Constance, I often run across the statement “This has to stop” in connection with accounts of the bullying and suicide epidemics that transgender people face. And that is good, that people are beginning to get it, the monstrous othering and policing that we face every single G Dam day of our lives simply because we were “guilty” of being born into this life with the knowledge that our gender orientation and our assigned birth biology are at odds.
But I am restive with the ease with which in this internet age we can flourish our fingers over a keyboard and then move on from post with the feeling that we have actually “done something”, when all we have actually done is in effect restate the problem without attempting resolution. It is sorta like having a math test and re-writing the problem
6 + 11 = x as
x = 11 + 6 (and we be sure to draw attention to our use of different colored font and italics).
Compassion is a bicameral quality. It has two lobes. It has the feeling, heart lobe…that throbbing, dripping, bleeding tender outpouring of sympathetic alignment if we have not experienced something for ourselves (and just so you know: if you are not transgender, it is impossible for you to empathize with a dysphoric person, just as if you are white you cannot empathize with a person of color…you can sympathize, but don’t deceive yourself into thinking you empathize)…
…but for it to be true compassion, it must have the action side as well. What will you do with your sympathy?
Lori Duron has again posted a truly moving recounting of a tragic tale of bullying and othering and policing that ended in another transgender life lost…and I will recite yet again the litany of 2015: a lost transgender life approximately every 30 hours since 2015 began!
As if it is not enough of a burden to face: the nearly overwhelming unendurable constant achy angst of dysphoria. Oh no…to that is added the onslaught of ignorance, fear, and hatred as expressed in the evil of bullying which drives so many to self-destructive action in addition to having to bear gender dysphoria!
But Lori goes one better: She posts people you can email, places you can step up and actually take action that extends beyond the hypothetical feel good phrase “This has to stop” and manifests in real, measurable action…and takes baby steps as a compassionate act.
And then I myself will go you one better: there are marches coming up in major cities…in June. They have various names, monikers…but at heart they are the same, in that they are opportunities for you to express–directly–your support with your body side by side with other bodies, facing gawkers and haters, the curious and disinterested, and others who have walked in solitary confinement in their skins…
Transgender Pride Marches.
Yes, there will be people there who look different than you…who walk or talk different than you…and who want/feel/think/need/deserve exactly the same things you do as human beings! Your presence there as an ally will mean more to them than any of them can say…in addition to the emails you write or the lawmakers you contact, or the PTA meetings you attend to make your cis-gender privileged voice heard that it is not going to be tolerated, this epidemic of transgender suicide and murder…and your other actions that you are thinking of and planning to take.
You are thinking of them? Actions to take? Plans to do something? Someone you can maybe even smile at? Befriend?
In the Portland Area, I believe Transgender Pride March Day is June 13th. I hope to be there and intend to be, God willing. I intend to walk, with a sense of presence and dignity (a word I use very reluctantly right now as it has been wielded against me like a sharp phallic sword to rape my heart and spirit, but I use it none the less to mean a sense of presence that contains worth and significance simply because I am a human being)…I intend to hold my head high and not angled down, and my eyes moving from face to face and eye to eye rather than always staring at the space in between…
I hope to see you there, beside me…cis, trans. But if I don’t? It would mean the world to see you standing at the curb, a smile on your face and a nod in your eyes.
This has to stop…this expression of emotion that lacks the manifestation of action.