Feedback Request: A radical safety idea…

22 Jul

I am posting something I’ve been thinking about for a while and have discussed with a couple of my friends in hope of getting some feedback. If you read my blog, twitter, or facebook you are aware of my recent bullying situation. The entire affair has had a very detrimental effect on my mental health and caused me enormous stress. I noticed one of the worst things aout the situation for me was that I was unprepared for this happening and I had no control over it at all. I also still don’t know who is and isn’t comfortable with me in the classroom. Having considered this I came up with as idea and wondered if it seemed crazy.

I am thinking that from now on I will go to school in a completely out fashion. I am already out to whoever asks but I mean more in the wear my trans symbol necklace, have a trans pride sticker from Toronto pride on my book bag kind of out. Basically, I would be declaring to the world loudly and clearly that I am trans. I see this as an advantage in several ways. Firstly, I would immediately get an idea of who the allies and problem spots are in my classes. This allows me to mentally prepare and also to avoid the people I need to avoid. Secondly, it would give people a chance to ask me questions and to see a trans person as a real person. It would be a chance to educate and normalize being trans. Thirdly, it would allow me to become more comfortable with myself as a trans person and leave behind that baggage of shame. It would be me saying “I am trans do you have a problem with me? I don’t have a problem with me.”

There is the downside. I would be very open for mockery, abuse, and potentially violence. I would have to get used to the looks and the gossip because I know from past experience they happen. I know some people will also distance themselves from me who otherwise wouldn’t. Most worryingly, I would open myself up for discrimination and mistreatment from teachers and authorities which is a very difficult situation to handle.

Any thoughts or any extra things you think I should consider? Feel free to reply to the post or use my contact info for direct mail/twitter if you prefer.  I would really like some other peoples input as this would be a big step.

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6 Responses to “Feedback Request: A radical safety idea…”

  1. Dalillama July 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    As a cis man, I have a limited amount of input for you on that one. Given my experience of bullying, though, I don’t think you’ll take a larger degree of shit from your classmates in that situation than you already do, although there’s the possibility of harassment outside of class to consider as well. I guess that all I can really say is that I’m the last one to be able to tell you what to do in this context though, because of the cis/male thing. You have my support and best wishes either way, though.

    • annarenees July 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      Thank you I really do appreciate the support 🙂

  2. april mcferran August 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Anna, your solution is a familiar one. I have developed a certain I’m trans here I am policy , and actually it has given me a certain amount of self-esteem.

    Taking this position was partly to an acceptance that my appearance encourages misgendering as I had a late transition , and testosterone has had it’s way with me . Partly this decision is based in my trans political identity:

    You mentioned your fears of ridicule, violence and abuse . I recognize that list fears .I have a copy of ithem on my refrigerator! But think of it this way , and forgive me if I overstep your bounds, or sound too cynical. You already have had the experience of bullying(mild violence) teachers misgendering(run in with authority) gossip e.t.c and this all took place when you weren’t blatantly displaying trans pride. Will it get significantly worse if you were to carry out your idea? My gut tells me no, that any threat to you is the same out and proud or not. So why not at least have the invigorating and self nourishing milk of pride ?

    However it plays out though you have my well wishes, and sister I got your back.

    .

    • annarenees August 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      Thank you for the reply 🙂 I did actually decide to go through with this idea. I have found it helped with my own self esteem and I like the ability to increase trans visibility and education.

      I think on balance I prefer this route to hiding, I finally tranistioned late also and I hated hiding. I prefer to rebuild my life as Anna and as trans. It shouldnt be a choice of being accepted as a woman woman or being trans; I want both. The thought of hiding again makes me ill.

      It does help knowing that people have my back though. I love my community. For that my sincerest thanks.

  3. tualha August 6, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    Hi Anna,

    This sounds like a good idea to me. Some relevant info about my own background: I’m 47 and had no idea I was trans until around age 36. I also have Aspergers, so I’ve always been somewhat out of sync with most people around me and endured a certain amount of ostracism and bullying. Since realizing I was trans, my progress has been rather slow; I’m still not sure where I want to go with it, but things have sped up recently and I’ve started wearing my hair longer and in a somewhat feminine style. And I decided to do that at work too.

    I think in my case I’ve gotten old enough to accumulate a certain amount of “crust” and to be able to say, to hell with anyone and everyone who has a problem with the way I am, and to be able to look them in the eye and demand respect. I was a lot more vulnerable to other peoples’ negative attitudes up until a few years ago. Of course it also helps that there’s legal protection against trans discriminination where I live, and my skills are valued where I work.

    In my case, I get a fair number of double-takes and stares, but there hasn’t been a real problem so far. (One advantage of being an Aspie is that I tend not to look people in the eye unless I have reason to, so if people are glaring at me, I usually don’t notice it. Heh.)

    Anyway, I think acting like you’re proud of who you are will help you to feel that way for real, and will probably help with some of the bullies. Predators always prefer the easy prey, you know? The antelope who’s limping or the shy girl who’d be way too ashamed to report being raped. They don’t want to have to work too hard. Let them know you’d be too much work.

    • annarenees August 6, 2012 at 3:15 am #

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      Yeah I have legal protections here too (I am in Ontario) but legal protections and real protections are not always the same thing. I have found being really out has worked so far and plan to extend my plan into the new school year at my regular school. If that works I will do it at college to. I really enjoy not having to worry about who knows and who doesnt and im proud of the changes ive made in my life.

      I also think you are right about the bullies. If I dont act upset they will likely lose interest.

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