The Transgender Activism Paradox

I’m a lurker, it’s what I do. I have, since living memory, watched everyone from inside myself. I don’t participate, I watch. If I were on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even though I would love to be Buffy, sadly I would have been Anthony Head, the watcher. I learn a lot from watching, and rarely being noticed. I am not a distraction so people tend to say more than they intended. Here is what I have noticed in my short time lurking.

If you are a transitioning transgender, you are most likely to disappear from the community. Your period of activism or participation ends once you have fully transitioned. It’s not your fault. The caterpillar doesn’t revisit the cocoon,  it flies away the butterfly into another life, borne on the air. The transgender community appears to be populated by only a few that have fully transitioned, those who have decided to stay and fight for legitimacy of the transgender community. This isn’t a dig at those who have left, to be stealth or who are passing without effort, I think it’s wonderful. I am not judging anyone. If I could pass, if I could live my day to day as a girl, you would never see me again. It’s the curse, the curse of the transgender. No one truly wants to be this, to be physically the wrong gender. So when we get what we want, we just want to be a regular boy or girl.

It’s also what we wish for any other transgender we meet. There are several I talk to on here that I am in contact with, I wish nothing more than that they get what they want, to be a real girl, to transition. I would love them to lead normal lives, falling in love, having a family. A normal life isn’t protesting or joining in LGBT issues. It marks you, brings your transition into a clinical light for all to see, to remember you as a transgender MtF or FtM, not as you, not as the woman or man who just wants to live their life. If you are just gay, then it’s a matter of you being attracted to the same gender. It’s a right you have been fighting for, for a long bloody time. To marry, to live as a gay person without prejudice. But to be a transgender, gay or straight, you don’t really get to live with yourself. You get to bemoan the body you are in, or change it, but you still live with something you get to bring up over and over. You had to change yourself to feel like you. It’s not about sexual orientation. So for a transgender, it’s like joining AA to announce you have a fear of spiders.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the cause. I believe that we need to be heard and we need the same rights as everyone else. So, the question becomes, how do you participate in the “T” part of the LGBT and still retain our woman or man-hood. Must our transition define us so that we can never just be us?

Tell me.

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