28th June 2020.
Yesterday, on the recommendation of my friend Miguel I watched a programme called 'Disclosure' on Netflix. It's about the representation over the years of trans people in films and TV. I thought it was a really good programme. I also learned a lot.
There was a section in it with a woman recounting about seeing a discussion group on TV where a father talks about how great it is to be the father of a trans child. She goes on to talk about how that was so painful for her to watch, because of all the compromises she'd made in her life to be able to co-exist with friends and family and how her expectations (because of the world she grew up and lived in) had been so low that it had never occurred to her that she could be that accepted, that loved, that valued and cherished. She reflected how much she'd given to and compromised with others in her life in exchange for simply being tolerated ... a lessening of the negativity rather than an actual positive embracing of her.
She was on the verge of tears as she talked. I watched it twice and both times ended up in tears myself. This is still the daily reality for the majority of LGBTQ+ people.
I had a friend who only had lesbian relationships in the earlier part of her life. Later she hitched up with a man and they had children together. She said she'd never realised what had been missing in terms of being valued and supported by her family and the world around her: because she'd never experienced that kind of validation and support, she didn't even know it existed!
We've got a long, long way to go. There is daily physical and psychological brutality against LGBTQ+ people and there is also this lack, which is itself an ongoing brutality: the withholding of love and valuing. Being born and raised into it, like my friend, we don't even realise it's (not) there, except of course we do ... we know that in many ways things are harder for us, we know that we struggle in ways that non-LGBTQ+ people wouldn't even guess at, we know and feel when we see LGBTQ+ people being attacked around the world and here at home, that so easily 'it could be us'. Too often we internalise that harm and blame ourselves for not coping better with it all, not being more tough or 'resilient' (I hate that fuckin' word).
Of course, the problem is with the lack of being positively valued, not with whichever part or combination of LGBTQ+ we are. I don't really care too much about whether I was 'born this way' or at some point 'chose' to be a homo, such a question is only important if you think there's a problem with any of our LGBTQ+'ness. But ... if it has been a matter of choice, I'm very happy with myself for having chosen homo. What I wouldn't choose is a world that denies us what it so freely gives to others.
Here's to the wonder of us trans women and men, non binary people, dykes, fags, bi's, queers, gender-queers, asexual people, intersex people, pansexuals, gender fluid people ... the great and varied ecology of us all and the wonderful differences in quality, outlook and ways of being we bring to the world.
And for those of us who are white LGBTQ+ people, let's use our experiences of being marginalised and brutalised to understand and stand with other people who experience different kinds of marginalisation and brutality: Black Lives Matter!
Happy Pride you lovelies ;-)