I have joined numerous trans* groups on facebook where we often discuss gender, sexuality and similar topics. This particular post caught my attention:
“So I’d like to bring up something I feel is extremely important and a problem in our community.
We demand tolerance and acceptance from the cis world, and yet most of us RARELY tolerate and accept cis people as people who have legitimate reason for initially being a bit ignorant to trans and gender issues and variants. Just because some stranger misgenders you or someone you know personally is scared and uncomfortable about your issues does not give us the right to be angry, impatient, and rude to them. We have an opportunity to educate the majority of this world, because that’s what they are, the majority, about something very important that could actually do them a lot of good as well even if they still identify as cis. By coming at them with anger, impatience, and rudeness we are ruining any opportunity for us to properly communicate these issues to them, educate them, and in effect, ruining opportunities for ourselves to be treated with more respect. The way you treat people plays a MUCH bigger role in how open they are to changing their views than just facts. A lot of us have been treated poorly in our lives and have grown up with insecurities and defences as a result. We need to be aware of this and NOT act out of these insecurities and defences. We need to show love and humility to those who don’t understand. If someone is abusing us, and acting transphobically and hurtfully, that is different, but just someone who is ignorant and doesn’t understand? Give them a break.”
Clearly this person and I have opposite opinions, so I decided to give them an equally long post refuting what they said.
“I know most of the people around me don’t even know what the word transgender means. I do expect tolerance and acceptance for who I am, as I do tolerate and accept cis people for being cis. But their ignorance isn’t justified.
First of all, I’d like to know which reasons people have to be ignorant to trans and gender issues and variants. They are being rude to us when they misgender us, even if they don’t know it or mean it. Just because they are “uncomfortable about my issues”, it doesn’t mean they then have an excuse for making me sink into a hell of dysphoria with their pronouns. Sure we should try and be polite, and it might look like one stranger has just misgendered us once (for whichever reason), but when EVERY stranger misgenders you, all the time, wherever, whenever, then that’s when I get angry. Most of us don’t go at them with anger; we start out kindly, but things start to weigh on our backs after some time.
We are not walking dictionaries of trans* issues. We don’t have to answer people’s questions, especially if they are impertinent ones, if we don’t want to. It’s great if one of us decides to inform our family and friends and such, but we are never obliged to. As you said, we have an opportunity to educate the majority of this world, but not an obligation. Nobody can get angry at me if I don’t want to talk to them about how somebody gets a sex change or what the word ‘allosexual’ means.
Nobody answered my questions for me. I went and looked for the answers myself. Others should not expect me to do so for them. Their ignorance should not be rewarded with our patience.
Plus, what do you mean by “give them a break”? They don’t need a break; it’s me who is being kicked out of bathrooms, insulted as I walk down the hallways, laughed at behind my back, forced to wear dresses and skirts by my very own mother, misgendered by those who I have kindly asked they use different pronouns… I wish I could have a break.”