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.