I’m going to try and tie together a couple of themes I’ve touched on before. It’s taken me a few days to consider the most coherent way to address this point in a way that doesn’t go far beyond the length I normally try to target (which is, itself, probably twice as long as it ought to be on many occasions). Even still, I’m not certain I can pull it off. The only thing that makes sense is a sort of “flashback episode”.
I’ve commented in the past on the challenge of facing holiday (and other) family get togethers if one is trans and out of the closet. Frankly, even if you are not out, all too often you have to bite your tongue as some ill-informed kin spouts off some despicable rant. Thus allowing ignorance to advance. At the same time, I’ve remarked on the need to speak up and speak out, rather than take the safer haven of the closet. Obviously, if one speaks up, there’s the potential they will be a target, if one avoids being a target, one allows ignorance to triumph. (This applies just as much to other issues, such as same sex marriage, but more extremely when you identify with the targeted group)
How to deal with this conflict? That brings me to something else I’ve been trying to get across in my time here: have answers. If you look back through the archives here you’ll have a good start. Whether it’s the posts from last summer answering the typical religious objections, or the two part commentary on the bathroom debate, or even the 7 part series “Understanding” beginning in early 2013 which covers almost every aspect of understanding the nature of trans conditions, to a myriad of resources on other sites, the information is there. All you have to do is acquaint yourself with it and keep a cool head.
Don’t overlook the importance of that last either. It does no good at all if you let your hater manipulate you into emotion driven floundering. You see, if they get you enraged or flustered or despondent then their “argument” doesn’t even HAVE to make sense, you forfeited the opportunity to make them defend it. If you want equality, hear me on this: learn how to control your emotions in a debate. I’ve heard it said by some of my friends that they never read the comments thread to any article because the harsh ones trigger so many negative emotions. If that’s you, make it part of your transition goals to harness those emotions. Learn to engage the debate and win. Will you change the true bigot’s mind? Most likely not. But that’s never the point! Others are reading, some of them with open minds actually interested in truth. THEY are your audience. That’s why I always insist on civility and even grace, speaking to people where they are.
Even so, at that Christmas dinner, don’t fight and don’t argue…don’t even bring it up unless they speak first with the voice of intolerance. But when they do, don’t be cowed. You don’t even have to be out to make the case. But make it calmly, quietly, compassionately…but firmly. Never let ignorance go unchallenged.
And, for one final link, if they resort to hatefulness, here’s some advice for dealing with it. Don’t accept the hate, but don’t allow the ignorance to go unquestioned:
Prince Ea on “Haters”
photo by: Wonderlane