I am writing this post because last night, someone on my Facebook that calls themself an “LGBT ally” posted which was incredibly disparaging of a trans woman and not only said there’s nothing brave about coming out as trans but also implied she is just a man in a dress.
Here’s the truth: all trans women are women, all trans men are men. Some people in the trans community are neither men nor women, some are both men and women. All of these identities (and others which I don’t feel I know enough about to post any comment) are real identities. These are real people and they are all so, so brave!
Some people are so afraid to come out, they are trapped by depression and anxiety. These people may never come out as trans. They’ve seen what happens to others. These trans people are still brave. They are brave when people say negative things about trans people and they hold back tears. They are brave when LGB”T” allies don’t seem to realise what the T stands for and they gently remind them without starting a fight. They are brave.
Some trans people come out and are so lost and frightened, so trapped by depression and anxiety which is fed by a lack of support from the people they love most, the people they thought loved them, too. Some of these people battle through the storm. These people are so very brave. Some of these people can’t go on, they die from depression. They’re brave too.
Some “allies” say they support post-op trans people, because they’re now “real” men and women. That is not support. What if a trans person doesn’t experience body dysmorphia? They should be forced to undergo surgery that will make them unhappy before you accept them? That is not support, and you are part of the problem.
Here’s a fact: You have no way of knowing how many trans people you know in real life or online. There is no way to tell by looking at a person if they are trans. It’s not ok to ask a person you think might be trans if they are. When you post cruel and insensitive things about trans people online, or say them in person, even if you’re “joking”, you are part of the problem. You are contributing to the depression and anxiety of trans people. Some of these people may be your friends, you may not know they are trans. There is a good chance you know at least one trans person. If you call yourself an ally, and trans people think they can feel safe around you, you probably know more.
Please think before you tell these people their struggles aren’t real. There is more than one kind of bravery.
Signed with love and hope,
The Pretty Kitty.