So, yesterday, I received an email. Nothing abnormal about that, except for 4 things.
1) It was from an old family friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, and would have no way to get the email address they sent it to, except by getting it from someone.
2) They somehow knew that I am trans, despite me having no connection to them or their family for a long time (Years before I started looking at my identity), and not coming out to them, because they are not a part of my life anymore.
3) They came at me from a place of judgement, incorrect information, and telling me that I am simply confused or mistaken about being Trans.
4) and They did not try to open a dialogue. It was a very judgement-filled, close-minded, and higher than thou type of message.
I decided not to respond, but this is a teachable moment for any one of you who may have a trans person in your life (or may in the future), and this is NOT how to behave if you want to have a relationship with them, or want them to actually open a dialogue with you.
The message is as follows:
As you said, you are an intelligent person …
Your family would sacrifice their lives for you! Their love is that deep. Do you REALLY think it is healthy to distance yourself from them at such a crucial time in your life? They are all very intelligent people. Don’t run for fear of hearing something that would change the trajectory of your life yet again. Listen to all sides again and again. Don’t immerse yourself in one or you will blind yourself to all other possibilities!
What if the leap you make is not REAL?
“I am afraid the psychologists will not be content to explain my insect fears by what a simpler generation would diagnose as their cause – a certain detestable picture in one of my nursery books …”
Best, <Name Redacted>”
Now, there is a lot to unpack there, most of which is not based on actual facts, and I wish I could tell you that this was the only/first time such ignorant things have been said to me, but it is not, and I would be willfully ignorant if I thought it would be the last.
My first feeling when I read this was that my heart had suddenly gained 50 pounds and was run over by a steamroller. It took all of the air out of my lungs.
What does this person know about me, or my relationships with my family except secondhand information? Where do they get off telling me what to do, or how much my family loves me, I know that, despite the sick way that some of them have reacted? Coming at me, after zero contact for almost a decade, and not being close for almost 2, with the blatant audacity of thinking that they know me.
Once I calmed down a bit, I wrote a well thought out, non-judgemental, logical response (with actual facts, not unfounded opinions. I shared it with a few close friends, trans and not. One of my good friends suggested I leave it alone, as she told me:
So your response is good, but my personal opinion is that they don’t deserve a response. Nothing you say will convince them of anything. And if you haven’t talked to them in over 10 years than an response is unnecessary. Also, lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. And you’re a beautiful lioness, fuck that little sheep. They’re being the actor, trying to control both you and your family by saying what everyone should do and say and act like. Which is sick behavior. The only way to win is to not participate, in my opinion.
I am taking her advice, and instead using this as an opportunity to say what I wanted to say in a more public forum. If it helps one person that is struggling with family/friends/coworkers and their unfounded opinions, unasked for advice, or plain bigotry, or someone that has a trans person in their life doesn’t act in this way, then the time that I take to write this is well worth it.
Now, I am not Christian (far from it, in fact), but the Bible has some real gems, such as the following.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
My family, and the person that wrote the email that is the catalyst for this post, are Christian. When they talk about me distancing myself from my family, that is partially true.
I did not spend Christmas with them, I did not go to a sibling get together a few weeks later, and I have not been reaching out to them that much. However there are reasons for that, and more to that than meets the eye.
1) When I came to Thanksgiving as Justice, not <Redacted>, and came out to the remainder of my siblings (which is covered in detail in this post) my Mom told me that I would always be her son, although my siblings seemed to take it well (which turned out to not be the case).
2) Because of the toxic victim mentality, inability to hear what I was saying (they listened, but didn’t hear), weaponized feelings, manipulative actions, and attempting to use old friends to convince me that I was simply confused (not positive on this, but pretty sure) I decided to put up boundaries to protect myself. <Note: This was not all of them, and some of this has gotten better>
3) I told them three things. That my name is Justice, and not to use my birthname; I am a trans woman, and to use feminine pronouns; and that if they were going to try to convince me of something about my identity, then I respectfully declined to put myself in those situations.
4) I didn’t reach out to them that much before this, so it is not like I cut off contact.
5) I have continued to have communication with every one of my family, barring one, as they have completely ignored my requests. I also, am not opposed to speaking to them, I am just not reaching out to someone that seemed to be an ally, until I told them something that they don’t agree with, and then started spitting venom. I think that they were ok (ish) with my questioning my gender, as long as I came to the conclusion that I was cisgender.
Sorry, dear, not the reality.
So, back to that email. Being transgender is not something I chose, am confused about, isn’t real, or is some fleeting thing like a hair color, or an outfit. It is a part of me, and always has been.
I can remember the first time I felt ok with myself and comfortable with my body. It was when I was 4 or 5 and was playing dress up. I wore a dress and and I felt at home in my own body for the first time. I couldn’t tell you that at that time, put words to it, or accept it, but that was the moment that I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I was transgender.
There have been thousands (if not millions) of moments, thoughts, feelings, and experiences that have given me pause, and looking back at them now, I just wonder how it took me so long.
Also, “listening to all sides again and again,” is not what this is about. My existence is not up for debate. Period.
I know that it must be hard for my family to deal with me being trans, but sorry, it is the truth. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell me that 2+2=19, it doesn’t make it accurate.
Intelligence is different than educated, and doesn’t equal logical or openminded or well. I told them how I have felt my entire life, and based on their religious views, or idea of who I am, even when I was telling them that they were mistaken, I was being told I am wrong. They see me as the person that I was, that I put up as a shield, to hide from myself and others, so I wouldn’t have to look at being trans. Eventually, I couldn’t keep the facade up anymore, and it broke.
And “blinding myseld to all other possibilities”? You mean a heterosexual cisgender male? Like the life I tried to live my entire life and it kept me stagnant, broken, and living in a world of grayscale and unhappiness? Sorry, I tried that, and it didn’t work, and it could have killed me. Not going back to that.
Multiple members of my family also were worried about me becoming sterile by being on HRT. Did any of them actually ask me if I want to have children? No, because if they had, I would have told them the answer. If I can’t bear children of my own, I don’t want, or need to be the biological parent, plus, there are so many kids that need love, family, and advocates, and I am happy to be that for them. Family doesn’t have to be blood.
I could go into the science or medical opinion on transgender people, or biological sex and gender, or the history of us (spoiler alert, been around for centuries, if not longer), but there are experts who are much more familiar and eloquent than I am, so if you are interested, simply take a look.
I hope that this has been helpful to at least one person, besides for me. If you have thoughts that are not coming from a place of willingness, and you are simply going to throw your opinion, with no facts, or an experience of your own, kindly, shove off.
I exist, I am valid, I am proud, I am transgender, I am strong.
Love, Light, and Laughter,
– Justice Faye Dazzle