An Allied Front

** I’m highjacking my own post, written a week ago. Election Day for the USA is happening right now. I hope that for our sakes there is record turnout for Democratic supporters. I understand that everyone has their reasons for what party they support, but I’m sorry if you support Trump, you are supporting someone who not only doesn’t care about LGBTQAI+ people, but is actively squashing our rights and inviting healthcare workers to turn us away. It’s a particularly tense time for all of us and it extends globally. I hope things go well, I hope we can fix what Trump has done to this country and start repairing the problems that we have always had. Vote, vote conscientiously, vote now. **

There was a post, shared by a friend on Facebook recently…

 “Okay but do you defend my pronouns when I’m not around?”. I responded to it with “Honestly, I almost never think about this or even wonder what other people might be saying about me.” 

Photo by Elyssa Fahndrich on Unsplash

Almost never. I have fleeting thoughts as the moments present themselves. But I’m wondering why anyone would put their time and energy into worrying about what everyone else might be saying about them. Some of this is due to privilege and some of it is a lack of interest. I’m white, I don’t have a hostile home life, I have a tiny sliver of passing privilege and I have friends and family that support me. I completely get that my take on this is with a lot of privilege. 

In my career, it’s a different dynamic and my privileges shrink drastically. In this capacity, if I walk away from an encounter that happens to be somewhat hostile, I may think, “Are they calling me a bitch right now or are they dismissing me and calling me a tranny?” But the moment passes in seconds and I go about my day. I don’t go to work and wonder what each of them is thinking about me. I would be surprised if I was the topic of anyone’s conversation, even among the more conservative of them. I don’t skulk about, keeping my head down, that was something I did when I was trying to pretend to be a man. I am right in the middle of things, as I have work to do and sometimes it requires that I am aggressive, but polite, with vendors and carriers. I hold my head up high and the doubts about who I am faded when I dropped the mask. But now, it’s more about the “woman” and not the “trans”, that low-key misogyny I have to work three times harder in the same job to get zero recognition for my efforts. Or perhaps it’s worse and it is about my being trans. The incorrect idea that I “chose” to become a woman, to be weird or subversive and therefore it makes me a defective person. Again hard to speculate when I put so little thought into it, I go through my day and do my job and I don’t often wonder at their thoughts of me.

I have family members who stopped talking to me, may have disowned me, hard to tell since they don’t talk to me. I don’t want to force them to talk to me, to engage me. So I have sent them emails and FB messenger letters, I can tell they’ve read my FB messages, but no replies. Silence speaks volumes. I wonder why it’s a surprise to them that I’m a girl. I wonder why they didn’t pick up on it my entire life. I wonder if there is an Oscar category for best portrayal of a different gender. I don’t wonder what they are saying about me. It’s a good thing too, because I have made the mistake of believing that some people are against who I am. And despite any other issues we may have had or still have, my being transgender wasn’t one of them. This assumption causes issues, it puts one on the defensive and makes one feel isolated and angry.

The actual issue that the post was addressing was that of ally-ism. I don’t actively wonder if my wife, my best friend or my children defend who I am to others. I don’t actively wonder if they defend my pronouns. I also don’t “know” that they do. I make the positive assumption that they would defend me, just like I would defend them. I can’t do anything else but make that assumption. I want them to do it without my prompting, as I would for them. It’s a lot like love, if you have to ask for it, then it’s not real. Being a good ally is something they have to want to do, not something I can petition them for. If they need help being a good ally, I would never turn down “the talk”. Perhaps I should offer them the conversation? I learn from my own ramblings sometimes… It’s a good idea, LGBTQ people should be proactive in educating our allies. Help them to understand how to support you.

For good tips on how to be a good ally, I found a great list from UC Davis’ website  https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/ally-tips

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