Wolf in Sheep’s Cloak, a letter
I am struggling this morning.
As I prepare to attend Trans Pride this afternoon, my enthusiasm is seeping away. I will be visible, I need to be ‘on’ for this, and all I want in this moment is to be alone and quiet and safe.
Public appearances are difficult for me. Being trans is difficult for me. Being publicly trans is actually painful. I do this because I must. And it’s frightening.
I am trying to psych myself up.
There is a hate piece that has invaded trans space on Medium.com and has swamped the conversation. That it is masquerading as a ‘reasoned discussion’ by an ‘ally’ is nothing short of hideous. A glance at the author’s other social media reveals them for the transantagonistic hatemonger that they are, but this is not visible on Medium, and questioning cisgender women (my own audience) have been drawn into this ‘discussion’.
Other trans writers are engaging with it, defending themselves and us, which only fans the flames and encourages this wolf in sheep’s cloak all the more. Against the ‘reasoned’ tone of the hit-piece, they sound shrill. As per usual, I feel I have no choice but to sit silently, as my platform is polluted and my existence debated. Any direct engagement on my part would only serve to make matters worse and potentially taint my own voice and platform.
That this attack piece has gained a lot of traction on Medium is bad. That it appears in a women’s publication that features my own work and that of other transfeminine writers is horrible. My knee-jerk impulse is to write the editor a nasty letter and pull my dozen or so stories out of the publication. That would probably be self-defeating. The intent of the hit-piece is to marginalise and silence us. Erase us. Much as I would like some peace, I will not erase myself.
I am upset.
I feel I should be ‘above’ all this, but these attacks are frequent these days, truly harmful, and personally draining, even though I do not directly engage. Just witnessing them feels like swallowing poison. I cannot un-see them. Even glancing at a headline traumatises me and wrecks my day, despite my best efforts to ‘rise above’. Knowing that they are often intended to traumatise just makes it worse. The dick pics and rape threats I get on the regular are nothing compared to an exclusionary attack from another woman. This hurts. It is meant to hurt.
Even as many cisgender people become more sympathetic to us and our plight, reactionary bigots are increasing their attack from all sides, often in the guise of ‘reasoned debate’, and even masquerading as ‘allies’. Wolves. I have no idea why they hate me so much. What did I ever do?
Last year I attended Trans Pride to see what this ‘trans visibility’ thing was all about. This year I know all too well what it is about, and I am seeing it at its most frightening.
Today I shall rise above, suck it up, get myself ready, go out, meet and greet, and generally be visible. I will post my photo on the internet so people will recognise me. Maybe I will even enjoy myself. I hope so.
But I will be afraid.
Thanks for listening,
I make a spare living doing this. You can support my work and get draft previews and my frequent ‘Letters Home’ for less than the cost of a coffee.