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[personal profile] johanna_alice
All is silent. I know there's a world out there with people and causes and so much more, but in here all is silent and almost still. I'm not engaging with realist very well and that's not set to change too much in the immediate future. There are any number of things I could be doing but it all seems pointless for oh-so-many reasons that I can't find effective arguments against.

I suppose feeling that I was right, that my values are good and yet being excluded anyway has knocked me back a lot. Yet what can I do? I'm not a person who can sit idly by whilst stuff they feel strongly against happens around them. I had to do something and no one else was visibly doing anything. I say visibly because I also thing such things should be addressed openly, not behind closed doors. I also don't hold with separative-politics. That's the lesson I've learnt here. Yes, I could have continued, could have had meeting all by myself with the focus on me and my ideas. But the more I think of it, the more I know I was right to refuse, because not only am I disconnected from my community and therefore starved of information, but the more it would look like favoritism and my getting 'special treatment'. I don't want special-treatment.

I want to feel safe.

It may seem strange and confrontational to some, but my refusal to continue to participate under the terms offered to me and subsequent issue-raising with the EN/STA board has made me safe. Frankly, if I'm ever at an EN/STA event again and someone does come out with internally-transphobic comments then I get to politely point out that it's out of order, then I get to refer to the response I got from the board, and then and only then should nothing still be done about it, I get to formally complain about both the person who made the comments and the staff member who refused to take action about it.

It might seem a long and traumatic road to travel down from a just a few comments made in January, but there has always been a principle at stake here for me. If it's OK to say it, someone will - regardless of the upset and distress they cause others.

Do I regret making a stand? No, not ever. I'm me and if I can't believe in my values, what's left for me?

But the consequences. They're a different matter. How many people like me, bright, enthusiastic, engaged, people who want to contribute to their community have been either burnt-out or ignored to the point of disengagement by something like this? How many people have been hurt by a lack of firm action on transphobia, be that internal or external?

I've somehow come to the tenuous belief I have some useful skills and ideas, and if I have, the community is poorer for loosing me. Just how denuded and strip-mined of potential talent is the transcommunity overall? It's depressing to think about all those people like me who see an injustice but either like me burn-out fighting it or don't feel happy with putting so much of themselves on the line to fight it as I've heard so often now. Frankly the whole situation is horrible and weighted towards a person being able to get away with the benefit of the doubt for making unsavory comments publicly.

But that's not why I'm burnt-out. Fighting the kind of elitism I've encountered is all part of being an activist. Fighting it virtually by myself, with just the quiet support of a few friends is something well within my capacity. I believe in what I do. But fighting on two fronts, one against the real enemy and one against some people I've worked with for over a year, people who are supposed to share the kind of values I have has pretty much torn me apart and made me even question my values.

Sure, I could have made a formal complaint. Against a man respected for his work in LGBT rights across the country, who earlier this week I watched addressing a committee in the Scottish Parliament... I sat there watching in a degree of disbelief as the issues raised around sectarianism (in football) were presented - and they were exactly the same factors as are issues in internal-transphobia I've been going on about for months. But formally complain? Why? What good would it do? Does there need to be a finger pointed at all? Can't we just learn from this and move on??

It seems the world is moving on. Which is good. I seem to be left behind though, which is not so good. It's going to take me a while to work out what to do next.

Because, and this is criticism, I don't really want to be in a circumstance where I don't feel safe again. I'm too headstrong, too determined and too obsessive to let issues go. Whilst those issues do need addressing, there doesn't seem to be much more than doing that head-on in my user-manual. I spent the last year writing about my issues with a person who it turns out was just as unwell as me - but who critically didn't communicate that - and making some very detailed suggestions and observations of potential pitfalls about a project I still feel strongly about. I was pretty much ignored, sideline, listened to but maybe not heard, and left feeling helpless and frustrated in trying to be part of making that project a success. That does things to a person, horrible things to do with loss of self-confidence, disengagement and feeling isolated.

I've waved an olive branch and asked if I can come in from the cold now, but that's as much about other reputations as my own. Yes, I had a huge argument with EN/STA. But part of that was because I cared about the organisation. What happened was a great big glaring hole in transgender equality. If someone like me didn't address it, perhaps someone else would. Someone who may just write to funders, or formally complain rather than merely raise an issue with the board... For all my online writing about what happened, I have kept it pretty quiet, pretty much centered around the issue itself and how I feel about it. No one seems to have noticed the olive branch though - and again, though it's only been a couple of working-days, how long does it take to scribble off a busy-right-now-will-get-back-to-you note?

Don't want to play anymore.

The whole LGBT sector is full of people with agendas and many layers of motivations. It's contaminated with people who are allowed to spew poison and do things like directly insult other gender identities. There are organisations (Like a certain Centre) where the charities needs are place above those of the people who use it's services.  There are people who can't talk (and believe me, I have complete sympathy when the reason is fear of becoming the next target of victimisation) or who won't talk. Stuff goes on behind closed doors when it should be out in the open.

I just want to be able to do something that feels as though it's useful positive work to help people like me.

I don't have time for politics or debate around the appropriateness of comments or methods. Yes, I used entrapment. Big deal. Compared with what the target of that entrapment has done to other people, and will continue to do given chance, it's not a very big foray into grey morality. Every stung kerb-crawler who finds the person they've just propositioned is a police officer has been entrapped. But I feel that my conduct has been made into a crime all of it's own whilst ignoring the reasons why I thought it was necessary in the first place.

There's no getting away from that. I'm the person who makes huge messes when she's not happy and who'll tie up time and resources trying to address the issue in question head-on. I'm not fed-up with that. Nor am I fed up with being the person who stands up for other peoples rights as well as my own - remember this whole thing started over a discriminatory statement about a polygendered identity. I'm fed up of not being listened to, fed up of having to call my own values into question, fed up of feeling almost alone and very isolated because I don't just passively sit there accepting the way-things-are.

I'll always be that person. If I care about something, then it really does matter to me. Yet all that caring leads to is pain and isolation. Even if I could do, I'm not sure I want to go back any more. Things would seem like a paper screen, there'd be shadows showing through it and the knowledge that it's easy to break through paper always at the back of my mind. I'm not sure a paper screen is enough for my safety.

Yes, I brought this on myself. I could have stayed silent. Yes, I was offered ways to remain engaged. I could have accepted. Yes, I did do things like resigning as a volunteer voluntarily. I could have persisted. Yes, I used entrapment. I could have been squeaky clean and had no evidence fro what I was saying... Yes, things could have been done differently. It wouldn't have been me though. That would have been someone else, with different beliefs and values.

I've made my point. I've shown that at an organisational level internal-transphobia is unacceptable. I've demonstrated insight and patience over the past year as I've talked about the flaws, obvious or not, in a project that I could have been allowed to be a lot more hands-on with - and both I and the project would be healthier for it. I've talked and talked and talked. Flaws that months later I hear other people bringing up, and finally being addressed. None of that matters. How can it when I feel I don't matter?

Think I'm officially declaring burn-out, can'tbebotheredanymoreitus, that I can't always stand alone and that I've had enough of feeling frustrated, distressed and upset now.

It's fair to say I hate being wrong. Turns out I like being right even less though. Told you the only victory here would be prryhic.

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johanna_alice

May 2014

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