There’s been an interesting discussion on Twitter among some trans folks on the subject of transition and bravery. Did we have to transition? Are we brave to have done so?
Here’s Emmy Zje:
“Do you really HAVE to transition tho?”
Yes. The horrific certainties of not transitioning eventually eclipsed the certainties transphobia was sure to bring into my life by transitioning.
I transitioned to an uncertain future because I was certain of how bad it would be to not.
I felt like that too. I didn’t begin my transition because I wanted to. I did it because I had to. It’s like the scene in an action movie where the protagonist is marched to a cliff edge at gunpoint to face a firing squad, but instead of waiting to be shot they jump. There’s every chance the fall could kill them, that it’s a long drop onto rocks, broken bottles, hypodermic needles and discarded washing machines. But while the chance of survival is tiny, the likelihood that the firing squad will shoot you is 100%.
Does making that jump make us brave? I’m not sure it does. Here’s Scattermoon:
You often hear “you’re so brave” when you talk about transitioning, and yeah, while it’s rough being trans in a world like this, it’s not like it’s necessarily a choice.
Would you say someone fleeing a burning building was brave, even if into a snowstorm?
I really like that analogy: we’re not doing a graceful dive into the air; we’re running out of a burning building and our hair is on fire.
Other trans people have added their own thoughts. Two in particular really resonated with me.
The state of mind I was in when I decided to start transition was “My own thoughts right now are scarier than anything anyone else could possibly say or do to me.”
I wasn’t brave. I was desperate.
Me too. Me too.