Monday, 10 November 2014

Trans activism

It must cross the mind of every trans person who is articulate, and in a good position to do it without horrendous comeback, to become a trans activist.

In principle such people are certainly needed, and will always will be needed, until the world has become fully accustomed to the existence of trans people, regards it as a normal and everyday thing to have trans persons in their midst, and, without any special thinking, lets trans individuals lead an ordinary life exactly like everybody else.

I support any reasonable application of pressure that will achieve normalisation. By 'normalisation' I mean treating trans people as straightforward human beings. Human beings with a particular medical issue, maybe, but otherwise a respected part of society in general, people you meet everywhere and not think anything of it. People who are your friends and neighbours. A world in which it could be a normal choice to have a trans partner in preference to someone who wasn't trans. In which children could have parents who were trans - one of them, or both - and it wouldn't be considered odd. In which a trans person with the right personal qualities and the right talent would always beat someone else, less happily endowed, to that top job.

It can be like that right now. Trans people in very fortunate and special circumstances can in 2014 lead full and contented lives. I think I do, for instance. But for most this is not so, and until it is, there needs to be a steady push to create the right kind of easy and relaxed social acceptance.

I referred to the 'reasonable application of pressure' above. For me this refers to constant lobbying, across the board; a constant drive to integrate trans people into all parts of ordinary life. But done intelligently, skilfully and diplomatically, and within the existing system. Trans people have to get into influential positions to achieve this. So we need trans councillors and MPs, trans university professors, trans broadcasters, trans fashion setters and role models of all kinds - lots of them, and of all ages. Trans needs to become trendy and popular. Trans needs to become admired and valued. And - yes - if trans can sell, then trans will really become mainstream.

The old mould needs to be broken - not violently, not smashed; but tapped until it cracks, and then prized apart with care. In short, not a revolution, but an evolution to a desired state. And as soon as possible. But not so fast that it creates a reactionary backlash. It would be a disaster to start a civil war - trans freedom fighters versus the rest. How would integration ever happen, if trans people alienated everyone else, and became a group to be feared - and, of course, inevitably put down.

And yet there are undoubtedly factions within the trans world who want to adopt a fundamentalist and combative position. Where the attitude is 'them and us', and 'we hate cis people', and 'we don't trust them, and won't talk to them'. (They are talking about people like my neighbours. Like the people I bump into every day, who are average citizens with troubles of their own, and yet pleasant people all the same) Where strident demands are being formulated by spokespeople of warrior zeal. (It's obvious that for some who are prominent in these groups it's a career, a way of getting personal attention)

My question is: how will such things as the infiltration and taking over of existing trans organisations (in the way trade unions were once taken over and politicised), and publishing aggressive manifestos, lead to trans people finding a place in the ordinary fabric of society? Won't it just lead to conflict and strife, in which the needs of unpolitical trans people get forgotten? (You know, the sort who just want to do a little daytime shopping, or enjoy a cheerful evening out once in while)

Some people clearly don't mind being seen as troublemakers with a bad attitude. I do mind. And I don't want them speaking for me. Nor other people coming to think that I must be like them.

1 comment:

  1. Lucy, thank you for this clear and non-combative vision.

    ...we need trans councillors and MPs, trans university professors, trans broadcasters, trans fashion setters and role models of all kinds - lots of them, and of all ages. Trans needs to become trendy and popular. Trans needs to become admired and valued

    Just so!


This blog is public, and I expect comments from many sources and points of view. They will be welcome if sincere, well-expressed and add something worthwhile to the post. If not, they face removal.

Ideally I want to hear from bloggers, who, like myself, are knowable as real people and can be contacted. Anyone whose identity is questionable or impossible to verify may have their comments removed. Commercially-inspired comments will certainly be deleted - I do not allow free advertising.

Whoever you are, if you wish to make a private comment, rather than a public one, then do consider emailing me - see my Blogger Profile for the address.

Lucy Melford