Transphobia might seem foreign, but it is crawling dangerously close.
This week of transphobia began with Genderquake airing on Channel 4. I decided to avoid it, and preserve my mental health. Especially after reviews arguing it’s an excuse to give cis gay men a platform to target trans and gender non-conforming people. I’ve actually begun to grow comfortable in my body, with who I am. I don’t need another program to tell me why I don’t exist, or why I’m destroying our society. It reminds me of Piers Morgan’s interview with Fox Fisher, a ploy disguised as journalism, designed to humiliate and degrade a non-binary person on live television. I want to keep growing as a trans person, someone who is able to express themselves and have self-acceptance. This will at times require me to live in ignorance of some media, to ensure that I don’t relapse into self-loathing.
However, by no means do I want to live in ignorance of international news and important stories. A few days ago, Trump reversed the law put in place by Obama to protect transgender people in prisons. Prisoners will now be assigned housing based on their biological sex. Identifying as a gender should be a basic right, and not something that can be taken away. Yet, this is worse than devaluing your identity, as transgender people are now in danger when being assigned prisons. There is no possible world where a trans woman in a male prison will result in a good outcome. The policy is designed to cause trans people distress and harm – you can’t sugarcoat this with TERF bullshit.
This hasn’t been a good week for transgender people. I have a habit of dissociating when reading the news; not completely recognising the full impact. Being based in a borough near the outskirts of London, I thought of myself as safe from attacks and transphobia. This week was a wake up call, that I’m not as safe as I think. Over the past month, I have become increasingly more comfortable in how I express myself in public. On Friday I decided to wear a dress and tights to school; I’m accepting myself for who I am. It was roughly 8pm and I was a 10 minute walk away from home when I noticed a group of men aged around 20. I was scared, and vulnerable, I just wanted to be in the safety of my home. I knew our paths were going to cross, so I wasn’t sure whether to slow down and try to avoid them, or speed walk past. It was inevitable that we were going to meet so I decided to start speed walking. One of the men pointed at me shouting a transphobic slur, it wasn’t soon before the rest of them joined in. They were sexualising my body, and hurling transphobic insults at me. After all the horror stories I’ve heard about transphobic abuse, I wasn’t sure how bad it was going to get – I was scared for my life. I started walking faster, breaking into a run. I realised I had to cross the road. There was no time to think or look, the group were catching up, I had to cross then and there. I didn’t notice the car that was speeding round the corner. I was less than a second away from being hit. I ran – tears in my eyes. Slammed my front door shut, and broke down in a mess on the floor.
My life was at risk from transphobia. I am physically ok, but psychologically unstable. I’m struggling to focus, the encounter has been playing over and over in my head. My vulnerable state was exposed, my dignity stolen. I felt inhuman, an object victim to its owner.
I’m trapped and imprisoned on a multitude of levels. I’m stuck in a body I don’t want. I’m trapped by societal pressure to conform to stereotypes. When I try to escape this label, I’m abused by society. I’m lost. I don’t know where to go, how to move forwards. There’s a monster blocking my path, it manifests itself as a transphobic society. My journey to self-love is back where it started.