Today is Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate and represent the transgender community and our inherent existence across the whole of the gender spectrum of our species. Some of us hang out at the traditional binary poles of manly men and femme women, while others of us populate the diverse and colourful festival of enbies, theys and queers. We also exist in all the spaces between, and across all other dimensional axes such as the political spectrums, tax brackets, sexualities and all mental health conditions. Just like cis people, some of us have achieved varying subjective levels of enlightenment, and some of us are trapped in pain and blaming everyone else for it. Some of us recognise and accept our inner struggles to be gender dysphoria at a young age, and some of us suffer for decades before discovering our options. Some of us want to smash the gender binary and all social constructs that manifest from it, while others of us want to assimilate and live quiet normal lives like our cis peers often seem to. Somewhere out there, there is a trans person with the exact same interests and gender expression as you. Elsewhere, you will find a trans person so foreign to what you understand that they may as well be an alien.
Despite some of both the cis and trans communities’ efforts to put conditions on being trans, there are no rules when it comes to trans-ness. Just feeling trans is enough to qualify. This is a point of contention within the trans community, and one that cis people who do not understand or empathise with trans people can often weaponize against the community. The debate of what characteristics should be the benchmark for determining if somebody is trans or not is one that has historically been used by medical establishments all over the world to gatekeep transgender healthcare, based on arbitrary conditions that nobody would ever ask a cis person to meet in order to access the same medications and treatments. So many of us have experienced this gatekeeping first hand when dealing with public or private healthcare providers, yet a vocal few from within our community use these same rigid standards of trans categorization to police the community from within. There are some trans people out there who believe non binary people are not trans, and that for them to call themselves trans is to turn what they view as an unfortunate medical condition into a fashion trend, adopted for countercultural capital and coolness – nothing more than an act of oppression appropriation. Some of these commentators even go as far as to side with right wing transphobic voices, to prove to the world that they are one of the “good transes”, unlike those SJW snowflakes trying to feel special and relevant.
Thankfully, these voices are in the minority, in both the trans community and in our larger global community of humans. While every country and community moves at its own speed, society is become more accepting and representative of trans and non binary people overall. Despite the anti trans rhetoric shouted by a certain niche branch of radical second wave feminists, feminism as a whole is overwhelmingly inclusive of both trans and non binary people, understanding that the fight for gender equality includes all marginalized genders. Trans men get it. Trans women get it. Non binary folk get it. We all suffer when patriarchal values are societally and institutionally elevated over qualities associated with femininity. Even men suffer from this heightened importance put on practicality, productivity, stoicism and objective truth.
One great thing I’ve noticed over the past few years as people’s understanding of the concept of gender diversity has become viral to the point of near-integration is the steep increase in people dropping out of individualistic capitalistic society, and opting more and more for co-operative, compassionate and conscious ways of living. Sure we all still have to pay the bills (until we can all agree on UBI or to make everything free ✊), but the values we gathered as a society as we raced through the agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions are visibly dismantling themselves into something new, more expansive and loving. #MeToo, #BLM, #TDOV all exist to empower the disempowered, and while many may scoff at the ease and accessibility of alignment with these social causes, nobody can argue that each hasn’t contributed to a cultural shift of a magnitude that will likely be remembered for many generations to come. We exist at the beginning of something new and magnificent – a shift in values so widespread that I wouldn’t be surprised if this time in history will be dated as the transition into a new epoch of humanity.
I’m so grateful to be alive at this time, and I’m so glad you are here with me. We’ve done something special. All growth comes with teething pains and aches, but whatever form we take when we emerge from our cultural chrysalis, I believe it will precipitate some version of utopia in the coming years and decades. Either that or we all cook or freeze or get blown away by climate change, but I think once we all stop arguing about who’s right and what’s wrong, we’re going to come together in some pretty impressive ways to become part of the planet’s healing process. I have faith in Us.
Here is a poem to bring my rambles to a close
Down The Middle
I don't mention this all too often
As I do like letting others wonder
But the time has come for me to represent
And inform you I'm non-binary transgender
Sometimes when I share this,
The other will apologise
And say "oh, how hard it must be"
So I tell them that it's considerably more fun
Than trying to squish into the binary
Wanna see a balanced human?
Look to the edge of convention
The man who feels pretty in a skirt
And the women who shout louder than the men
Yes I sometimes feel lonely
And it often feels like no-one wants me
Or they only desire me platonically
But I'd choose loneliness any day
Over feeling pressure to not be
To live so stereotypically
To deny nature so stubbornly
To fit into roles humanity
Wants to evolve away from anyway
We are here to learn polarity
Not be caged by it indefinitely
So I'll continue to let go of what's not me
And hope you'll join me
In feeling free
Burn the rule book
Be your own other half
Break the condition
And relate to the world as a human
Rather than as a man or a woman
Cuz everyone likes to feel pretty sometimes
And everyone likes to feel strong
And everyone likes to feel in control
And everyone likes to flow
If you wanna explore your gender, do it
If you wanna explore your sexuality, do it
If you wanna explore altered states, do it
If you wanna explore other cultures, do it
If you wanna explore alternative lifestyles, do it
If you wanna get good at something, do it
If you wanna burn it all down, do it
Burn it all down
Build up from the ground
When it stops glowing
Come on back around
Life's too short for a soul to go stale
So let's put on a show for the highlight reel
I'm gonna be the most human human who ever lived
The hetero homo
Bi demi pan romantic
The boy with boobs
And the chick with the dick
The socio'n'empathic and
Martyr King and Queen Jester fantastic
So let's dance
In our pants
How fucking mad it is we're even here
You, out of every other sperm it could have been
You out of every other you you could have been
You, out of everyone else that could have been
What did you make it here to learn?
To fit a star through a square hole?
Or fit into the only you-shaped keyhole in the world?
What might we do once we all fit in place?
I'm not sure there's much out there that we couldn't face
All that's between us and that harmonic space
Is to accept all the different forms It can take
So to anyone out there that might like to sing
Let's point our choruses towards the same holy thing
And declare to universe