You don't have to hate me

You don’t have to hate me. Because I am not trying to stand on any ground you claim as yours.

You don’t have to hate me because I have always been taught to hate myself. I can take it from here. Ever since I was four I felt I was somehow wrong and when I expressed that in words that made sense to me I was punished.

As I got older my body and my mind didn’t fit with each other. I didn’t know why. I wanted them to, I prayed to God and asked God to change my body. I wished on every star and birthday cake too.

I asked my parents for help but was ridiculed and endured a punishment and re-education programs. I learned to shut up and conform. I knew I was a freak. I was sure I should hate myself. I didn’t know why this was happening to me and I felt so confused and scared. I hoped it would go away when I got bigger so that I could be like how everyone else seemed to be. Accepting of their own skin. How I longed to have that.

I learned to be what I needed to be. To say the right things, to behave the right way. But it never did go away and puberty started changing my body, making it even more wrong, ever more disgusting. My desperation grew and my desire to go on living ebbed away. At nineteen I tried to end it. Alone and gently weeping in a student dorm room I wrote my farewells to my family and swallowed pills.

I woke to the reality that I hadn’t died and spent the next day waiting to see what happened next. I read the letters I had left and realised the devastation my death would bring. I didn’t want to die anymore. I chose to try to build a life that put my feelings to one side if that was possible. I chose life.

Over time it slowly became easier for transgender people to come out and transition. I regularly re-assessed my position but always felt that it was not possible for me. I knew my family would never be accepting. I knew society was still basically intolerant and I knew as I got older my chances of transitioning succesfully diminished.

That’s why I am no threat to you. That’s why you don’t need to hate me. I will live out the rest of my life and never attempt to encroach onto your territory. Your restrooms and changing rooms are safe from me, I have no interest in them. I have no interest in them because I am not a sexual deviant or a sexual abuser.

Every space you believe is sacred is safe from me. Just like the stigmatised and abused gay men of the 50s,60, 70s and 80s who were accused of being child molestors and paedophiles I am not a sexual predator and neither are the vast overwhelming majority of my transgender bothers and sisters.

We are a marginalised and vulnerable minority. We are the targets of violence and intimidation not the perpetrators. We ask to be given rights to protect us from those who hate. We ask that those rights are not taken away just because a criminal element have sought to exploit our status for their own advantage.

A society is judged by the compassion it shows to its minority communities. Compassion is all we seek.

Aiming for happiness

I’ve often wondered if happiness is something you can just have or experience for long periods of time.

My experience suggests no. For me happiness is a transient state. I don’t think I can ever find happiness and then keep it forever.

Being Happy

I seem to live my life in a state of flux. If I am lucky I find a level of contentment that hopefully is bearable and life continues in this steady state in a “business as usual” mode. When something great happens in my life it can raise my feeling of happiness and contentment to a higher level. It will stay there for a while but will return to the steady state.

Conversely when something gets me down my mood will be lowered and depressed somewhat but hopefully it will eventually elevate back to steady state.

Friends, family, pets, hobbies, sports, the arts, travel and even crafts can all help us to raise our mood. Maybe its just the social engagement that does it.

Expecting to be perpetually happy is unrealistic at least for me.

Carrying a rock up a hill

But one thing we all seem to need. We all need a rock that we are trying to carry up a hill. That is to say we all need a challenge in our lives that looms large and is difficult to overcome. It could be our challenging job or our upcoming gig or even our transition. But without a challenge to engage us our lives can seem purposeless.

We all need to find our rock and decide which hill we are climbing with it. As the song says “It’s the climb”.

In fact the climb is our life playing itself out. In a sense reaching the top, although important, is secondary to the journey.

Even when we reach the topi we are gonna need a new rock and a new hill. Our lives need purpose and challenge.

Conclusion

Our life is a journey and for it to feel worthwhile we need to feel challenged and overcome adversity. On our journey we will feel highs and lows. If we are lucky the highs will outnumber the lows.

Life is hard but it can also be wonderful. It will never be perfect but it wont always feel bad either. The sun always comes up eventually.