’ve gone through and we’re still here.
Every single trans person I know has been through traumatic experiences. Family rejection, healthcare discrimination, job loss, sexual assault, denial of services, substance abuse, and the list goes on. Being trans is hard.
It’s not “fun” or “trendy.”
It’s not a “new thing.” It’s not the latest fad. It’s repeatedly demanding people treat you like you’re human. It’s constantly explaining yourself. It’s having religion thrown in your face. It’s repeating your truth over and over when your grandmother just won’t use the right pronouns or name. It’s exhausting. Sometimes we hit our limit. And that’s when we get mad.
I’m tired of seeing black trans women murdered. I’m done hearing the stories my transmasculine friends tell me in support group about how they have to pick between medically transitioning or their job. I don’t want to hear another story about a trans friend who can’t stay with their biological family anymore because they make them feel like absolute s**t but they don’t have any other place to go.
Someone called me at work yesterday looking for housing for a “man who identifies as female.” So she’s a female then.
Know that our resilience only goes so far. We are fighting everyday. And at some point you just get tired. Not only is it exhausting to have to face the trauma of being trans in the real world everyday, but then you come to an LGBTQ+ space, and it’s terrible there, too.
I’m tired of white gay cis men leading the fight on transgender issues because trans people aren’t “articulate” enough or “savvy” enough, or the right skin color, or don’t have the education, or they don’t dress appropriately, or they don’t know how fundraising works, or they haven’t been doing this work long enough. It is bulls**t.
Our real world experiences as trans people more than qualify us to lead the fight on trans issues. So step aside and let us lead the way. Let us tell you what we need. We know better than anybody how to help our community.
So if you’re a member of the LGBQ+ community but you aren’t trans, you don’t get a pass to ask a trans person personal and invasive questions just because we fall under the same sexual orientation and gender identity minority umbrella.
And you don’t get to speak for trans people because you have trans friends, or do trans work, or even have a trans partner.
And you don’t get to tell us what we need or how we need to ask for it to get the respect and humanity we deserve.
If you’re trans and reading this, I know you’re tired. I know your resilience only keeps you going for so long. I know you need a break from being you.
Because I feel the same way all the time. It’s okay to get angry, it’s okay to be exhausted, it’s okay to wish you weren’t trans anymore. We didn’t get to choose this life. Yet, here we are, fighting anyway.
Atticus Ranck is the Health Programs and Supportive Services Manager for Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown. He wrote this piece for the Central Voice, where it first appeared.
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