Sep. 4th, 2011

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I'm pretty much decided that I'm giving up activism now. There really doesn't seem much point in continuing when all there is is vicious in-fighting and the kind of me-culture that puts great white sharks to shame. I could fight that, but not alone, not when I speak out for equality for all trans-people, not just transsexuals and the organisation that campaigns for that equality remains silent.

Some of the reasons for that seem obvious, some have been explained to me - like one persons reasons for remaining silent up to a point and what they did when they did speak-out - but the point to me seems to be that I should never have been put in such a conflicted situation by the organisation I was volunteering with. They knew I have BPSD, they know I'm pretty militant in my attitudes and after my first emotional outburst, they knew I needed a safe space to be in as positive action to compensate for what is a very real and life-affecting mental disability.

I'm pretty sure it came down to 'them' or me. Phrased as a threat from at least two trans-group leaders regarding the terms of their continuing involvement. Diplomatic niceties and pat the mad girl on the head and keep her away from anything that might set her off again...

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't resentful. I don't like feeling an emotion like this, and like it even less when I know the best choice I could make within the context of the bigger-picture is not to fight. It would make too much mess. Yet choosing not to fight is pushing my self-worth into ever more abyssal depths. I'm told there will be better days, days when I can see myself making a difference once more. I suppose it's easy to say that based upon the person I was not so long ago. I'm not that person any more though. Being stuck in hospital has given me chance to think things over.

I was very ill. I don't think that illness can be completely separated from my letting my health/nutrition slide as a coping mechanism for all the things I was having to cope with. I'm pretty sure I would still accept making myself ill if it was something I thought I could change and that it was worth it.

The kind of transgender community we have simply isn't worth it. A community of vast inequality where people are sometimes driven to tears or self-harm by the kind of views that are aired by (frankly) middle-aged female transsexual supremacists (MAFTS for short). MAFTS who think that they are the only 'correct' expression of a trans identity and that there is some position of authority or control they must achieve over the whole community. MAFTS who at their worst claim to speak for the entire community...

I would, did, fight to try to change that. I've gone from being second-choice candidate for a role directly supporting people through transition to an emotional wreck who feels excluded, not by the moderate portion of my community, but by the organisation that claims to want to make those positive differences, the same one who's director sat by whilst internally-transphobic comments were made at an event *they* were chairing. The same one that seems to refuse to recognise and provide appropriate positive action for mental-health based disabilities.

I could go all out, bring forward all the evidence I have and complain I've been subject to discrimination on the basis of (mental) disability. I could use that to lever open a lot of the other issues peripheral to my going very hypomanic in my interactions. But what good would it do? I still wouldn't have what I'd like, still would be mad Johanna who caused a huge fuss and then screamed discrimination over it. That's not who I am, and what I want is a long way from that.

All I want is to be in recovery and to be able to use my skills and experience to be part of building a fully inclusive transgender community and to work towards the wider Scottish community understanding our needs and seeing us as just another human being.

And I can't have that.

For all my lack of self-worth, I do have some degree of pride in my abilities. I'm good at what I do. Maybe not the best, maybe a little too emotionally engaged, willfully a little naive in outlook, but good at what I do. I've spent the last year seeing problems I really could have fixed, given the opportunity to do so. I've watched those problems grow and propagate and seen others bring up those same problems and be taken seriously where I was heard but not listened to. I can't give my skills and abilities away and that is horribly painful to experience.

So I'm walking away. For all those reasons. And because of my pride, because I cannot stand being Cassandra and seeing things going wrong that I'm helpless to alter, I won't be coming back. I am who I am, and if all the good things I did are outweighed by my illness manifesting itself over a matter that the organisations board confirmed the unacceptability of to me, then I cannot engage with them any more. We obviously have very different values about freedom of speech, hate-speak and universal-inclusion.

Of course they'll never come to me and ask me to be involved again. **shrug** I might not quite be their loss, might be too militant for some tastes. Every cause, every struggle for equality needs someone to point out the elephants in the room, and someone who will take bullies on directly. I'm not sorry I'm able to see clearly enough to be that person.

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johanna_alice

May 2014

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