Note: I first posted this to Facebook. Placed it here with links as a call to action.
I know a lot of trans people in my life, and in the past year, I had to convince several of them to please stay alive. At least two of them were unsuccessful in attempts. This terrifies me, and yet at the same time, I can understand their pain and fear and frustration. It’s hard to see the worth in living in a society like ours.
Society treats us like we’re garbage. There has been numerous times where I’ve encountered people referring to me as an “it.” I’ve had death threats leveled against me. In an alarming amount of states, politicians are putting forth legislation that would make it harder for me to use public restrooms (if I can at all). Studies have shown that trans people have tremendously high rates of discrimination in health care, housing, employment, and are often in poverty. Since the start of this year in the US alone, nearly a dozen trans people have died — some murdered and some by suicide, and these are only the ones reported and found. It is hard to not feel like society is waging a war to destroy us.
Over 40% of trans people will have (or have) attempted suicide. Society tells us over and over that we are better off dead, that we shouldn’t exist, and even in our deaths, we are erased. Families often refusing to honor pronouns, burying us with the wrong names.
For all my trans friends out there, please know that you are loved. Yes, society treats us badly, but I care about you and I don’t want you to die. Please, stay alive with me and let’s build our safe space together.
And to my cisgender friends, please don’t sit on the sidelines. Please fight against society’s war on our bodies and identities — and please help remind us that life is worth living, that we are beautiful and worthy in our own rights, that are identities will be respected and honored, and that we do have hope for a better future.
I really want to believe that life can get better. That death isn’t our only option, and that someday we will live in a society that respects all trans people, affords us the care and dignity all should have, and doesn’t try to kill or vilify us. Please, you have to help us fix society.
i completely understand and have thought of suicide more than once……………sigh i just wish that i was even a little brave so that i would finally start hormones.
It can be really hard to do. A few months ago I just went to a safe trans-friendly doctor, and just asked for information. Ended up starting hormones not long after. It was super hard to do, but it helped that I had some supportive friends. But it took me years to build up the courage to do it. I feel better now, but yeah, I can understand how hard it is to do it.
So I can understand. Just know you are not alone.
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The English language has limitations. For instance, there is no pronoun for God. God is a spirit and as spirit is neither male or female. The English language has a pronoun for male, for female, and for objects (it). God thereof has no pronoun which describes God. Humans who are physically female, but feel male or vice versa also have no pronoun in the English . Perhaps we could have a new English pronoun: hesh. This is a sincere suggestion.
I put in the above post about language because people do not realize how much language is the basis for culture and society. The aluets and other far north peoples have many words for various kinds of snow. English does not. Peoples who live near the ocean had many words for seas and waters ,etc. If you want to change how a culture looks at something, the language, which is the way that culture is expressed, may have to change too.
Yes, I understand your comment. I write a lot. I created languages to better explore the Elivera world I created because of how language and so integrated into culture. I understand this.
However, you are wrong in that the English language has limitations. There is a gender neutral pronoun — the singular they has existed for centuries and has come in and out of usage based on how people use it in that time period. People today will often use it to reference one person, so it is a misnomer to say ‘they’ cannot be used in singular. Numerous texts can be found throughout history that used ‘they’ in plural or singular. This can be used for gender neutral (or non-binary) people if that is the pronoun they wish.
And that’s the crux of this argument — what are the pronouns that trans people prefer? Trans people all are legitimate and real. Their gender is real and true, and the pronouns they wish to use often do exist in the English language. The problem isn’t English’s limitations.
Trans people prefer the pronouns they deem are right for them, whether it be he or she or they, and whatever pronouns they deem is right for them should be respected and used. That is how you properly respect a trans person. Ask them what pronouns they use and then use those pronouns. It’s not that the English language has limitations. It’s that people are refusing to accept that trans people exist and that we have every right to dignity and respect as any other person. People are choosing to disrespect us by using the wrong pronouns, by misgendering us, by invalidating our identities. People within our culture are treating trans people as if we are monsters, or freaks, or dangerous beings threatening the way of life of normal Americans. That isn’t a language problem. That’s hatred and bigotry. Part of it stems from the unknown, and part of it stems from a lack of empathy and a lack of willingness to view someone different as someone who is human and just as worthy of respect and dignity as yourself.
All people are worthy of respect and dignity. That truth is a given in any comment I make on any site. All people, rather in the womb, in prison, mentally ill, or of other genders or genders, are worthy of dignity and respect. Having said that: I did not know that they was a pronoun for a single person. I have always thought it meant more then one. If you or anyone else prefers the pronoun they in reference to yourself that is fine with me. I still say that English, like all languages is limited. However, all languages can be very flexible and old meanings can become used again just as much as new meanings to new words can be invented.