I have been noticing lately that there are a lot of well-meaning folks out there purporting to be trans-allies and trans-advocates who seem to not be doing those of us who are transgender a favor, but rather making it more difficult for those of us that have a whole lot bigger stake in this game than they do. Why I haven’t noticed this before is probably due to me being enmeshed in the day-to day-process of transition and now that is complete, I have more time and wherewithal to notice what is going on and speak out about it.
I believe that there are enough examples in the ether that I don’t need to point to specific examples of what I am speaking about. I am not going to try to convince anyone sitting on the fence about this issue and admittedly, those who aren’t on the fence have plenty of ammunition of their own to debate with me the pros and cons of my thesis.
I spoke in a recent post about finding my own special niche in the transgender debate and that was to see what is being said in the debate and attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff. While there are many thoughtful insights being generated by those trans and those who respect the right of everyone in pursuit of their own happiness, there are others among us who seem to want only to express their moral outrage against both the powers that be and those who fly the flag of religious and political conscience in order to denounce and deny our very right to existence.
I have also spoken here about my experience with practicing the concept of nonviolent communication (NVC) as is presented in several books by Marshall Rosenberg and others who have run with the ball which Mr Rosenberg has put into play. The concept of NVC is about expressing needs and can be broken down into four steps. The first is expressing our feelings without turning them into evaluations of the other while taking responsibility for those feelings when our needs are being or not being met. Second is to clearly state why we feel that way when our needs are being or not being met. The third is making a request, not a demand of the other to find an equitable solution that would be a win-win for all parties concerned. The last and probably most important is to express gratitude for the opportunity to express one’s needs without judgment and to acknowledge that we are not perfect either. Often this last step can be the first step, especially when the person in question has already met our needs after prior conversations of the kind.
Getting back to my original thesis, why I believe that NVC can play a valuable role in getting what we want for ourselves and others of our kind, is that the old adage of the Hebrew testaments “An eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth, doesn’t work anymore, if it ever worked in the first place. That means that moral outrage railed against those who would deny anyone and everyone who seeks happiness to live their life by their own accord and not choose to be victims of the prevailing winds that blow in one direction, then shift into another only to return back to the original course, that moral outrage and public outcry must cease and we must all take responsibility for our own stuff and not blame others for our feelings of injustice. That is the only way I believe that we will be able to take the wind out of the sails that seems to be blowing us all in the wrong direction.
Deanna Joy Hallmark