I Can’t And I Won’t.
Crossposted to The Spectrum Cafe.
Ever since I started transition, ever since I even started to explore my dissonance, people have walked all over me. People have hurt me, used me, fucked me over and said horrible things about me and the other women like me.
When I started blogging, when I raised my voice approximately a year and a half ago, even more people spewed their hateful bullshit on me. And even more people spewed more subtle transmisogyny at me. Little things but they wore me down never the less.
I’ve talked about activism and some of the limitations we face IF we want to change things ourselves before. But I’m not talking about activism right now. I’m talking about survival.
Because every single time someone calls trans women drama queens or hysterical, even in jest, even to make a point, it invokes transmisogyny and it wounds us. Every time a feminist speculates about whether we should be allowed into the bathrooms of our gender it wounds us. Every time people doubt the existence of nonbinary/genderqueer people it wounds them. Every time a lesbian calls herself a lesbian when dating a trans guy who fully views himself as a man, she wounds him. Every time someone calls a trans woman a trap without express permission from her, they wound her.
Every little fucking thing that people who call themselves allies, friends, family, loved ones, whatever, every subtle transphobic, cissexist, binarist, transmisogynistic and cissupremacist these people do, it wounds one of us and sometimes all of us.
And we are asked to sit down. We are asked not to be harsh. To educate. To accept apologies, whether they’re apologetic for the actions or simply apologetic to have been caught. We’re asked to be kind. We’re asked to suck up. To appease.
Activism requires sacrifices. But we… I, can not be an activist forever. I can’t even do it most of the week. Most of the day. Most of an hour. A significant portion of the year. I can not sacrifice my dignity, my health, my well being and my safety for activism.
A lot of people in a lot of places reacted heavily to the AMO post about call outs. They believed I told them that they had to educate people. Had to be effective. Had to make change. This is wrong. When we take the torch of activism, we make change. Then we have to be effective, then we have to make sacrifices. But who says we have to take the torch of activism? And who says that even if we do, we have to take it permanently or even for long periods at a time?
No one does. Not even me.
Self care comes first. Survival comes first. And I will not sacrifice those. I understand the need for change and education. I understand the fact that without our efforts, the privileged cis majority will never ever ever not in a million years, give us the rights and social acceptance we need to be safe. But I also understand that becoming a casualty to them, catering to their ignorance, to their bullshit, to their pigheaded bigotry, is unacceptable.
It will always be unacceptable.
That is the dilemma we face. The untenable extremes are to allow cissupremacy to reign free and destroy us slowly (but survive for now) or go out in a blaze of glory as we tear it apart (destroying ourselves in the process. But it’s a false dilemma. Many of us find balance. And that’s what everyone, the cis apologists in our midst, the career Nukers, the Appeaser activists who run till they burn out, the raging radicals and various groups and blogs like ONTD_feminism, FWD, The Spectrum Cafe, Questioning Transphobia, Flip Flopping Joy, myself and many others have been having so much trouble articulating or understanding.
There are right ways to do activism (ways that work) but no one has to do activism and no one has to do it all the time. I do activism because I want to. That is the only acceptable reason. Because I want to make a difference for more trans folk than just me and only concentrating on my survival doesn’t do that. But when my survival comes up, when I am in pain or burning out, I can walk away from activism, because my survival is more important. I can take breaks. I can do things that don’t aid the cause but aid me. Because the cause is to help people like me. And if we’re all dying and being harmed for these cis fuckheads then the cause is not being upheld.
Sometimes I am not here to help the cause. Sometimes I will tell you to fuck off instead of educating you, even if you’re sincere. Sometimes I will walk away because it hurts too much and I am not your fucking vending machine.
I am human. And I hurt. And I can’t be an activist all the time for you. I can’t do it and frankly, you don’t deserve it.
And I fucking won’t.
Filed under: personal | 22 Comments
Tags: cissexism, expectations, fuck this fuckery, kyriarchy, meta-activism, privilege, transgender
Retired But Not GoneAn archive of a trans woman's explorations of her gender, disabilities, sexuality and the social forces that harm her.
Some of the posts on this blog may express internalized transmisogyny and ableism.
Some of the posts on this blog may discuss or describe traumatic events including rape and abuse, harassment and oppressive violence. Trigger warnings may apply.
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