Sunday, 5 March 2017

Are you real? No, really?

Another weekend, another debate about the validity or 'realness' of trans people across the mainstream press (led by the Sunday Times rather than the Mail this time, but even the BBC get in on the act with alarming regularity - it matters not).

My trans friends will get it, as they too are taking another blow to their self-worth, but I wonder if my non-trans friends really understand the impact seemingly innocuous debates like this have?  To use myself as an example; I'm doing okay in life now I think, with a wonderful loving family (on both sides), a wife I love with all my heart and a great and exciting life we continue to build together. I have a stable job that I love plus I get to fly helicopters (which is cool!) while helping protect our communities alongside the Police Forces I work for.  I'm proud of all I am and think myself resilient to nonsense and very public debates such as, "Am I a real woman?"

But it's like Chinese water-torture as it feels like every week we're subject to it.  Are trans kids real, or all made up?  Are trans women real, or just made up? The arguments can be torn apart in moments, but crop up again all the same. Always with the angle... are trans people real? Naturally I, like all trans people, translate this personally - am I real?  Don't forget, we've often spent a lifetime battling that very question before having the courage to come out in a society that is going to question us. Constantly.

I feel real. The things I do, how I think, how I live, how I love... all feels real.  I don't spend my time wondering how I'm going to fool the world into believing my little act, I just am.  For the first time in fact.  Prior to coming out as trans, every day really did feel like an act, but now, not at all.  I feel honest and real for the first time.  I have freed up all that angst and conflict and am able to put it to far better use. To living.

Yet, I've spent this afternoon in tears.  My sense of self-worth torn apart again by a nonsense and dehumanising 'debate' around whether I am real or not.  The natural extension of which is that I don't deserve to feel right about myself.

Think about that. I don't deserve to feel right about myself.

This is not an innocuous debate.  All trans people and those in their lives are deeply affected by these debates. And for what purpose?

My main concern, is if I feel like this (as I know all trans people and their loved ones do in these moments), with all the resilience and foundation I feel I have, what the hell chance does someone already finding life harder than I do have?

Please, if you are a friend of mine or of any trans person, or friends with anyone with a trans family member, or if you simply want to care, take a moment to consider the effect of these debates and these public conversations. Just consider it. Then consider how you'll react the next time a casual debate like this happens in front of you.

I'm just me. And I'm trying my best.

No comments:

Post a Comment