My Guilty Secret
I am not a psychiatrist, social worker, politician, religious leader, therapist or sex worker. I do know exactly what I am though! I am a deliriously happy trans-gender person. This was not always the case. Many years ago, in what seems like a parallel universe, far far away, I was a seriously screwed up child, teenager, newlywed and middle-aged person. Why, you may ask? Well, I am also not a sociologist – which is a pity because had I been, I might have understood how and why our social conventions are formed and why ‘society’ feels the need to control everyday life, opinions and attitudes. Throughout history, powerful people have sought to maintain their power by force, religions, political opinions, laws and moral constraints. In short ‘do as I say, and we will all be happy.’
Sorry, but Angela seems to be getting all serious today! Well, the point is this – we can not all go around doing exactly as we please, can we? It would end very badly! In the whole scheme of things, our sexuality is surely not high up in the pecking order for causing anarchy and unrest on the streets! Apparently religious leaders throughout history have thought otherwise and used on thing to control our behaviour. Guilt. If any person can be made to feel guilty about something, then maybe they won’t be inclined to behave in a particular way. Problem solved. Status quo maintained. Everyone be normal ad life is perfect – isn’t it? Well actually no – it isn’t. We are all different, some of us more conspicuously so! It is not obvious when we are train-spotters, football fanatics or animal lovers, is it! But to be ‘trans’ – on whatever part of the spectrum – is fairly clear to see. We are an easy target – or rather we were! Back in the bad old days – i.e. before the new millennium – any male who showed the slightest hint of femininity in the apparently butch, macho, straight or normal’ world would be labelled as gay, queer, soft, effeminate etc. And with this labelling came a sense of guilt. Our guilt kept us imprisoned behind closed doors and God help us if we stepped beyond the threshold!
But now! – well, in this brave new world, young people especially, seem much more tolerant of anyone who, through no fault of their own, realise they will not be pigeonholed into convenient boxes. It is now ok to be different, strange, quirky, gay, interesting and have views not shared by older people. Of course, this is not an opinion shared by all young people, but I think hostile people are now in the minority and probably are only so outspoken and bigoted by peer-pressure.
But I could be wrong! Our sense of guilt used to be imposed on us by society but now it is self-inflicted. We are our own worst enemy. So how do we lose our guilt? Well, by normalising what we are. The more visible we become, the less other-worldly we seem. As celebrities become more open about their sexuality and lifestyle choices, the freer ‘ordinary’ folk feel generally.
As trans-people we have many hurdles to overcome, from the practicalities of dressing in a different gender from the one we were born into, to telling those close to us about this. But if we can overcome our sense of guilt – and also failure, disappointment and deceit – then our lives must surely be made more bearable – and actually enjoyable!
Here endeth the first lesson my darlings! I may be preaching to the converted but some of us only reach this ‘road to Damascus’ moment only late in life (sorry for so many religious references but I was brought up a good Christian boy/girl and some of it pops up now and again when looking for a good quotation!)
So, to ‘state-the-bleeding-obvious,’ I think we should all – whatever our gender quirks – get out there and become more visible. Or you could just stay behind your front door and feel bad about yourself. The choice – as they say – is yours.
If you would like to find a trans support group in your area, check out Trans Unite website here.
For details on Trans Pride Brighton click here.
You can find Trans Pride London’s Instagram here.
A full list of UK Prides can be found here.