so this weekend my post about my experience with psychosurgery blew up all over Reddit.
there were responses in three camps, somewhat as expected:
- you’re so brave!
- you’re full of shit!
- omg that’s horrible wtf world?
while i’d rather not be either of the first two, for some reason the second hit especially hard. partially, i’m sure, because nobody wants to be accused of being full of shit, but also partially because i’m scared that judgments like that will prevent me from ever being taken seriously and i’m really afraid of that. part of the reason i started blogging was to try to figure out how to provide an alternative voice to the consistently white-and-privileged trans voices that are seen, but at the same time i know that i’ve sometimes done something else that blogs are for, namely exorcised my own personal demons for a public audience. some of those demons include the suck of isolation, the fact that the “trans community” is a treehouse open to a limited segment of trans people, and yes, that i am a survivor of various types of physical, sexual, and medical violence. i can’t be me without talking about a lot of that stuff, you see…and i think this is perfectly reasonable, but i’m kind of wondering how to be taken seriously in light of what happened this weekend.
at the same time, i discovered last week from one of the illustrious organizers of Remembering Your Dead that apparently my reports of mispronouncing and mispronouning at Remembering Your Dead (and having a dance party afterwards!) aren’t credible because nobody in the local “trans community” knows me and can verify this. this is a fine example of how to build walls: tell someone that because nobody knows who you are, you must not count. i’ve presented a consistent identity with this blog and twitter; i used to go by Violet in a few IRC channels here and there in the late-00s, but i concluded that i liked my desired-but-disallowed name of Erica and wanted to reclaim it…as i’ve said, Erica is not my real name and i have been very plain from the get-go that this is the case. not everyone lives with the social privilege of being out, and i have what is best described as a “fuckton” of student loan debt and given that it’s hard enough being visibly queer, disabled, and not especially pretty when looking for work, it’s sort of ridiculous to hold me to that standard especially given that i have no local backup whatsoever. i’m trying to work through and accept the isolation thing and i’m doing a horrible job because it just makes me very much down on myself.
i hate admitting that i’m not allowed in the treehouse, folks, it makes me feel really pathetic. i do not gain some strength from being an outsider…i’d rather not be. i am not used to being an outsider because though i’m not everyone’s BFF, i certainly am not some friendless weasel or anything…i don’t do especially well with the outsider role because it’s strange to me and i don’t know what to do when stuck in it. usually i can gather together all the outsiders and people without cliques and get them together, but that doesn’t work so well in this case. there are voices and people who are trans who are shut out by how much we don’t really show any diversity in our community, from the reality that yes, butch trans women do exist (hi) to that we come in these strange flavors like multiracial or disabled.
i’m afraid that centering any of these things makes one eternally on the fringe, and because i opened up about something admittedly fairly dramatic that happened to me, i wonder if i’m ever going to be able to get past that…i know there are going to be people who disbelieve and i accept that…hell, i’ve spent much of my life trying to disbelieve. but what i guess i’m wondering is “now what do i do?”
i don’t want to be brave, i don’t want to be seen as a liar, and dear lord i don’t want to be seen as “lobotomy girl” forever and ever, but where do i go from here?
(ps: the title of this article is a reference to an Against Me! song…by the by, i loved them even when i didn’t know they had a female vocalist…if you don’t know “because of the shame” i suggest you do: youtube link to “because of the shame” )