Trans folk need to do it for ourselves

That was interesting. Definitely interesting.

Last night I did an interview. It was an interview of a lovely trans woman, whose name I’ll leave out of this just for now for reasons of exclusivity. You’ll read it when you read it – and not before.

I hope the end result doesn’t sound too gushing, because I enjoyed talking with her and despite a fair few quite big differences of culture and up-bringing, I felt a good rapport with her.

And, it brought home to me something I’ve said before but not QUITE said with full understanding. Which is that mainstream journo’s just don’t “get” us. And even the ones who really, really have done their research will never be as close, when it comes to doing these sort of interviews as the worst hack trans journalist.

Well, how can they? Like, if I interview a trans woman about her career as a formula one racing driver (as if!) I can see that I’m probably less well qualified to do that than the average sports writer. But when it comes to talking about lived experience, we knew: we both knew what it feels like. So even when we didn’t agree, we knew what we were talking about.

Hormones? I love them. Am in a major snit right now because I’ve stopped my oestrogen pre-op. She.. . didn’t get on with them. Found some of the emotional side effects hard to take.. . but loved the feminising effects.

Yes. I can relate to that. As can every single trans woman who reads this. Whereas the non-trans world can guess but.. . can never ever REALLY feel what it feels like. Other stuff too. Relationships with men. Relationships with women. Being abused and threatened.

That’s stuff we share, to a degree, with other minorities. With women, with the gay community. But still, its different for each. Trans individuals know the stuff that hurts: know, too, the stuff that passes us by like water off a duck’s back.

OMG! Is this me almost falling for some grand mystical idea of trans-ness? Nah. I know there are differences, too, even within our community. Differences of age and experience and even simple differences of personality. I’m certainly not like every other trans woman who walked the earth – even if I share a few things in common.

No. I guess what it really is, is an underscoring, by example of how little the cis world can ever “get” us. As my interviewee put it, talking of one particular bonding trick that cis women try with trans women: she actually finds it offensive.

As a matter of fact, I don’t. But I do understand absolutely why my interviewee feels the way she does.

Not sure what the solution is, other than more trans journalists, more trans commentators, more trans generally in the media . And a bit of humility: cis journalists need to get that trans-ness, transition, is one of those unique experiences – like pregnancy and erections – that, if you don’t live them, you should at least acknowledge you can only ever guess at.

jane
xx

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