Watch Your Back Part 2, Dealing With the Hate

Watch Your Back Part 2, Dealing With the Hate

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Part 1

Clearly, the situation varies from one place to another. If you live in New York or California, you do not have to worry about local stormtroopers coming after you. Of course, if Donald Trump is elected, these local tactics may very well be used nationally in the not-too-distant future. So do not think it cannot happen to you. Besides, how many people in your home area secretly hate you?

If you live in one of the heartland states that is going after the transgender crowd, it is a different story. Maybe you are willing to consider living somewhere else. Some folks have moved out of some states. But perhaps that is not a realistic option. Maybe you love your home area. Maybe you cannot afford to move. Maybe you do not want to live in a cold Northern state or a state that has major quality-of-life issues. What next?

I wish I could tell you that I have all the answers. Unfortunately, I do not work miracles. In fact, there are no miracles that will save our bacon. We are in a very bad situation that could turn deadly. But I will mention a few things that might help us make it through.

In previous articles, I have called for transgender persons to come together in a national organization. At this point, it is probably not a good idea to create a formal organization for us. It would present much too tempting a target for anti-transgender government officials. They would do almost anything to get hold of a membership list for that organization.

But it does not mean that we cannot work together. We have many local transgender support groups around the country. Some meetings are in person while others are via video conference. You can try to link up with an organization that is near you. This is more important for those transgender persons who live in anti-transgender areas. We can get support from other transgender persons. They can offer advice about many different problems that face us.

There are other transgender-related blogs and Web sites. You may be reading this article on one of those sites. Look for them and use them. They can also provide support. Many of them offer a comments section that can put you in touch with other transgender folk.

If you see severe anti-transgender legislation being passed in your state, you might consider trying to fight it. Doing this on your own is probably not realistic given the cost of legal fees. But some groups may be willing to intervene on behalf of transgender folks who are injured by attack legislation. You can look around to see who is already acting to see if you can help them. If nothing else, you might try to contact a group like the American Civil Liberties Union to see if they might be interested in trying to overturn a bill.

If nothing else works, there is always the possibility of moving. True, it is not always realistic to do this. I do not want to live in a hard-left La La Land, so places like California and New York are clearly not for me. Such areas also tend to be hugely expensive. If they were less so, I might consider going. But in the worst possible case, maybe it is worth looking into.

If we get into a worst-case situation and authorities are actively moving against transgender persons, you should definitely let someone close to you know your whereabouts and your desires. Think of it as a transgender version of a medical bracelet. A family member would be the best choice. If that will not work, try to find a therapist or other transgender-related contact who can be aware of where you are and will try to get in touch with you occasionally. If you are put in jail, this may be your only way to reach someone outside.

You should also take some time to think about personal self-defense. Many states put limits on which weapons you can carry. If you do not want to have a gun, you could look at a taser. It would give you some ability to repel an attack. You would need to research the laws in your area and make your decision about what to do. I wish I had the ability to take some kind of self-defense course. But I do not see them out there. A course aimed at cisgender females might not be safe for a transgender female.

Above all else, we must stay strong. I am not a huge fan of the transgender affirmations that I see on Facebook or other parts of the Web. They can be rather naive. Brave words may be good to hear, but they will not protect you in case of a determined assault from a government or transgender hater.

On the other hand, you do need to realize that a transgender person is as valid as anyone else and has as much right to exist as any cisgender person. Some may hate us, but there is more tolerance and acceptance out there than we sometimes realize.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how little I have been bothered as a transgender person living in the Bible Belt South. When I first came out, I very much feared that gangs of tobacco-chewing rednecks would immediately descend on me to beat the holy crap out of me. That has not happened.

This article has been full of doom and gloom and how to respond to it. At times it felt like Paul Revere stuff, all “one if by land and two if by sea”

But strangely enough, the last couple of days have brought a thin glimmer of hope to the scene.

A couple of states have recently ended their legislative sessions. In Florida and West Virginia, almost all of the anti-transgender legislation introduced for consideration was allowed to die without legislative action. In Florida, only one bill passed. About twenty more died. Perhaps a few legislators are starting to realize that anti-transgender legislation does not inflame the voter base as much as they thought it did. Maybe we will finally start to see a decrease in the number of anti-transgender bills being introduced into these legislatures.

Maybe people will finally begin to cool off their anti-transgender passion and let us live in peace. That is all that I ask. I am old. I just want to live the rest of my life quietly. I also want my younger transgender group to be able to live their lives without being persecuted. That is not too much to ask, is it?

Maybe this wave of terror will finally start to fizzle out. It is about damn time.

Still, I will not expect it to happen until I see more definite signs. These are still troubled times for transgender persons. Please, take care of yourself. Watch your back. Watch your friends’ backs. We could see a President elected who will resume the persecution. The persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire was not constant. It ebbed and flowed according to popular passions and the desires of emperors. It could be the same for transgender persons.

At the same time, we need to remember that we are a very small minority in a world that does not always trust us or wish us well. We need to avoid inflaming public opinion against us. Perhaps it is better to restrict attendance at transgender drag shows to adults only. We should not send mixed signals, like wearing female clothes and make-up with obvious facial hair. We should avoid behaving provocatively in bathrooms. It may sound limiting, but life will work better if we try to work together to get along with the majority.

The next six to twelve months will be a critical time for American transgender persons. If the situation improves, we can live our lives. If the persecution begins in earnest, let us do whatever we can to protect ourselves. But whatever happens, remember that we were made this way. Let us stay true to ourselves.

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Category: Transgender Opinion


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