Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Lack Of Imagination

Something I've experienced as a trans woman is people unashamedly expressing a lack of imagination.
There are those who state "I can't imagine what it's like to be stuck in the wrong body", which is just lazy!
And then there are those who use their lack of imagination as a way to attack my reality, (i.e. because they can't imagine how a transsexual can exist they insist I'm fake), which is just plain rude!
So, in an effort to bring some life to their imagination, I will try to explain it in a way that they can relate to (or at least those that have had an education can anyway!).
So, there you are at school, maybe 5 years old, and you've just had your first science lesson and learned that the thing that makes apples fall from the trees is called gravity.
Your head is alive with new knowledge and you want to test it out. And, yes, sure enough every time you jump up in the air you come back down to earth again. You're feeling pretty smart and boast to your mum about your new found knowledge. But your mum, being an adult, knows more than you.
"Don't be silly", she says. "You're a bird and you can fly."
You're taken by surprise. You're pretty sure you're a human but your mum says you're a bird and your mum wouldn't lie to you so you must surely be a bird!
But maybe you'll just ask your friends to make sure.
"Yes, That's right!", they exclaim. "You are a bird. You didn't think you were human did you? How silly!"
So you're feeling pretty silly now and no one likes looking silly, so you stop questioning the commonly held wisdom that you're a bird. Furthermore, so as not to raise eyebrows, you go through life trying to act like a bird.
But, try as you might, it just doesn't quite come together for you. Sure you can eat worms and chirp and hop about just like a bird but, try as you might, you just can't fly. For whatever reason, gravity holds you down to earth just like a human which, if truth be told, just confirms what you've thought all along but know better than to express publicly. If only you could rid yourself of this foolish notion that you're human!
But the notion won't go away and it bugs you and bugs you and bugs you. Until one day you just can't stand it any more. You simply have to express your humanity or you'll go loopy!
And that is what it's like to be trans. It doesn't matter how much anyone argues with me, I will always have the gut instinct that they are wrong and I am right.
This isn't some foolish notion that I've picked up over night. It's an instinct I've had for as long as I can remember and nothing has ever made it go away.
The only thing that has changed is my relationship with my own knowledge - from one that was destructive to one that is healthy.
So I will have no truck with people who are so selfish as to want to make me sacrifice my health for their own pleasure. To do so would to be truly insane!