Guest Post: The Doctrine of Self Respect
I don’t do these as often as I’d like to. Part of what I wanted to achieve by blogging the way I do is to help make trans voices louder. And I’ve built a minor successful-ish platform to do that from now.
So if you have something you want to say and don’t know where to say it? Hit me up. We can work something out — whether you want to remain anonymous is up to you and I assure you I will not edit your work past formatting.
Without further adieu…
“When y’all gonna make one fing series about the success that black folks is having? The only success we have is ‘Roots’ and ’12 Years a Slave’ and s like that, huh? F y’all. I ain’t watchin that s. F them television shows. Let’s create our own s based on today, how we live and how we inspire people today. Black is what’s real.”
Sorry folks but we’re gonna make a civil rights-to-trans rights allegory here…with a Snoop quote. In 2016 Snoop Dogg said on Instagram that he was sick of all the slavery movies coming out in Hollywood. “How the f they gonna put ‘Roots’ on Memorial Day? They gonna just keep beating that s in our heads of how they did us, huh?” People are conditioned from youth to look at minorities a certain way. When you see a black guy your first impression is never “oh, that dude must be a doctor or lawyer”. When you see a trans person most people will not immediately think they’re well off and happy. It’s the public perception of these things that sells, yes, but it ultimately hurts us all.
This conditioning leads to some pretty shitty prejudice, and for someone like me it only wants me to become the opposite of what the common eye wants to perceive me as. This motivates certain individuals (like myself) who are seen as minorities to rise up and lead happy, fulfilling lives… often with social and financial success. As a public figure it only makes sense to offer yourself as an outlet to help others rather than one simply seeking validation. Often one voice can lead hundreds from the depths of negativity, and keep the youth from feeling hopeless in their less privileged position in life.
Whenever minority rights are brought up in the popular scope of the right there’s always that innate understanding that the supposed victim group is “lesser” in some biologically determinant way, and so many trans people actually buy this. Due to certain circumstances and gaslighting thrown their way throughout their lives, they believe they are somehow lesser or deserving of less respect than their counterparts. Apparently there are not enough empowered voices in the movement! Is there a victim narrative that perpetuates a lot of self-doubt in the trans community?
Sure, and that’s because (of course) there’s a lot of shitty things that happen to us in the world. The Williams Institute study throws a lot of negativity our way by misinformed transphobes, but that isn’t due partly to some truth in those high suicide rates. For the most part people are ignorant, and all we can really do to prevent bad things from happening to our counterparts is through education and good decision-making.
By taking some accountability we can be a positive influence and put ourselves in a position in life where we do not have to fear for our lives due to an overabundance of poorly educated bigots. What we shouldn’t be doing is cater to people that make false and negative generalizations about us in order to gain their individual, temporary respect. In the long term that’s self-destructive, and will negatively contribute to the common good… even if you do have some individual success with it.
There are two types of transpeople that I see on the internet, one negative and one positive. The first group is constantly seeking validation, and using the internet as an outlet usually because of problems in their actual lives. They primarily want to market themselves as an individual voice under the guise of an activist, and will undoubtedly use their label as trans to weaponize their opinions. They often don’t mind throwing other trans people under the bus in order to acheive those goals. Their purpose is entirely self-serving, and will drag others into their problems and ideas which are often exclusionary to the point of being inconsistent and confusing.
The second type is a group of which any person of an oppressed group on the internet should seek to be if they’re ever put in the position to be a leader- the selfless activist. These people market their work and achievements, and will only prop themselves up as a person if they believe it will help inspire confidence and good vibes in the people following their content. Often these big names are a mix of both, but with the pragmatic-enough thinking to understand that they want to be the person idealized in group two.
Long story short, learn to stop worrying and love the bants. Use your voice as one for good, and don’t piggyback on someone’s crack theories because you think it’s somehow scientifically valid. Just because Ray Blanchard’s theories fit for who you are doesn’t mean that everyone else is like you. These theories hurt a lot of people, and even the good groups mentioned in his typology I find personally insulting.
Protect trans kids and those most vulnerable, don’t just use them as a ploy to get likes. They are looking up to you everytime you’re out there attaching the trans label to yourself, you indirectly speak for these kids. It’s a responsibility, and it’s only going to be a mutualistic street if you put yourself in a good state of being in life.
Call out individuals, not groups! Call out ideas! But for heavens sake love yourself a little, and it will reciprocate for those around you. Good vibes are contagious, so stop putting yourself in a bad mood online… that’s what other people are for.