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Yes, I know that complaining about bigotry not being overt enough is a fucked up thing. The way things are is surely better than being in receipt of outright abuse. I still want catharsis though.
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I unpacked trans at a friend last night. This fired my brain up which kept me awake and then there was more internal dialogue this morning. In the end, I didn't get to debrief with someone in the way I was sort of counting on and that meant overload and meltdown. I need to manage this process better because falling apart in the car on the side of the road is not my favourite thing.

So. Stuff.

Everything is gendered. Every. Damn. Thing. We interrogate gender from the moment we start to distinguish ourselves as actual people, separate from our parents. As soon as we start to do that though, we get feedback from our parents, our peers, everyone with whom we come into contact and the message is that there are aspects of gender identity which correspond to the gender that you don't belong to and these are never to be touched. I suspect this is especially strong if you're gendered as a boy - anything feminine is considered shameful. So there are some fairly basic aspects of gender identity which we explore at the age of 3-5 years which are denied to us and if we have to re-examine our gender later, this means is that 35-40 years down the track there are some of those aspects of gender which I never got to explore and which I never got to accept, reject or otherwise evaluate. That doesn't exempt me from having to pull that apart and look at it regardless. The same thing happens when you hit puberty and again when you hit early adulthood and start living genuinely independently. There are all sorts of gender aspects which we examine, explore, evaluate, push through a peer review process and otherwise generally integrate to a greater or lesser extent. Some of the behaviours associated with this process are generally viewed as being related to the age at which we usually do this stuff but I strongly suspect that some of it actually relates back to the aspects of gender identity which we're thrashing out at each of those stages. What that does mean though is that the behaviours you exhibit while exploring those aspects of gender are seem as being somewhere between juvenile and infantile. This in turn means that you have to conduct that part of the process entirely inside your own head and try very hard not to internalise the reflexive notions of shame and embarrassment that tend to surface when you engage in childish things that earnestly and seriously.

When you transition gender later in life you have to do that again. All of it. All at the same time. You do it for the most part without a peer group to bounce off. You do it without the cushioning expectation that this is what you're meant to be doing at that age. You effectively have the 5 year old, the 12 year old and the 19 year old all trying to dress your 42 year old self each morning and you have to mediate that process and reconcile the fact that you'll never be the magic sparkly fairy princess rockstar dyke that pops up in your mind as a result of those thought processes. It is of course, not just clothes. You run into every aspect of gendered differentiation (and I can't even begin to list those here) so the frustrations felt at each of those stages come out to play. And again, all of them. All at once. I've mentioned this in the past. You suddenly abandon male privilege, hetero privilege and cisgendered privilege and become aware of how fucked up and inequitable the world is. A little more thought and you start to be more aware of discrimination that doesn't apply to you. You get angry. You get angry like a child who has been told "You can't do that". You get angry like an angsty teenager, complete with hormonal flux. You get angry like someone in their early 20s and start flailing at your peers and shouting "THIS IS IMPORTANT!", which of course it is. But they've all done that 20 years ago and view it as angry young adult stuff, not as identity awakening stuff and regard you bemusedly. "Yes it is. Haven't you already done this?" No, actually. You got angry 20 years ago because this shit happened to you. It didn't happen to me and nobody explained it to me except occasionally in accusatory tones. I didn't get it. Now I do. And all the time you're *aware* of this, trying not to bleat the bleeding obvious, trying not to sound like a teenager, being embarrassed for yourself that you only just get this now, no matter that there are good reasons for that and trying to integrate all of it along with the other rather more specific homophobic and transphobic garbage that most of your peers didn't have to deal with and with every other aspect of gender identity that people fumble through haphazardly and mostly unthinkingly over the course of a decade or two. All whilst UNLEARNING half of what you internalised the first time around.

This is a touch overwhelming at times. Insidiously, it's really easy to wind up struggling with it all nearly as unthinkingly as you did the first time around. And all whilst fighting off the thousand tiny messages you get that say these efforts are futile, invalid, deluded and otherwise wrong. The problem is that most of the tranphobic stuff I receive in this culture isn't bald, overt aggressive bigotry. It's not deliberate. It's the unthinking wrong pronoun, the checkout chick unthinkingly calling you "Sir", the call centre operator flustered out of their scripted processes into awkward pauses and silences, the forms which don't fit you, the processes which assume that gender is immutable and very nearly every time this is thrust in your face, it's an actual person has to enact this stuff even if it's not their own thoughts which produce the awkwardness in the first place. Because they're all tiny incidents, it's just not reasonable to lose your shit. It's a little thing. One tiny straw upon the camel's back. I have found myself playing out persecution scenarios in my mind and I realised today is that what I want is for someone to overtly, unapologetically be a stinking, inexcusable transphobe to my face so that finally I have a legitimate excuse to pin them to a wall by their fucking throat and scream blue shrieking murder at them. I want someone to call on their bullshit, a face to put to it, not the tedious dribbling banal microaggressions that provide nothing on which to gain purchase. I have half a lifetime's worth of development and discrimination to resolve in a handful of years and no release valve.

Suddenly the self-harm and suicide attempt statistics of the trans community make horrible sense. Those times when I just curled into a ball and stopped functioning for an hour or three and wanted to the world to go away with no resolution have more meaning to them. It's about the lack of ability to confront the discrimination that exists because it presents no tangible representative to be challenged and that denies us the avenues of personal (as opposed to collective) defiance. I don't actually really want overt persecution, nobody genuinely wants that. But the separatist radfem dialogues and tranny crossdresser stereotypes and awkward hermaphroditic images and and and remain out there without a face to which I can tear all these misconceptions to pieces and shout "Don't you DARE tell me that you know who and what I am better than I do! Don't you DARE demand that your hastily constructed confection of kneejerk reactions and stereotypes deserve to be given equal weight to my daily, critical interrogated lived experience." This doesn't make me special. I have been watching dialogues around immigration and racial discrimination and in many ways those have driven these thought processes. There is discrimination which I will never face and can only dimly understand. The world is an inequitable and shitty place. What I want in this case isn't the means to fix that. I just want the catharsis of having someone to shout at about it. Without that available to me sometimes it just escapes randomly through the most convenient available emotional outlet. I worry that one day it'll be someone I don't want to scream at who gets it rather than me just messily curling into a ball for a bit. I very nearly did precisely that today.

I thought I was done with this. Silly me.


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April 2017

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