RTL Today – Natalia Dembowska: Who’s afraid of trans people?

Transgender people generate the most controversy among the general public. They are by far the most likely to be victims of violent assaults and hate crimes. But if anger is a form of fear, then why are people so afraid of trans equality?

Transgender people are a minority who are by far the most harassed and assaulted, attracting a lot of hate, cruelty and discrimination. For centuries they have been persecuted on the basis of the expression of their gender identity, refusing to fully conform to existing norms. According to a recent study conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA, “transgender people are more than four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violence, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault.”

Often, cisgender people (those who feel comfortable in one of the binary genders, assigned at birth based on their sex) have difficulty understanding trans people and what their agenda is. As they do not feel personally concerned with the subject, gender theory is often not something they know; in fact, many never even question how they identify with their assigned gender, not once in their lives.
As a result, the general public is rather ignorant about the different aspects that make up their gender identity. It’s hard to blame them given that none of this is discussed in schools and the media coverage of trans people is not only primitive but highly offensive. As transgender people refuse to conform to gender norms, those who do conform may get a rather strange and uncomfortable feeling that maybe it’s something they might be thinking about too. How can you know how you feel about something if you’ve never given yourself the chance to think about it?

And that’s exactly when the moral tension kicks in. Let’s face it, whenever you’re aggressive about something, that’s when YOU have a problem with it, not someone else. . I’m not saying anyone who doesn’t support transgender has a problem. A lot of people just don’t relate to it as a topic and at least in this lifetime they just have other things to do. And it doesn’t matter. We don’t all have to be involved in everything. What I am saying is that anyone who is not transgender friendly and hostile to transgender projects definitely has a problem.
This problem is understandable to some extent. Given current gender norms, it’s safe to say that we’ve been indoctrinated to express one of two proposed genders and the overall societal institutionalized pressure makes it very difficult to even think of what might be outside of a spectrum. Considering the legitimacy of transgender unfortunately triggers for some of us a whole paradigm shift, a complete reorganization of life as we know it. Thus, some would rather aggressively deny the existence of trans people than change their whole view of life and the potential consequences for their psychological and emotional well-being.

In short: this shit is heavy for everyone, even those who think they are “normal” and transgender people are not. You are a cis girl or a cis boy, which no one has ever told you about, they just know what you have in your pants. You go to school, you follow your gender norms and if you sneak outside them you are ridiculed by your peers, often also by teachers. So you decide not to experiment, not to cross sacred gender boundaries – at all costs. You become a teenager, so as a girl you feel the pressure to look desirable, the pressure to sexualize yourself. For who? For the boys. Of course, not only reinforcing cis-normativity and heteronormativity, but also the abuse of women, by objectifying and sexualizing girls from an early age. This is the experience of rhetorical adolescent girls. You seek to be wanted but you also want to be hunted. You want to be the reward that someone works very hard for. Someone with power.

As a boy, you feel the societal pressure to desire, to conquer a girl, to show how many girls want you and how much you don’t care. Especially given what you are told about the girls, how much weaker they are than you, how different they are. When a boy cries, he is often told not to cry like a girl. So as a boy you want to look above it all, you want to look strong and unfazed. Someone people want, someone people fear. Someone with power. All of these statements are obviously reductionist because each individual is different and many different factors affect their behavior. But that’s exactly the point: we’re all different. Each person, despite their gender, has a unique set of qualities and defects, a different genetic makeup, different receptors in their cells and all of this has nothing to do with the genitals you have, let alone your identity. of gender. But our global socialization has unfortunately taught us something else and it is very difficult to decondition yourself from that and learn to look at gender, sex, sexual orientation, femininity and masculinity in a whole new light.

I’m non-binary and queer, so while overall equality and trans visibility are important to me personally, I want to include the views and opinions of the people in question rather than speaking for them myself. So, for this article, I based myself on a video called Gender reviews by Natalie Wynn – a trans political commentator known for her elaborate and creative video lectures on her YouTube channel, Counterpoints. In her videos she touches on many different contemporary issues, but this one is really close to my heart because it has clarified some aspects of transphobia that have intrigued me and made me aware of why it is an issue in first place. In the video, Wynn explains:
“The current discourse on transgender issues is an explosion of untreated sewage. We have far-right politicians threatening us with legal discrimination and erasure, we have fear and hostility in the press and that , combined with high rates of family rejection and abuse, puts trans people on the defensive, so in public we tend to stick together, concede nothing, and shield ourselves behind simple, no-nonsense slogans. ambiguity like “trans women are women!”, which is true: we are women. But what happens is that people who don’t really understand trans issues (i.e. most people) have a lot of unanswered questions about the details”.

If we don’t really understand what the problem is and no one is there to explain it to us, it’s hard for us to understand such a complex problem, complex enough to shake our usual paradigm. It would be really nice if someone explained to the general public a gender theory the way we like it: take us by the hand, break it down into manageable chunks, use examples and preferably have a fun little quiz at the end of the lesson. But we can’t always have things the way we want them to be, and unfortunately currently very important and relevant topics are usually not taught that way – especially when it comes to active socio-political issues. But sadly, it’s a norm when it comes to the most pressing societal issues, we tend to only think once we look back and apologize instead of being proactive.

The way it looks now is a handful of people deciding not to conform to certain standards, advocating for those standards to be changed, and then years later, if one is lucky enough or relentless enough (or rather both), a reform or a policy can be introduced. And even once that is done, it takes a long time for such changes to be truly absorbed by society or even diffused enough to reach a larger part of society. And that’s another reason people aren’t being proactive about it as an issue, other than being against the trans agenda. People just don’t know any better and societal changes take time when they happen on a larger scale.

So people feel they have to take matters into their own hands and defend themselves. There are perhaps a handful (if any) of people in decision-making positions who advocate for trans people. With such a painful lack of representation, individuals themselves must push the trans agenda forward as a form of battle for their own rights and identity. Often, they receive very cruel answers: insults, denials, rejections. Many are threatened by transgender people, they become very defensive and act as if by giving them equal rights to trans people, they lose part of their own power, of their own value. Equalizing everyone’s unique value as a human being, they believe that such freedom should only be allowed to those who are like themselves.

You don’t have to be afraid of someone else’s identity. It does not concern you and no one imposes anything on you. No one tells you to go trans, in fact almost no one asks you for your pronouns. It will take years to normalize the act of not assuming someone’s gender, so if you don’t like it that much, you can rest assured that probably until the end of your life you will be identified on the base of your genitalia and there is not even much you can do about it in concrete and immediate situations of everyday life.

But then why are you afraid? If no one asks you, why are you answering? Why do you anticipate that everyone will suddenly turn trans if we let trans people? Maybe what scares you isn’t trans people. Maybe you’re just afraid of your own potential complexity?

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