Radical Dreams vs Trans Integration
We need to break the vicious cycle that is keeping trans lives marginalized.
Welcome back to Trans Realist, a project where I have a conversation with my fellow trans people, about what could be done to make our lives better in the real world.
Today, I want to talk about how we can break free from what I see is the vicious cycle of rejection by mainstream society, escaping into radical utopian dreams, acting out the radicalism, which then only serves to generate even more rejection by mainstream society. I know this is an emotionally difficult topic, but I believe it is the right thing to do to help get our community out of this vicious cycle. As we have seen with the gay community, the marriage equality campaign allowed them to do just that, and gay lives have been much improved as a result, with acceptance and opportunities that were almost unimaginable just a generation ago. I want the same for the trans community.
But let me explain what I see as the vicious cycle. Marginalized people, like trans people, are often rejected by mainstream society as a default position. This leads some members of the community to escape into radical utopian dreams. They might even rationalize their suffering and alienation from society by upholding the romantic ideal of being outsiders who can ‘tear the system down’. The trouble is that, if these beliefs are acted upon in the public, they might lead to actions that are considered unreasonable by most people, and further tarnish the reputation of the community in the mainstream. Reactionary politicians who hunger for a culture war will also seize on these actions to justify withholding civil rights from members of the community. This contributes to even deeper rejection and marginalization by mainstream society. From here, the cycle can then repeat itself, condemning generations of the community to live marginalized lives.
Therefore, if we care about our future, as trans people living in a world that is not always accepting, and especially if we care about those who will come after us, it is important to find a way to break this vicious cycle. Given that we don’t have much influence over how the mainstream will interpret what they see of the trans community, and we certainly have no control over reactionary politicians and culture warriors, the only place we can act is within the trans community itself. This is why I have been challenging problematic philosophies and theories that I believe are contributing to the radical outsider revolution mindset. This has made me unpopular with some activists, but I have to do it because I believe it’s the only way to save the future of the trans community.
By doing what I do, I believe that there is still hope that we can turn the tide against the current backlash, and stop our rights from being attacked at least. Sometimes, the correct choices aren’t the easy ones.