When you have a transphobic thought or reaction it might be a good idea to take a look at what’s causing that reaction. Because it might be that you are actually under threat — I mean it might be — these things happen –huma beings evolved the fight-or-flight response for a reason on the Serengetti — we weren’t just developing brain models for fun — but it also might be that you aren’t, and if it’s the case that you aren’t, then you will be, in an effort to defend yourself, lashing out at a group of people who are suffering disproportionately.

So I am just saying, you probably want to check your work. Because if you are wrong, if you are not under threat, what you view as a counter-attack, will actually be an attack on vulnerable people, who already have quite serious problems — avoiding murder, avoiding discrimination and harassment, getting medical care, keeping their jobs. Stuff like that.

And after all in the past, feeling one is under threat, has been no guarantee of being right, or indeed, no protection at all against doing horrible things. Southern whites were scared of the blacks they lynched. Straight people were afraid that people being openly gay were somehow going to tear down their family structure and consequently beat them up. Germans after WW I who supported the Nazis thought that Jews were nibbling away at what they needed to survive in our tricky way, etc. Etc. Etc.

Maybe those trans people waiting for the bus, are in fact, acting like they own the place, and are in fact, by their very existence making it harder for you to be a man or a woman or whatever. Maybe. Could be. These things happen, I am sure. But maybe they aren’t. Maybe you are fine. Or maybe, if you are not fine, the reason you are not fine has to do with — I don’t know — the vast power of the super-wealthy, or the climate disaster that is causing the globe to be less habitable by humans, and unleashing waves of civil wars, and refugees, or I don’t know, racism, or vote-rigging in the pursuit of using the state to force women to bring unwanted pregnancies to term. Or something, like that. Could be. And if the theory that your problems are due to trans people waiting for the bus, or walking down the street and not hiding turns out to be false, and one of these other problems — anxiety due to an unfair economic shake or impending climate catastrophe or what have you — if that turns out to be true, then this attention on trans people will be hurting you, more or less as somebody complaining about his neighbor’s necktie while stage 3 cancer rages in his body, would be hurting himself — because of misplaced energy. Misplaced focus.

These are all very deep questions and most likely impossible to resolve, so it will be best to look at this issue from 30,000 feet in the air so we can say things that will not get anybody upset. For example: as long as we discuss it, that’s good. And from 30,000 feet in the air it is hard to argue that discussing is better than non-discussing, much as clarity is better than confusion, true is better than false, good is better than bad, and love is better than hate. The Devil is in the details of course — is love, as expressed by letting my neighbors dog run free and bite kids — truly better than hate — as expressed by an angry letter to my neighbor requesting he lock up his damn dog? Well, no. But that would be upsetting to say — to my neighbor. To his dog. To people on social media who love to let dogs run free. And so on.

I think it would be a good idea if you are having the urge to lambaste trans people to have lunch with twenty trans people, listen a lot, and then see if the urge subsides.

And if you feel that way about Jews or dog-owners, do the same. In fact for any group X, before lambasting X actually meet members of the group X IRL and ask the how it goes with them, and listen, and then see if the urge to lambaste lowers in intensity, or if other urges start to compete with it–

well, TBH I think it’s a good idea.


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