Violence Accomplishes Nothing For Transgender People

Muriel and I were talking recently. In case you have been up on the news, I have a girlfriend. She happens to be trans. I call her Muriel because I respect her privacy.

Anyway, she and I were talking about an article she wrote. It was about radicals, terrorists, and generally violence perpetrated by radicalized people. In it she described a trans person who, themselves was “at the threshold of radicalization”. This person, she wrote, made the case for direct action against those perpetuating violence against trans people. Muriel also said she agreed with this person’s arguments. Almost.

But she changed her mind.

During our conversation, we talked about a lot of past violence. Violence perpetrated by terrorists yes. But also “economic” violence billionaires wage. But I couldn’t help focusing on some transgender people’s calls for violence against those who wage violence on them.

I understand the sentiment. But no matter how much relief such violence offers temporarily, it’s not worth what violence ultimately creates. Which is, of course, more violence.

I want to dig into this a bit.

Violence is powerlessness manifested

If we look at people who commit violence, we’ll find something of note. Every violent actor acts from powerlessness. Violence is the act of the powerless. It is action taken by one who has lost all control. Or someone bent on “justice”. Which in most violent cases, is really “revenge”. In every case, they believe they have no other option. That’s powerlessness.

Every racist, bigot or conservative, Christian whacko who perpetuates violence against trans people also does so out of ignorance. Think about it. Such people rarely get to know a transgender person. They do no research on the matter. Or they rely on religious texts. Texts often taken out of context. So they possess no real education on the subject. They’re fueled by fear. And they feel powerless. All that leads to irrational action. Which is almost always what violent acts are: irrational.

The only exception is self-defense. But even there, violence is problematic. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Some trans-attracted men resorted to violence. That’s the “gay panic” defense often used years ago, when it seemed trans women were being killed at epidemic rates. “Gay panic” points to powerlessness. The men literally scared themselves out of all reason. Because their stories about their trans-attraction triggered catastrophic conclusions. “What will my homies think?” “What will my fellow Marines think?” “They’ll ridicule me!”

So people who fear the transgender phenomena act from fear, ignorance and powerlessness. Is it then really a good idea for trans people to choose violence? Trans people arguing for violence are becoming that which they fear: Irrational, ignorant powerless people.

The alternative to violence is compassion. Let’s look at that next.

Violence relinquishes the moral high ground

I argue often that trans people represent a leading edge evolution of humanity. By definition such people will face persecution. All pioneers do. At first. Then their way becomes accepted practice. And that’s what trans people are doing. They set a new bar for what it means to be human. A bar taking humanity to another level of human-ness.

This means, of course, that trans people hold a high ground of morality. And, because of what they represent evolutionarily, they exist on the right side of history. Just look at how many trans children alter their parents’ views. I argue more such positive change is quietly happening. In homes, schools, boardrooms and yes bathrooms, more positive change is happening than not. It’s just that resistance is news. Controversy is too. So the media reports that. Instead of the good news. Which explains why I suggest that my clients not listen to the news.

Good news doesn’t sell.

So the trans community resorting to violence instantly gives up its moral high ground. It becomes what it is changing. Then it perpetuates more of that.

Violence almost always creates more violence. Look around. The Middle East is aflame with it. And that conflict has been going on forever. Terrorists haven’t solved their perceived problems with violence. The US and its allies or Russia accomplished nothing with violence waged on Afghanistan. Indeed, it could be argued that they just created more terrorists. There’s no value to the trans community in embracing violence.

Which brings me to the next point.

Violence creates no positive outcomes

Very little good happens from waging violence. This is debatable though. World wars, for example, triggered a lot of positive outcomes. But were those outcomes worth the deaths, carnage and suffering?

And even with those outcomes the seeds of the next war were planted. Which is why we keep having wars. If anything is guaranteed from violence, it’s that it sows the seeds of more violence. Including escalation of violence.

Even in the case of self defense, violence creates more problems than not. Violence is very expensive. It’s legally risky. It sows the seeds of retribution.

A conversation playing out in graffiti between presumably trans people and cis folks.

Notice those best prepared for violence eschew that path. I’m talking about experts in meting out violence. Special forces individuals and highly-ranked martial artists, for example, are some of the most peaceful people around. When confronted with violence, they near-always mete out the least necessary violence to neutralize the threat. In other words, their violence is informed largely by compassion, light-heartedness and a rational, open mind trained through years of practice. I should know: I have high ranks in nine different martial arts disciplines.

If a situation has devolved to violence, then involved parties have both lost. The best option is averting any need for violence in the first place. Which means creating an environment where you and violence are incompatible. That’s a natural result of my client work.

But that’s also another story.

Violence brings more suffering on the violent

A client once asked me about people out there who would do violence to you no matter what. “Shouldn’t I prepare myself or at least think about those possibilities?” She asked.

“Here’s another alternative,” I said. “You could create a reality wherein those kinds of people can’t find you. Then you don’t have to prepare for anything.”

It’s taken her a while, but she now sees the wisdom in those words. For she doesn’t worry about bad things happening to her anymore. The same potential exists for every trans person. Every person actually. We all are the center of our universe. Nothing comes into our experience we don’t invite. And we invite through our stories.

So if we want a life free of transphobes, creating that life is easy. It takes some work at first. But it’s available to any trans person. And when that world exists, where’s the need for violence or even preparing for it?

But the violent always are on edge. They perpetually think about facing violence. So they must arm themselves. Then they must brandish their arms. They must bluster and join forces with other violence-oriented people.

That kind of energy isn’t conducive to the human organism. It literally creates sickness. Mental illness yes. But also physical illnesses like cancer and other deadly conditions.

Furthermore, no matter how much you prepare for violence, there will always be someone more violent than you. One that can literally consume your life.

Is that the kind of life you want? I sure don’t. I’d rather create for myself a life of peace and harmony. And let the violent blow each other up!

Trans people are better than that

Finally, trans people are so much better than needing to resort to the irrational acts of violence. So many more productive options exist. The most powerful – and rewarding – one being taking charge of your creative powers and creating a life where violence can’t find you.

In that state, we maximize our connection with that which had us choose coming into the world as trans and trans-attracted in the first place. Maximizing that connection infuses us with a sense of our divine power. That power can literally change worlds.

And it does change worlds. Nothing else does, believe it or not.

Violence certainly doesn’t. It hasn’t ended wars. It has’t created peace. Communities aren’t free of it.

But your world can be free of it.

Embracing violence is beneath transgender people. It does no one any good. And it robs trans people of the love that inherently exists in them.

For if you’re contemplating violence, you’re not contemplating love, compassion and joy. Love compassion and joy alone makes violence go away. They’re my weapons of choice these days.

I suggest they be yours too.

When trans exploitation isn’t

fullsizeoutput_20eaWe did a show recently about Rihanna’s statement about trans exploitation. It was taken out of context and reported that she would not hire transgender people as part of her cosmetic line’s marketing campaigns. She didn’t actually say that. But people in the trans community were quickly polarized by her comments. Some said her desire not to exploit trans people was spot on. Others, like the woman who wrote me personally about it, said Rihanna was a transphobic false ally like many other people in the world.

On IN YOUR FACE we talked about nuance of interpretation. How interpretation determines mind set and vice versa. Your perception of the world, in other words, is determined by your mindset. And, your mindset is ongoingly re-shaped by your perception. Since you can control your perceptions, you can consciously design your mindset.

However, most people live life unconsciously, focusing on nearly anything crossing their path, and allowing pretty much anything into their perceptions with little question as to whether those things are shaping the mindset they want to have or not. So, as one IN YOUR FACE audience member aptly put it: “Sometimes we focus on the negative out of habit”. So the question is, what is your habit?

There is no doubt in my mind transgender people are being exploited. The question is, is that exploitation harmful or not?

The woman who wrote me about Rihanna’s purported comments claimed I need to get better at “reading between the lines” so I could see what is really happening. What is really happening usually when people “read between the lines” is they are making up an interpretation of what they are perceiving, not actually reading between the lines. That interpretation is determining their mindset. So it should be no surprise that some people will see Rihanna as transphobic while other see her as an ally. Some people have trained themselves to see a mostly negative world, in which people are generally not very nice. Some see the opposite: a world where people are generally agreeable, happy and positive. And there are all kinds of shades in between. How you see the world is crucial, for it shapes your life experience.

Putting this in our language, the stories you tell yourself about life experience determines how you experience your reality. If you tell yourself the story that people are mostly transphobic, or that there are transphobic people in the world, then it’s easy to read a misleading story then conclude Rihanna is transphobic. Rather than, say, thinking critically about the article, doing some more research and thereby coming to an alternative interpretation. One that gives Rihanna more grace in the matter.

Same goes for how you see yourself. If you’ve been taught certain stories that make being trans-attracted a negative personality characteristic – one that is sinful, aberrant, gross, perverse, “gay” or whatever – those stories are going to shape your mindset of not only your world, but of you. So key to overcoming these stories is become aware of them, then create new ones that, over time, change the momentum of your self-perception and of the world. It’s not always easy…well it is…but it’s definitely worth doing. We talk about this in the show I referred to above as well. It’s really worth going back and watching if you haven’t.

There is no doubt in my mind transgender people are being exploited. The question is, is that exploitation harmful or not? I don’t think it is. In the end exploitation leads to more awareness and understanding that transgender people are human. Which by the way means they are capable of being exploited. Along with that realization comes something every human community can benefit from, particularly the trans community: compassion. Compassion for ourselves and compassion for others.

And maybe then, we in the trans community can extend a bit of compassion to those we think are transphobic. For even their transphobia promotes understanding and compassion for our transgender brothers, sisters, lovers and friends.

When racism and transphobia look the same

racism-transphobiaIt’s an interesting question. This articlearticle takes a good, long look at that question. It begins with recounting the murder of a transwoman, so be forewarned…

The article’s main message is, you’re transphobic if you think a person who is trans needs to tell potential suitors that fact before they engage in a relationship. The argument goes that a person who is not attracted to transwomen will want to know ahead of time who they are getting involved with. Because if that person is transgender, there is a possibility the cis-person (or other variety of human) won’t choose to be with that person.

I guess the same argument could be made for being racist: if somehow black people could conceal their blackness, racists would want to know ahead of time whether the person they find themselves interested in is black, so they can check their interest.

Sounds dumb, right? I mean, in order for a person to want to be sure they aren’t interested in said black person is because they are somehow interested in them, right? Interestingly, we don’t have to worry about that because black people can’t conceal their blackness. Most anyway. As a result, people who make their partner choices based on skin color alone can merrily avoid all us niggers. lol.

Not so with transgender people apparently.

Which is the point, I think, of the article. Not that all transgender people conceal their trans ness…many actually do. Intentionally and unintentionally. But that’s not the point I’m making. I’m saying it’s quite possible that a person who is scared of being with a transgender person can easily find themselves attracted to a transgender person before discovering the person is indeed trans. I mean have you seen Dusty Rose? This of course has happened in many of the trans murder cases in recent years.

But being scared of a person because they are trans is an interesting thing.

The author puts it more plainly:

None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won’t go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won’t go out with someone because they’re trans.

It’s similar to someone saying they aren’t attracted to all black people. So is it a preference? Or is it phobia/racism?

Incidentally, many, many transwomen are racist if held to this same definition. Couldn’t a transwoman’s lack of interest in black men – because of their skin color – or some other aspect of their physical disposition, something they can’t help bing, be interpeted the same way?

You better believe it.

“Oh, but THAT’S a preference,” some will say….Not according to many,  many, many, many people. But not everyone. Some think it’s just prejudice. Others do think it’s a preference. So how is not wanting to be with a transwoman, even if a person is initially attracted to such a person, not a preference then? I think it depends on the story.

Dusty Rose
That’s Dusty Rose. And yes, she’s fine, period

After all, there are a LOT of black people, men too, who are loving, caring people. Just as there are probably similar such people among transwomen.

Here’s a great definition of racism: “people making negative assessments of large groups of individuals that they’ve never met, based solely on the color of their skin.” Replace “based solely on the color of their skin” with “based solely on their status outside the heteronormative binary”, and we start coming to some interesting parallels.

Suffice it to say this is an great example of why I wrote the post recently on why it’s so hard to be the “woke” police. Everyone has a picadillo or two. You’re bound to have yours exposed when you start exposing others. So it’s tough to call people racist or transphobic, especially in the grey areas. If a person is calling people racist slurs, or anti-trans slurs, or demeaning a person, or a group of people in either category on the basis of that alone, that’s one thing. But it gets really slippery when a person starts trying to parse out examples that could be just preference.

It’s far better – if you’re wanting to be happy – to leave all that shit to other people. It’s far better to create stories which create the best reality circumstances for your life and let other people live. If that means sometimes (in the early stages) meeting a dick, or a racist or a transphobe or two, so be it. In the end, those people won’t be able to find you….if you’re telling the right stories.

And you’ll live happily ever after.