Why the Trans Hate?, Part IV: Trans Readers Weigh In
We asked trans readers to comment on what has proven to be the question of the week (and the question of next week),
and many of them did. Here are some of their responses; we'll have some more next week:
- Anonymous in Oklahoma: Thank you for speaking out about this issue. I am a closeted
transgender woman and a teacher, so I guess that makes me a double pedophile groomer as well as a woke indoctrinator. I
have some people who know who I am, and others who only know me as they met me a decade ago before I had my epiphany
last year, and I know I have their support, yet I still feel so isolated and like I'm in the old New Yorker
cartoon where the shrink says to the patient under their desk: "It's not paranoia when they are out to get you."
For reasons I don't want to get into I am stuck as an ally in my own fight, which makes it harder to explain to people
why this really matters so much, because too many will not be moved until it affects a friend or family
member—assuming you remain a friend or family member. Meanwhile our legislature
our first non-binary state rep (also a Muslim and woman of color) of their committee assignments and censured them on
false charges of harboring a fugitive for giving a safe space to a traumatized transgender protester at the Capitol. I
would love to move to Colorado, but the Holocaust educator in me says Minnesota would be safer with more adjacent
(currently) blue states and a border with Canada, which may strengthen its asylum right for transgender refugees from
the U.S. and U.K. (I hope they add Uganda.) I also don't want to leave my family behind.
M.H. in Seattle and J.T. in Marietta:
Under the circumstances we are facing it's hard not to snap back. Let me try to respond with logic rather than passion:
Would you have had Act Up not say "Silence Equals Death"? Before throwing activists under the bus, please reread "Letter
from a Birmingham Jail" and decide who is to blame for bigotry and backlash. And I want to thank the activists and
transgender public figures who did not convince me or convert me, but released me to recognize who I am in a way I just
couldn't 38 years ago when I had my first awareness in college, but allowed others to convince me the light was an
illusion. I don't regret my marriage and my child in any way, but it's hard not to wonder where I might be mentally and
emotionally today if I had made the decision to be that Punk Rock Girl back in the 80s. (Thanks, Dead Milkmen!)
- S.N. in Santa Clara, CA: I am a trans woman who didn't put the pieces of the puzzle
together until I was 56 years old and came out publicly as trans at age 60. Rather than trying to address the question
of why some people hate trans people, I will address two effects this animosity has on me.
I hope to retire next year and am/was planning to do driving trips across this country to view scenery up close and
enjoy seeing what America offers in cities and towns. Part of the goal is to meet people from all walks of life and
learn from them. The increasing animosity toward trans people is causing me to wonder if I will be safe making such
The second repercussion is my attitude toward Christians. I grew up in the Roman Catholic tradition and studied for the
Roman Catholic priesthood in my 20s. In the ten years after leaving seminary I gradually transitioned into agnosticism,
a change that had nothing to do with me being trans. I know that a great deal of the animosity/hatred/rejection of trans
people (and LGBTQ people in general) comes from Christians and is based on bits and pieces they selectively pull from
the Bible and interpret to fit their worldview. Even though I work at a Roman Catholic institution where I have been
accepted for who I am, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to remember that there are many good people who are
Christians and that not all Christians are hateful.
- F.A. in Klamath Falls, OR: "What [inherently] causes trans hate?" Is a really big
question. A more answerable question is, "What caused the huge wave of trans hate we are experiencing right now?" That
is being intentionally sown by right wing political operations/operatives like Christopher Rufo, the Alliance Defending
Freedom and many others. One can intentionally create a moral panic about all kinds of minor differences of opinion with
enough money and organizing power (see: Critical Race Theory).
Even ideas like "trans activists are too extreme" and supposed examples like calling mothers "birthing people" aren't
from The Official Trans Activist PR Department (which obviously does not exist)—-they are individual (possibly
unsuccessful) efforts to develop inclusive language that were wildly taken out of context by the right-wing spin
machine. This is not the natural consequence of transgender people asking for rights.
Even if we had asked for that—a feminist slogan I grew up with was "feminism is the radical idea that women are
people." But in the year of our Lord 2023, some trans-exclusionary feminists are pretty mad about being referred to as
people. This one continues to puzzle me.
Trans people don't deserve to be fired, denied health care, have our children taken away by the state, or killed even if
we are annoying. And these are the current stakes of the fight: Things are revving up in a very bad direction. I go to
bed scared every night.
- A.B. in Wendell, NC: As many regular readers know, I am an old-school, older generation
trans woman. I have been out for the better part of 30 years at this point...over 20 of them post-operative.
I frankly don't care WHY some people hate trans people like me. As far as I am concerned, there is not one single
rational reason for the hate directed at us, nor the persecution and discrimination and indignity we endure every
day—all while we are expected to smile at it (if we ever get angry about it, the subject suddenly becomes our reaction
rather than what caused it)
I am far more interested in what our allies plan TO DO ABOUT IT. I have said before and I will say again: If I had a
nickel for every person who CLAIMED to be an ally, I'd be a millionaire... and if I had a nickel for every person who
ACTED LIKE AN ALLY I could not buy a cup of coffee!
Let me tell your readers of my worst nightmare. It is borne out by the rousing applause Michael Knowles received at
CPAC after suggesting that trans people should be eradicated. My greatest fear is that one day, after they have
demonized us trans people enough, they will become bold enough to come for us.
Do I think this is LIKELY? Not necessarily. But I DO think it is very possible. And I have to ask all those
self-styled "allies" out there: Where will you be on that day? Where will you be when they come for me? Will you
stand in their way, knowing that to do so will be to risk sharing my fate? Or will you turn a blind eye and a deaf
ear, as so many have done for decades?
THIS is the very real fear we must live with every day. So I would re-direct the question, if I may be so bold, and
ask our allies: "What do you plan to do to combat the rising tide of trans-hate that, after 30 years, we finally
acknowledge is real?"
P.S. If the day of my worst nightmare becomes a reality and, as I fear, my "allies" fail to protect me, just call me
Giles Corey. And for those who do not get the reference, I recommend a reading of Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
The parallels between then and now are frightening.
- S.B. in Winslow, ME: "That ain't right." Regarding the hatred and discomfort of
transgender people, that's the core feeling. It's exacerbated by open and affirming churches, live and let live people,
liberal seminaries and universities, and the media communicating that all people are equal in the eyes of God and our
constitution. Or to expand on my colloquial opening, "I don't care what anyone tells me—that ain't right."
As some have pointed out, gender is a core identity. It's so deeply woven into our personal identity and cultural
history that it's nearly impossible for someone who isn't trans to begin to understand what it's like to be transgender.
Ergo, the "problem" is in a trans person's head and that's what needs to be fixed, not modifying society's beliefs and
structure to accommodate a small minority of people.
I'm optimistic for the long haul. I believe most of society will eventually find a way to be accepting of trans people.
The younger generation already is and they'll be the ones who eventually pass along those values in homes, schools,
courtrooms, social media, and cafes. Until then, then we who are transgender and our allies and loved ones will
continue to move forward, battling the stereotypes and fears, diligently pursuing a day when we hear most people say,
"You're trans? That's awesome!"
Thanks for the benefit of your perspective, all. Again, more on the subject next week. Same bat time, same bat
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