This is Pride Month. So my question to you is: Are You Proud To Be Trans?
I've struggled with the word pride. Pride is often presented as a bad thing, a 'deadly sin'. And there's a lot of doubt as to how Pride came to be associated with LGBT. Was it an acronym, Personal Rights and Defense in Education, a radical gay group set up in California in 1966? Or just a name chosen by Brenda Howard in the era of the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969? Or is it just a term that most obviouly defies the many attempts to shame us? There seems to be no certain answer.
Am I be proud to be trans? When I feel proud of myself, it's because of some achievement. I'm feeling proud today because I determined that this year I would get back to a healthy weight and I've already done a lot towards that goal. I'm proud of losing 20 pounds (9 kg) in 6 months. It's not something that just happened, I worked at it.
But being trans is something you are, not something you achieve. No matter how much our detractors insist it's all in our minds, it's just a lifestyle, it's just a choice, we know it's not. It may take us time to accept that as we battle many prejudices against our living our reality, but you can't become trans in the same way that you can become slim.
So you can't really be proud to be trans. Unless you're a total narcissist, which I think is what the traditional sin/failing of pride is really all about.
The easiest thing is to say is that Pride is just a name, a term of some kind for a series of awareness events.
But yet we can be proud of the achievements of the LGBT rights movement over time, especially since the 1960s. And we can be proud of our personal achievements, too. From closeted dressing as a kid when I had a moment to myself, to getting in touch with the trans community, to getting tips from a dressing service, to actually going out as a woman. Next month I'll be writing here about the periods in which I chose to live full-time female to see what it was like. I'm proud of the effort I put in to achieve what once was just a dream. And I discovered a happiness I had never known before. No doubt you will have similar achievements regarding your goals and dreams that you can be proud of, too. And often in the teeth of strong opposition.
Despite the difficult times that LGBT people are now facing in countries that were once more liberal, like Hungary, Brazil and the UK, I have seen how public opinion all over the world has been moving more and more towards accepting LGBT people. The minority of those who want to restrict us seems to reduce all the time, despite the noise they make. There's little doubt that hearts and minds are being won and allies made. And that's something to be proud of, too.
So as Pride Month draws to a close I'd like to say that I am really proud to be associated with so many people who have fought and overcome so many prejudices to live as they must.
So... Pride. Good word. I can relate to it.
A dip in the archives
A point on historic crossdressing opportunities.
Occasionally I have heard complaints that crossdressing in theatre and TV or at parties detracts from and cheapens the real efforts that trans people have to undergo to be accepted as their real gender (and some go so far as to say such performances should be banned). The ungainly dame in the Christmas pantomime would be one example, or the drag ball during college rag week, and any number of such events.
But throughout history, when being trans was dangerous, a criminal offence even, people have needed the opportunity to express their real gender. So many annual festivities, such as Carnival in Latin countries or Hallowe'een in Nordic countries, provide an opportunity for people to go out in disguise, even as one's other gender or none, without recriminations.
The Medieval Feasts of Fools, where lunking around as a character of your chosing whilst mocking authority was part of the release from societal norms; the Roman Saturnalia in December, where society was upended and slaves became masters for a day, children could command and genders could be changed; mumming at Christmas where boys and girls, old and young, would swap roles; even army barracks or prisoner-of-war camps or ships had regular shows in which the female roles must needs be taken by men. These cultural outlets have in different ways, at different times and in different places provided welcome opportunities for trans people to express themselves more freely. Far from detracting from trans authenticity, such events have often been a lifeline.
Cari lettori italiani
Spero che questo mese di Pride vi abbia aiutati ad essere orgogliosi di tutto che la nostra communità ha realizzato questi ultimi cinquant'anni. Sono fiera della vita che ci conquistiamo.
Sarebbe un vero trionfo se passasse la legge Zan.