Trans Power, Trans Pride, Trans Rage

Somebody told me the other day that there are people who find me “unapproachable” because of my politics.

Good. I don’t want people who disagree with my politics to approach me. Ever. My politics are not abstract. They cannot be sacrificed for social convenience, because they are not about saving the pandas, they are about preserving myself and my friends. I completely unmotivated by idealism. I do not have that luxury. What drives my beliefs is a burning sense of necessity.

No, I do not believe that we need to be nicer to cis people. I believe we need to be more committed to each other and to ourselves. I believe we need a hardcore sense of dignity and self worth. And we cannot have that dignity, that sense of self worth, when we constantly bite our tongues against protests and swallow our own truths.

We must call out cissexism and transphobia. We must not accept incorrect names or pronouns or identifiers. We must not allow the definitions of others to be attached to us. We must stand up for ourselves and for each other and demand what we need in order to be safe, secure and happy, because we do have rights.

But in order to get the things we need, we need to believe that we deserve them.

Trans people who hate themselves cannot form a strong community with other trans folk. We must love ourselves, and love each other, cherish our self esteem and our pride, and cherish also the fierce protector of our dignity, which is our rage. Out of pride comes community. Rage will defend it. The strength to achieve our goals will be the result— that is, trans power.

This is what I believe. I think that there is worth in this perspective. I think we need to test it. I think we need to become more militant, more active, more critical. We need to be tighter knit, to reach out to each other more. Everything we do is political now and we must recognize that. Every new friendship between trans people is a new alliance which could potentially help turn back the tide of deaths, either by contributing to the safety in numbers that might prevent a murder, or to the emotional support system which may stop a suicide.

These ideas are the foundation of my activism. I believe that we will get farther faster if we invest our energy in building up each other, rather than in meekly submitting to manifold indignities in the vain hope of “educating” a few of our oppressors who may be willing to listen. Perhaps I will be proven wrong, but I don’t think so. I am confident enough in my strategy to gamble my well being and my hope for the future on it.

You, of course, do not have to do so. But anyone who is interested in such an approach to trans activism— an approach based on trans unity, community, mutual aid, self-worth and pride— I am there with you. I invite you to help me grow my network, my community, and in turn I will add to yours.

Let’s have each other’s backs for once.

About Asher

Asher Bauer is fast becoming a fixture in the San Francisco kink community, and intends to stay that way. He has worked as a Queer Educator at LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation And Information Center), and since has taken his talents as an educator to a wider variety of audiences, teaching on subjects ranging from safer sex to BDSM to trans and queer identities. He is also one of the hosts and originators of Transmission, the new trans-centric party at the San Francisco Citadel, and Invasion, the Citadel's all-genders queer party. View all posts by Asher

3 Responses to “Trans Power, Trans Pride, Trans Rage”

  • Rachel Kantstopdaphunk

    Asher,
    Thank you for your bravery. There are ideals that can be compromised around. Gender id just…isn’t one of them, imho. While some may find you unnaproachable, they should examine what it is about thier actions or words that makes them fear your presence. I agree wholeheartedly, when it comes to feminist ideals, my own gender id, and queer theory I just can’t give any more ground. That’s my decision. If people can’t get it right and can’t be bothered to try, I can’t be bothered letting them be a part of my life. Some call that ‘unrelenting’ or ‘unforgiving’ or ‘lacking compassion’ I call it ‘keepin’ it real’. If someone doesn’t have enough respect for me to try not to piss me off and offend me on a deeply personal level; it behooves me to stay the hell away from that person. Perhaps that person ain’t a total douche, it doesn’t matter. My personal safety is at risk. You keep doin’ what you do.

  • Kyle

    You are right about believing the need to believe in ourselves. After being constantly misgendered, especially in front of cis males who aren’t misgendered, I begin to feel like I just plain don’t deserve to be called a ‘he’. It hurts. My therapist once told me when I was calling myself gender ambigious that my gender isn’t ambigious, it just seems that way to everyone else. It really hit me then that he is 100% right. Reading your articles pretty much always gives me hope that it’s okay for all of us to label ourselves in anyway we must to feel true to ourselves. I don’t think there’s any article you posted that I disagreed with. I do think that we won’t be able to get cis people to accept us if we can’t accept ourselves and other trans people first.

  • mx. punk

    holy fuck, man. that’s fucking everything i’ve ever wanted to say. that’s what tries to pull itself outta my mouth when people use the wrong pronouns for me. that’s what lives and scratches inside of me every day.

    i’m sorta out and i’m sorta in; i keep letting strangers and acquaintances misgender me. tomorrow, i’m coming out to everybody. i’m gonna start respecting myself.

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