I care because human rights are important for everyone. It has become very personal as I now have a daughter, my dad recently identified as trans, I work in mental health which includes young people who identify as trans and females who have been victims of male violence. All of these people have rights – how do we balance them and not sacrifice one excessively for the sake of another group?
I care because I am part of the me too generation. Because I was so socialised to gender roles I allowed my ex to convince me it wasn’t rape. This socialising started before I even recognised my own gender. There has to be a space to think about this – but that space seems to be disappearing. Trans women do experience misogyny but do they have the same internalised misogyny from early childhood? This is not to diminish the massive internalised stigma and dysphoria that they experience – but these are different experiences.
I have discussed with people I trust. I have tried to educate myself – understanding all sides of the argument.
My biggest struggle has been explaining to my 3-year old daughter where grandad has gone and why she had to become gran. All books written for that age group on the topic refer to boys not liking pink (or similar) which goes against everything I try to teach her!
I have occasionally made attempts to discuss aspects at work.
I have been aggressively challenged when reflecting on my feelings about my personal situation (apparently it is not ok for me to have any difficult feelings about my dad identifying as trans – I am 41). I have been accused of misgendering by referring to her as “dad” (this was something I discussed with her and agreed I would do.
I feel this is a hugely important topic but do not dare raise it as the trans lobby is so powerful I worry I would be putting my professional registration at risk. One trans person raising concerns could be all it would take. Even though my experience would suggest most trans people would not share the view that my attempts to balance all needs are transphobic.
D.R., Mental health worker