Follow Aoife’s Transition Diary from the start here.
I wanted to try something different with this column. As an open trans woman online, like most women, I am sometimes subjected to abuse and trolling. In order to keep myself safe I have a pretty strict policy of blocking people who are abusive and moving on.
I rarely, if ever, engage with TERFs or transphobes because life’s too short and it really isn’t worth it. I am never going to change their minds and I don’t have the emotional energy required trying to justify my existence to people who would rather I didn’t exist.
As it happens I had a letter published anonymously in a UK newspaper this weekend. The letter was very personal and expressed doubts and fears I have about coming out to my kids. The letter appeared on the newspapers Facebook account and the comments were, shall we say, enlightening.
Many people commenting presumed to know the reason my marriage failed and, as usual, it didn’t take long for transphobia to rear its ugly head.
Being a trans woman is hard at the best of times. It’s a constant fight to justify your existence, not only to other people, but sometimes to yourself. All of this can have a negative impact on your mental health.
Couple this with the fact that there are people out there who would prefer you didn’t exist, is it any wonder that the attempted suicide rate within the transgender community is at a staggeringly high 40%. Or the fact that the average life expectancy of a trans woman of colour is 35. Yes, you read that right, 35.
I leave you with a small selection of the comments, bad spellings and grammar included, that my letter received online. If you think trans women have it easy, think again.
“Being told a family member is trans after they have transitioned is traumatic, for many it feels like the person has been euthanised and you didn’t get to say goodbye.”
“You can’t transgender into something else than a woman after you’ve used that your penis and produce children.”
“What’s with the obsession with changing your gender? You’re a dude be happy about instead of embarassing yourself and your family like this.”
“Nothing can stop him dressing as a woman but no one in their right mind would actually see him as one.”
“We’re expected to validate him and his fetish.”
“The trans cult is the great delusion of our time.”
“I note that he used her (my ex wife) for her reproductive capacity before discarding her.”
“You are pretending to be someone you are not. You were born a male, with xy chromosomes, therefore you are male. The world is going crazy.”
“I would never see my father again for this. Can’t he just wait? The kids have enough problems and he wants to dress like a woman. What a selfish, pathological behaviour.”
“His children will be happy that his daddy is a tranny.”
“Are we still trying to normalise this perverted nonsense?”
“The only other problem being she looks like a middleweight boxer.” (The article used a stock photograph of a trans woman. When challenged on this, the same commenter said they should have used a different photo for such a sensitive subject, yet he was the one to use disparaging remarks about someone’s appearance.)
“You are mentally ill.”
“Hope his kids have disowned him, after having a good laugh tho.”
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