Point of View

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Letters From The Edge of Blogspace: A Stranger in a Strangely Familiar Land….

Published December 27, 2013 by Christine
To those who know me, this may seem like an odd style of writing. I find that it seems to get the point across better than describing my feelings purely from my own point of view. These entries expand on earlier entries which, admittedly, have a rather stilted style.

Finally being one’s real self is a strange, yet familiar feeling. Everything around you seems new and old at the same time, as if you are looking through new eyes which, in a way, is exactly what is happening. They are not physically new eyes but the perspective has changed. The body is the same but the mind has been freed of the shell it has been inhabiting for so many years. Over the years you have had glimpses of what might be, odd little times the Ghost has come to the fore and been able to manifest herself, but these have been few and far between, but now these glimpses have become a reality and a new world awaits you.

Your first journey out into this new land brings paralysing fear. Fear of what will be said, terror at the thought of being attacked. You know these things happen, you’ve read about them, heard people talk about them, even laughing about them. The assaults, the attacks and abuse, the deaths of those like you, all fill your heart with dread. What horror’s will be visited upon your person because you dared to finally admit who you are? You wonder how many others have felt this very same thing, for the same reason, how many pushed on and how many ran back, to afraid to embrace the strange new world that awaits them. Then a thought enters your head. Why? Why should I turn and run and empower those who would visit harm upon me? Why should I turn and run, letting those who do not understand determine the course of my life? Why should I be afraid to stand in the light, allowing others to deny me my very existence? The feeling of contempt for those that would wish you harm grows. There is no anger, just a surety that belong in that light. You know that anything could happen on the other side of that door but you are ready.

The outside world comes into focus as you step outside, Tracey by your side. People walking by, their own business on their minds, barely respond to your presence. They walk around you with barely a glance. The fear begins to drain away, slowly being replaced by another, unfamiliar feeling. As you walk down the street this unfamiliar feeling grows. Your footsteps become lighter, the slouch of depression you’ve had all your life disappears. You recognise the feeling that is growing within you. It’s a feeling you’ve only ever had when in the throes of a drinking binge. It is confidence. You feel like laughing and running down the street, shouting out to the world “I AM HERE”. You restrain yourself, but you look at Tracey, a massive grin on your face and she smiles back. How long have you denied yourself this? How long have you stayed hidden in the darkness, scared?

For the first time in your life you feel alive.

Letters From The Edge of Blogspace: Love, Hate and Violence….

Published December 13, 2013 by Christine

Over the last few years my eyes have been opened, wide. I knew, being transsexual that, when I transitioned, there would be prejudice and a certain amount of hate possibly levelled at me, but I hadn’t reckoned with the absolute levels of hate and violence against trans people as a group, and the sources of it.

It seems that, having spent much of my life in a drunken stupor (see here), I had missed out on a huge chunk of what was going on. I was so, so naive. To me, church was a place you went to talk to an implausible being who was probably too busy anyway, a christian was someone who did this, turf was sheets of grass used to make a lawn, right-wing was something to do with politics and prejudice and discrimination happened to other people. How things have changed. How I’ve grown up. I’ve had to. Transition is not an easy journey.

There have been the changes socially. I get treated as a woman. Doors opened for me (nice), people talk to me more, especially other women, shopping is a much more fun experience, even silly things like male drivers letting me out at junctions. There are some not-so-nice changes, (I’m not complaining, just commenting), mainly things I took for granted pre-transition, such as being treated like I don’t know anything in DIY shops, (having a pink toolkit recommended to me!), and car shops, but the best is computer shops where thirty years in the business gives me a chance to have fun.

But then there’s the hate and the violence. The sheer immensity of it is staggering.

It appears that much of the hate for us is Right-Wing (largely) Christian led, mainly in the US, but there is a large component here in the UK. They run around, selectively quoting the Bible to justify their hatred and intolerance, pointing at us and calling us abominations, freaks, and worse. Then they say they can cure us, with love and God’s grace but, when that doesn’t work, its back to inciting violence and hatred.

Then there are the TERFs, (TransExclusionary Radical Feminists), feminists that want people like me dead, who would look upon a trans suicide as a victory, who see us as nothing but men in dresses raping women. Feminists like Cathy Brennan, Janice Raymond and Victoria Brownworth to name but a few. I have read some of the TERF websites and Twitter postings with a kind of horrified fascination that this sort of thing could actually exist.

But the worst hate of all is the fear and hate generated by ignorance. The fear that some people have of the unknown. This is the hate that kills, the hate that destroys lives. This is the hate that is fed upon and encouraged by the Right and Christian Right and TERFs, the hate and fear that is turned into violence and murder. The hatred that causes the 44% level of suicides of trans people and makes stepping out the front door a nervous journey into unknown familiarity for many more. The hatred that has killed more than two hundred trans people in the last year for no better reason than who they were, and has given rise to an annual Day of Remembrance.

The hatred and fear is real, visceral. The only weapons we have are law and education. Knowing a thing removes the fear of that thing. We can only show that we are people trying to get on with our lives. We only shout and make a fuss when we are treated less than any other, when we are pushed to the back of the bus. Otherwise we want to live without fear of being killed simply because we are truly ourselves.

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