What some people might not know, since TBP has grown over the last while, and always has not merely new readers, but people who have never considered this before, and people who are newly out every day, trying to find answers, and new allies trying to understand, is why trans people get so damned angry.
At the popular blog "Pam's House Blend" and here at Bilerico, it often seems to many as if trans related posts are always all about anger and rage and people saying the nastiest things to each other. In both cases, there are people who will tell you they avoid anything that has trans in it because they do not want to see that anger and vitriol and all the "drama."
So as we move forward, it's important to talk about why trans folk get so angry, and why they do it so often.
To begin with, I'm going to direct you to the recent posts (Parts One and Two) by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss on Transphobia in the LGBT community. This is related to them, in that part of the reason for why trans folk get so angry so often is the way we are treated.
As a rule, I don't use the word homosexual in most of my writing. When I talk about sexual orientation, I am more likely to use the words "gay," lesbian," "bi," or "straight."
I am a straight gal, I say often. Here's a secret: I hate being called straight. I'm very bent. I'm not bothered by the word queer (then again, I'm not bothered by the other F-word, either, because its inaccurate). I'll bet there are many out there reading this site who *are* bothered by the word queer -- and even more who are bothered by the other F-word. The six letter one.
Why don't I do that? There's nothing wrong with the word's homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality. They are accurate terms, very easily understood. Why would I use a word that I dislike for myself in describing people?
Some would say "political correctness" is why I do it. They would be very wrong, and likely, in person, get a very rude response in back consisting of four words, the first starting with F and Y.
I do it because I am aware that the constant use of those terms by our mutual opponents has given them a connotation of negativity. Those words are slowly being turned into the new versions of the F-word. And, as someone once explained to me (in a very angry tone and with a lot of insults carefully scattered throughout), they hurt a lot of people when they get hammered with them over and over again.
In short, it is not political correctness, but simple human courtesy -- and it is my personal experience that whenever someone says they are not going to be politically correct, it is used as an excuse for them to be rude.
We get angry because every single day, in little ways and big ways, in words and in actions, people are rude to us on more levels than you know. I won't say more than you can imagine, because some of you have imagined it, some of you do have an idea of it -- but you will have a hard time knowing it.
On August 8, 2008 3:17 PM I wrote this in response to a post by Monica Helms:
I have a deep and personal knowledge and understanding of anger, and I'd like to elaborate a bit on that as it may be germane in some cases.
I was raised in an environment that flat out denied me the right to express myself as a child in the manner that I chose.
I once told my mother I was a girl. I was not only told no, I am not, but I had anything remotely resembling a *possible* feminine aspect removed from my life, and was placed in many situations after that for the purpose of masculinizing me.
I deeply resented that, and at some point around the age of 6 I ceased to speak to my sole parent for 6 months solid.
Not once did I utter a word or acknowledge their existence.
If you have ever been around a child of that age, consider *just how pissed off* I was at that age to do such a thing. How deeply that event changed the relationship I had with my mother.
That anger festered, and it became rage, and it stayed with me as I grew up doing my filial duties, being the good son, the first and eldest of several generations of my family on whom so much was dependent.
And I resented all of that, too. I resented my body rebelling against me, changing not to what it was supposed to change to, but to something else that was *horrible*.
That anger affected everything in my life. And these days, as Monica describes, that lifelong anger continues, and for the reasons she pointed out above.
Anger is the most difficult of emotions, as it cannot be bargained with, it cannot be reasoned with, it cannot be confronted with more anger. All of these things feed into it.
Anger is typically based in resentment and frustration, and until those root causes are addressed, it will remain.
Imagine waking up every single day of your life, when you've had a great night, well rested, and when you start to move you are reminded and you immediately get pissed off again.
Living a life of anger has taken me places that were very dark. I've had to take every sort of anger management course you can conceive of, every type of personal inventory that lies out there. I've had to learn to be all but enraged and still smile and act as if everything is perfectly fine, while feeling my insides slowly decay from the harm that anger does to one physically.
Anger can be righteous, and it can be unrighteous.
Transfolk don't have a lot of unrighteous anger when it comes to LGBT concerns.
Transfolk cannot simply be cut out from the LGBT community, either, nor can they work against LGBT causes, because *we are* LGBT.
There are gay men, lesbians, straight folk, bisexuals, and all manner of everything else within us.
We have been fighting for our rights and our recognition for thousands of years.
Just like the rest of the LGBT community.
Just like the rest, we can trace the modern concepts to Hirschfield and his peers.
Just like LGBT folks, we can trace the current movement to Stonewall and Compton.
And we can trace the attempts to distance us from anyone else, the efforts to further marginalize us among the already marginalized, the whole time.
I normally hate cannibalizing myself like that, but I'm going to do it because the same things are still true.
When transfolk became angry about something, it's because that something is the same thing we are fighting against. If we are angry at cisLGB folks, its because those cisLGB folks did the same stuff to us that we've had done to us for our entire lives.
And by avoiding our anger, all you achieve is helping to perpetuate it. To keep it around.
Our anger has a reason, and unless you can face that reason, you will never be part of the solution.