Paris Lees

What It Feels Like for a Girl

Do you want me to make it hard for you?

Well, if you insist. Give me any simple idea and I’ll complicate it for you till we forget what we were talking about in the first place. Some people, you see, seem to need an information overload before they can act like decent human beings. So I’m told.

I spoke at a meeting held by LGBT Labour last night; the theme was trans people and the media. A man from the PCC was there. He seemed pleasant enough and was sympathetic towards trans people who are harassed by the press simply for, err, being trans. Something he said really annoyed me though, that ‘most people don’t get trans issues’. What is there to get? Different types of people exist, don’t harass any of them them. Some people don’t get that?

As a transgender-campaigner-cum-warrior-Amazon-crystal-rainbow-glam-princess, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to raise awareness. I’ve always thought it’s how we make the world a better place (yes, you can release the white doves now). But why should it be that way?

If I meet someone with one eye, I don’t need to read a leaflet or watch a documentary on one-eyeism to know I offer that person the basic respect I do everyone. Sure, I might be curious. But wanting to know how a stranger ended up with one eye isn’t an excuse for shouting ‘Cyclops’ down the street, is it? And is it really necessary to ‘understand’ why some people are gay to know you don’t call them faggots? Or ‘get’ trans people to know you don’t shout ‘Fucking tranny!’ as they walk into a pub? Awareness raising can do wonders, yes, but honestly, most the abuse minorities face isn’t down to lack of understanding but just plain old shittiness.

I’m not a trans activist. I’m a person, asking to be treated with respect. That’s not a fringe pursuit: it is universal. Next time you come across a bigot, why not keep the message nice and simple for them? Some people just are. Get over it. That’s not so hard, is it?

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