Lacking Narrative

There is a significant lack of trans* narrative. Where there Is, it is dominated by white trans men/trans masculine people like myself (somewhat). Most trans* narrative is by binary trans* people. The media and society love passable trans* people. Not only passable, but especially stereotypically feminine trans women and stereotypically masculine trans men. They like trans* people to adhere to the binary and perpetuate it. Few non-binary trans narratives exist. Even fewer trans* POC narratives exist. Think about the popular transgender people in media. Look at the transgender people who are given the chance to be the face of the trans* movement and the struggles and problems. It’s not people like CeCe McDonald. It’s people like Chaz Bono. You don’t see trans men like myself who are extremely feminine and prefer high heels and tight jeans to sneakers and slacks. According to the popular media, we do not exist. Now, there is nothing wrong with being a binary trans* person. Absolutely nothing. You are who you are and you like what you like. Binary trans* people are not the problem, the lack of non-binary coverage by the mainstream media, or being a face of the community is the problem. Another issue is that so many trans* narratives (both fiction and non) are not even written by trans* people.

I shouldn’t have to explain why this is a bad thing that cis people from all sides, queer and non, telling and writing stories about, to, for, and of trans* people. Now, I am not saying any form of trans* inclusion (positive, well-informed and researched, etc) isn’t wonderful and that cis people cannot write about trans* people. That is not the case. The problem is the fact that these narratives are overshadowing those written by actual trans* people. Our own stories are overshadowed by those from the majority. So why is this a problem? Shouldn’t we be happy to have people speaking for us? Shouldn’t we be grateful that cis allies care so much about us and our cause? Well, let me pop that bubble. It’s not wonderful if it comes at the cost of being pushed to the side so that our “wonderful” allies can get a pat on the back for being decent humans. Not if it comes at the cost of silencing actual trans* people and their experiences for those of cis people interacting with trans* people. It should be us (trans* people) on the podium with allies nodding their heads in agreement, not the other way around.

It’s not some crazy radical queer agenda to let trans* people do the talking (not that radical queer agendas aren’t awesome).  But, unlike the Lorax and his trees, we have our own voices and can speak out (literally and figuratively). We can tell our own stories, in our own ways. Let us tell them while you sit quietly. Do not interject or correct our stories. They are ours. We are the experts on our stories and lives. We are the sole source. You listen, learn, and educate yourselves. Ask questions only when told appropriate. We are not walking dictionaries of trans* experience. We are not pamphlets that you can just open and skim at your leisure. Google exists for a reason. Use it. If someone’s narrative differs from yours, what you were told or know, allow it to differ. Humans are beings molded from their experiences and our own unique realities. No one isn’t trans* because their narrative differs from yours, the norm, etc. No one isn’t  trans* because of how they discovered it, how sudden it came on, how they previously acted, or how they act now. People are the experts of their own lives and identities. So, sit back back and let us talk. Trust me when I say that trans* people have some amazing stories to tell.

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