A comment on being heard

If I may comment on the importance of being heard. One of my observations is that many conversations between trans people and women don’t get anywhere near discussing any actual issues because of the offence caused early on.

This goes both ways and I certainly don’t think that women should be (as they always are) the ones that should have to give ground. However I think understanding what causes trans people to go off the deep end might be useful in order to be heard.

I often hear people say that “being a man is not a value statement. It’s just a fact”, or that “man just means adult human male”. But to a transwoman they ARE seen as value statements. The word “man” is imbued with everything that we (well some of us) are trying to escape. To lump us in
with the group “man” (especially at first encounter before even having any chance to assess who we are) is seen as being prejudicial and intentionally hurtful.

In reality I think there are a number of reasons for this and these vary across people. For some undoubtedly this is because it’s an affront on our fragile egoes. We want to pass and we kid ourselves that we do and the truth hurts.

Another reason is that it echoes the bullying that many of us have heard throughout our lives. Most of us encounter ridicule along the way and this leads to shame and very low self worth. When we hear the same words that we have heard from the bullies we automatically assume that the intent is the same. To demean and ridicule us or attack our self worth and validity.

Because of this, most transwomen suffer from deep internalised transphobia. They are ashamed of being
trans, and more specifically, they are ashamed of being men in dresses (see earlier point about bullying and ridicule) and so they desperately want to believe that transwomen are women because it’s much easier then
believing that it’s ok to be a man in a dress (society constantly instills in us the belief that it’s not OK to be a man in a dress).

And finally, some of us see the social group of "man” as everything that we despise. It doesn’t just mean adult human male. It means a person who
acts with entitlement to women. A person who views women as sexual conquests. A person who expects women to look after them and make their life comfortable. A person who talks about women in the way that I’ve
heard them talk about women when there are none present. A person that makes me deeply uncomfortable.

Now I know that none of this is the problem of women. These are all problems for trans people
to deal with that are caused, predominantly, by men. I don’t say any of this to expect sympathy or as an expectation of anyone to change their views or behaviours. I offer it only as an insight into how words are
heard. I hope that this may help in some way in the aim to be heard, because women’s voices need to be heard, and not dismissed as the voices of a small minority of hysterical bigots.

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