Asher Bauer has something to say. Asher self-identifies as an “angry transsexual.” He’s of a mind to say something about not making the cis folks comfortable. Here is, in part, what he says:
Early on we found out that we could not rely on family and friends. Then we learned that we could not reliably use a public bathroom without suffering harassment or worse. Even the most basic parts of us– the names, nouns, pronouns and genders which we know to be appropriate for ourselves– were up for debate by others. Others in academia. Others on TV. Others in our schools, in our workplaces, in our homes.
The clothing we wear was declared inappropriate for us. The ways in which we talk and move were closely monitored and decried as unacceptable.
Then perhaps we learned that we could not rely on the police to help us when we were assaulted, kidnapped, raped, robbed. We learned that the media, when we turned to them, would report our stories only with puerile sensationalism and snide cruelty. We learned that jobs would be even harder to come by, that housing, likewise, would be very difficult to find. If we made it through college, we often found the wrong names on our diplomas.
Some of us were stopped by the police for “walking while trans,” profiled as being sex workers. Some of us were sex workers just to survive. Some of us were arrested for these or other reasons, and then we ended up in gender-inappropriate prisons.
Some of us got sick and found out that we can’t rely on healthcare. Some of us got bullied in school and found out that the ACLU doesn’t give a shit. We all learned that the cis LGB community wants nothing to do with us. The T is for tokenism. The T is a mockery.
We were told again and again that we were not “born” transgender. The term “gender identity” was co-opted by the condescending to mean “gender delusion” (“well that’s OK, you can identify however you want,” they cooed, humoring us). We were constantly harassed about our bodies. Cis people, even those who claim to be understanding, unrelentingly sought to define us by our biology.
When legislation finally came along that supposedly served our interests, it came with barbs embedded in it.
The HRC does not represent us. The ACLU does not represent us. GLAAD does not represent us.
Congress does not represent us.
In the face of all this, we are expected to meet violence with pacifistic martyrdom, intolerance with tolerance, ignorance with enlightenment. We are told we must be grateful for what progress is made, that it gets better, and that we should be thankful to anyone whose intentions towards us are not murderous. We must not lose our tempers, we cannot afford to lose our tempers, we will hurt our all-too fragile cause if we get angry. Above all, under no circumstances, may we make our self-styled allies or even our oppressors uncomfortable.
Trans power, in my mind, is the attitude that says: fuck that. Trans power is refusing to turn the other cheek, to be civil to somebody who is being grossly offensive to you, to give free education to people who can’t be arsed to educate themselves (or even adhere to common sense and common manners and keep their mouths shut when they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about).
Trans power is rejecting martyrdom in favor of survival.
Trans power is not so much what we ask for as the way in which we demand it.
There’s not much that I can add to that. I’m cis. I don’t know what it’s like to walk in those shoes. The only way I can learn is to listen.