one evening’s observations… (or: filed under “a note in passing”)
the truth is, you’re gonna piss people off… let’s just get that out there, shall we? say it first, say it loudest… say it and be done with it… it… will… happen… you can’t change it, you can’t force it to stop, you can’t do a damn thing about it… BUT, when the chips are down and you don’t know what to do or what to think or what to say, FFS ask!!! Seriously! don’t be afraid because someone might or does get offended, let ’em… it’s their fault, not yours, not if you ask openly, honestly, and decently… not if you’re open-minded, understanding, and willing to express your views while affording others the exact same and equal right… give and take, that’s what good discourse is all about… and honestly, if you’re not pissing someone off now and then, you’re doing it wrong… my advice… HAVE… AN… OPINION and stick to your guns when you’re convinced of what you believe in… don’t cave because some one little person gets their feelings crushed… newsflash: people don’t learn to move or get on board until they’ve had their toes crunched a few times… in the long run, you’ll gain an education… they’ll either get over feeling butt hurt or go on sulking like tired old generals that have lost their commands… speak up people, it won’t hurt…
(next, pilfering one of my posts this eve from Facebook Transgender Alliance)…
so, as brought about in another thread by one of our many cis- allies, I’ve been pondering the following:
as a community, we value our right to stand freely and proudly with no inherent or implied right to explain why we do so, a liberty we all deserve… but if, in so doing, we go so far as to say that it’s not our job to be educators and representatives of this community, how do we in any way consider ourselves possessed of the ability to criticize those outside of our community for knowing nothing about our community? basically: if we don’t teach them, who will? who are we brave enough to trust (that isn’t us) to teach others (who are also not us) about the values, principles, goals, dreams, hopes and loves that define this community (that IS us)? is this to say that we’re relying on the innocence and curiosity of those that know nothing about us to educate themselves, teach themselves, and form their own flawlessly informed ideas about us? I’m sorry, I just don’t understand this notion, and maybe I’m a minority here, but I think it’s an implicit duty that we extend a hand of knowledge to those that wish it while standing our ground against those want nothing to do with us… no, we don’t have to justify ourselves as individuals, I’m sure as hell not going to! BUT, I believe, as a community and as a body with tremendous social weight and power, that it should be not only a duty but an essential member of the platform from which we tirelessly lobby for the table scraps of a society that has for decades sought to ignore us (and for which we immediately, like Pavlov’s dogs, admit that we’re grateful!)… I, not unlike any other here, am deeply thankful for the safety and recognition that we have thus far gained… but, how can we expect more if we don’t take an active role in educating those who believe they owe us nothing?
(and, my thoughts upon a question posed by above mentioned cis- ally… and notes for the general good of anyone else new to, curious about, or frustrated by the transgender community…)
“as a cis gendered person, i can only imagine how hard life can be as a transgendered person. i am a lesbian but in no way equate my struggles to those of transppl b/c it is a whole different ballgame. for the longest i was ignorant to trans issues. not purposefully so, but i literally had never met a trans person until a few years ago! it was something i really didnt understand at first but i hve really made an effort to change that over the years. i ask questions, seek answers, etc. i am also in a relationship with a transman who has always been kind and patient with answering my questions and helping me to understand not only the physial, but the mental
what i want to say is this: in this group and a few others, my questions are oftentimes met w/ hostile, overly defensive responses. and i’ve noticed those same kinds of responses directed towards others as well. it is disheartening to someone like me, b/c it discourages me from seeking answers and asking questions. as i said…i can only imagine how hard life is and how many of you have had to struggle and been forced to be overly defensive b/c of what u’ve experienced in life. but please realize…not all of us are out to attack! not all of us have ill intent. just b/c a question is asked doesnt meant it is offensive. it means the person is ignorant but thinks enough of you as a person to ask. after all..there is nothing wrong w/ ignorance. it simply means “i do not know”. everyone starts off being ignorant until they are educated. and it is impossible to demand acceptance and understanding w/in the queer community when ppl are ignorant to what the queer community is. if ppl like me did not care to ask if would mean we do not care about you as people!
anyway thanks for reading my essay i just really wanted to encourage some of you members of the queer community to open up (when you feel safe, of course) and keep in mind that not everything is out of ill intent”
(thoughts I offered to [unnamed poster], hopefully fruitful, in response):
“first of all, thank you for being open and honest about your thoughts… that alone says more about you than many other things might! I applaud your willingness and courage to reach out and ask what others might believe are tough questions while looking for widely elusive answers… next, I’d like to say- only for myself, and no one else- that your sexuality is YOUR sexuality… do your thing hun! that you consider yourself a lesbian or that your SO is a transman is for the business of you two and you two only… who cares what it looks like to anyone else! be you, girl… that’s all that matters!!
“now… all of that said… let me say this… it is indeed admirable that you come to a forum like this with questions, especially as a cis-female… however, this is a place of give-and-take… you can’t present yourself, innocent and curious, and expect that all parties here (or elsewhere for that matter) will be automatically obliging and forever cordial when the questions get tough… you’re correct that we’ve all faced a struggle, and no doubt as a lesbian, you have as well… no one in any venue of this place seeks to discount or belittle anyone else for their own unique experiences… but you do you have to allow a bit of leeway for delicate issues that stir delicate nerves and tempers… that struggle that we’ve faced has shaped us and scarred us, jaded us and guided us and is evident in everything we do and say right here, right now… you’re not going to please all of us all of the time, no matter how simple the question… we are all subjectively experienced, deeply emotional people with a huge array of views and beliefs and tolerances for what we deem okay and not-so-okay… please, by all means, keep asking questions… but, just be patient and understanding when feathers get a little ruffled because, truth is, it isn’t your fault, even if you ask the same question that’s been asked a thousand times already… you’re not to blame for the emotional reaction toward to an honest and genuinely presented inquiry… this won’t always be the case, but just take those occasions with a grain of salt… people will always get offended, it happens, they’ll get over, you shouldn’t have to… carry on, dear, carry on! Namaste!”
I don’t really have any specific message in mind with this, really just that I wanted to share these ideas with anyone else who might find help or purpose in them… I empathize deeply with a need for knowledge and understanding, the thirst of curiosity and the nearly undying quest for ever wider perspectives… it seems only fair, then, that I somehow try to save as much as can- thoughts, ideas, wisdom- and pass them along in the hope that someone later might benefit from them as I have…
If you choose, please comment or contribute as you like… be mindful, be respectful… always!
~ Racquelle ~