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on August 24, 2018 at 5:00 AM in lobby
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I can't really reply without sounding like a dismissive jerk right now, but I can't seem to not reply either. All I really want to do is apologize. I seem to have found in you some sort of a connection where I feel comfortable saying things to an individual I find particularly relatable, but I am still fetishizing you. I am still talking to "every trans woman everywhere", and since I raised AFABs in the '90s, that most likely includes little girls dismissed as "tag along little brothers who would just get in the way".
It's a great big shit sandwich to realize you've fucked up in the way I fucked up. I never beat up a girl or forced her to pretend to be a little boy, but I have to live with my silence forever. I sat there in this great big forum full of TERFs because I needed something from them and I knew that what they were saying was wrong, I had even supported trans girls who couldn't afford surgery on other forums and said things like, "But you are a girl! Don't you ever forget that! Nothing can change that fact." and told my toddler, "That's not a man in a dress, that's Auntie Lala!" but when I was faced with authority figures who told me this is what feminists think and if I wanted to be a feminist I had to think like the other feminists, I didn't stand up for my friends or my own judgement. I just sat down, shut up, and did what I was told.
I am furious that you have to live the way you do. I don't even know who I mean by "you" right now, whether I am speaking to every trans woman who was ever born in the 1990s, every trans woman who was ever born, every trans person who was ever born, or the unique in all the world individual I know as GaldraChevaliere.
You are a kind, caring, nurturing, valuable human being. You have shown that to me in a few words on a radical politics forum, but in a way that I don't believe trolls and bad guys can fake. You deserve to have a chance of having what you want in life and an opportunity to use your strengths and talents to make the world a better place.
It disgusts me that you are prostituted into a sick fetish, and that this is the only way you can survive. It appalls me that you have to live in a world that cannot see any more value in you than a sex toy. Why I feel this impotent rage for someone else and just shrug "meh" when the world tells me I'm not good enough to scrub its toilet is probably a societal problem that isn't going to get fixed.
But understanding why I need to mind my own business and why it's not okay to walk up to random trans girls and apologize on behalf of my gender is something I can work on. I'm trying very hard. I'm not quite there yet. I'm still an asshole and I'm going to be an asshole for a little while.
I can't fix that.
Thank you for understanding. That was a beautiful piece of writing and a wonderful gift you just gave me. I hope it did not cost more than you could afford.
It cost way more than I could afford.
It cost way more than you could afford either, but you wrote it anyway.
I look forward to seeing your posts while I am looking around the boards.
ETA: My brother didn't make it to 30, in case anyone was wondering, and I never got around to grieving his death even though he died in the early '90s. Shrink says I can't keep putting off my chores forever even though I don't know how to do them so boo hoo or whateverthefuck I'm supposed to say.
I honestly don't feel like you personally disrespect or don't value me. You've always been at the very least polite around the forum and I don't really expect that much else from somebody but a basic level of dignity. You don't come off like you're fetishizing me, but sometimes I get frustrated when cis people take their experiences as the norm and assume they're essential to all people, even cis people from other places.
I've made some really awful mistakes growing up. Everyone does. I've hurt people I cared about, I've done stupid things that impacted myself and others and burdened them. That's part of growing up for anybody. The points I really wanted to get across are just that when we say things like 'male socialization' or 'female socialization', we miss the interconnected web of bizzare and insensible and occasionally traumatizing elements that make up an adult in the modern western world, and that trying to force people to be anything leads to a lot of pain for a lot of people.
Where you did things in adulthood like not speaking up for my folk when we needed the protection, I did things in childhood like kicking down at other femmes because it was the only way I'd get respect from anyone I wasn't playing nursemaid to. I learned quickly that my body and my ability at keeping them from eating eachother alive was the only real value I had to them, and jealously guarded that position. I'm not expecting an apology from you for making those mistakes before, because as far as I can tell from talking to you on here, you're working on them and trying to change from them. I'm still young enough to be trying to change from my childhood and have respect for myself and other femmes.
It's not wrong to call trans folk on that when we're still shedding that trauma, the problem comes in the argument TERFs make that we're stained with an original sin of 'maleness', that learned savagery is innate and not a part of an intensely broken and wounding binary that they zealously uphold to maintain their superiority over anyone who doesn't resemble them, including cis women of color or bi women or lesbians who are actually attracted to other women and don't just see them as political pawns.
I really value your input and your counsel on things, and I hope you don't feel like I'm angry at you or I don't like you. Grief's a really hard beast to wrestle with, and I hope you find closure with it someday, even if it's not soon. I trust you to get better and I hope you trust me to get better too. We're all stronger together than alone.
I absolutely do not think that you are angry at me. I greatly appreciate the time and emotional energy you invested in me and hope that you never regret it.
This has been so healing for me, even when it has been exhausting. I have also shed literal tears and found myself thinking of you at 3 AM, fondly and protectively as well as with regrets that I did not pad a few corners that would have been easy enough to pad and wishes that I had listened more and talked less.
All we can do is go on from here. I wish you well. You deserve better than you are likely to get and I can't fix that, all I can do is try to be a decent person and stand up for you and your people in the future even if all that means is:
"Well, we're just going to have to agree to disagree then. I guess I'm not a real feminist, but as I was saying...."
"Since I will never agree with the board about this particular issue, I would appreciate any recommendations for a different Feminism discussion board that is better suited to my own unique needs."
I guess I just want to understand so that I don't accidentally track transphobia all over the internet again if it gets on my shoes again.
That's no excuse for my behaviour when I click on links that weren't posted for me and when I interrupt people when they are talking about things I can't possibly understand.
This isn't a trans issue. It isn't a cis issue. It's an executive function issue.