Now I’m in something of a quandary. Following my encounter with the transphobe bloke from Hell (or possibly Peterborough: the similarities are marked), the local Leisure Centre has been a difficult place for me.
First, because I have no idea of how much anger and angst my very existence has stirred up. Are the villagers out the back, sharpening up their pitchforks, just waiting for the opportunity to spring out, en masse, yelling “burn the tranny!”? Or is it that I have done no more than excite the prejudice of one lone threatened male, who has co-opted his family to his cause and now feels entitled to lecture me on the “discomfort” I cause to others?
And that’s the issue, I guess. The unknown. The fact that whatever is out there, in the way of prejudice, it has been turned on me and once turned on, its hard to turn off again. On the one hand, I fear still, albeit remotely, that some anonymous dickhead will step out of the shadows and bash my head in.
On the other, I hate the sense that I may actually be causing discomfort to others. And whilst that is ever the case – just being Jewish no doubt causes discomfort to your average White supremacist – that sense of othering is istill a source of discomfort to me. How to explain? We-ell, direct physical threat to me from a minority I get very well. It happens: I need to take care not to put myself in harm’s way.
But the sense that beneath the surface, some unspecified number of people – as the guy who confronted me implied – regard me with suspicion and disquiet. That turns the tables. It makes me fill ill at ease. Makes me feel less at home in places I thought I was safe, accepted.
So. After a minor follow-up incident about two weeks ago, I’ve tackled the Leisure Centre again – and again niente! Nada! Nothing! If women do resent my presence in the female changing rooms, none has the presence of mind to even inquire about it. Or rather, two individuals over the space of six months plus have asked whether I am entitled to be there and, being told I am, have made no further issue.
Still, I dislike the sense of things festering. The Leisure Centre agree and, in a week or two, I will be doing a public meeting at which the public can come to ask questions and check out the situation. I can see that going badly: but since most of those involved want to make it work, my hope is that it will be a genuine opportunity for someone both trans and fluent to do a bit of pubic education.
It helps that there will be someone from the Council’s diversity team there – and a PCSO, just in case things heat. But back to the quandary.
If I focus on my “rights” I risk alienating. Some bolshie tranny stood in front of a cis audience proclaiming her right to go where she wishes, do as she pleases is a sure fire recipe for raised hackles and putting backs up.
On the other hand, my other tack – one that I tend to favour emotionally – may give too much to the mob. That is, a chunk of this is about fear for the kids/fear of the unknown, the pervert. Simple. I just explain a bit about the hormones. Explain I couldn’t, much, present a threat if I wanted to and…
…you see the problem? Alienate them by being too bold: or put myself over as damaged, incapable. Not to be feared because I’m a miserable wretch who couldn’t hurt a fly.
No. Neither seems the right way to go. So any advice from anyone who has done this sort of thing before…would be very welcome.