The Trans Working Group

The emotional toll of relentless hatred

This piece was written a few months ago by a member of the Trans Working Group in response to feeling overwhelmed by the relentless platforming of transphobia in the media and through online discourse. It is incredibly telling that the situation has only intensified since then, with the hostility trans people face worsening with each headline and moving increasingly from paper and screens to legislation and action. Recently it was leaked that the Equality and Human Rights Committee wish to ban trans people from using public toilets, essentially stopping trans people from existing within public spaces, and now the government has announced that trans conversion therapy will excluded from the ban on other forms of conversion therapy. The government has announced that they are happy for the torture of trans individuals, with the aim of a “cure” for transness, to continue. There is no humanity within this vile decision. Action must be taken against such direct attacks upon the right of trans people to exist and to have no shame in their identity. We must remain vocal and refuse to be drowned out. However, news like this hits hard. The emotional toll is heavy and time is needed to process and to care for ourselves and one another. We post this now to show our trans comrades they are not alone in feeling run down by such terrible news, and to give our cis comrades an insight into the emotional struggle we face.

The reality of being trans on ‘terf island’ is shit.

As a trans person I don’t want to focus on trans suffering, I want to focus on trans joy. I don’t want to give in to the feelings of hopelessness, I want to be strong. I don’t want to let the terfs win, I want to proudly be myself. But that doesn’t always happen; when there’s endless attacks on my ability to live my life as who I am, the negative impact is huge.

I am reminded that the terfs are a loud minority, but it’s easy to forget the space they are given makes it seem as if they are everywhere. The reality is there are journalists, writers, politicians, teachers, lawyers, doctors and more who do not want people like me to exist in public spaces or at all, and there are reminders of that everyday in the news, online and in our day to day lives. The voices who stand up for us seem so quiet in comparison and it’s easy to feel like we are alone in this fight. When politicians on the left and right alike call for our exclusion and incite hatred towards us, how are we supposed to feel anything other than helplessness?

Transphobia in the media has become so common it’s no longer surprising but it doesn’t make it any easier to see.In the time between writing and posting this, I’m sure the current worst violently targeted transphobic article will be topped by one that’s even worse, the only element of surprise left is whether it’ll be from the BBC or The Times. Every single article, headline, tweet, they all still hurt and the pain adds up. It is so incredibly overwhelming and although many days the anger manifests as determination, sometimes it just leaves me with a deep sadness and a desire to hide from the world.

I don’t say this for pity and I certainly do not wish to incite hopelessness in others. But because it’s something I think cis people need to hear – they need to know how bad it is and how personal the affects are. We need to remain vocal and stay mobilised but the current reality is bleak and sometimes I need a day off.

Today I rest, tomorrow we fight.

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