I feel like writing is always a somewhat scary process. The words I publish expose the contents of my mind with the world, in a way that feels far more permanent than performing. It can be hard to let other people see that, when you write about something you care about it’s an inherently vulnerable process. This vulnerability is only amplified when you write about ‘controversial’ topics.
I write about trans things, because of this I’ve been called a fetishist (true, but not when it comes to gender identity), misogynist, thought police, brainwashed, crybaby, paedophile, freak. I get told to kill myself, get ‘fixed’, that transphobia isn’t real, that my experiences are delusions, or somehow disqualify me from being trans.I get this on social media, I get this to my face, I get this in spaces which are supposed to be LGBT+ safe spaces. If you’re shocked by any of this then you really need to listen to trans people more. Because this isn’t an example of a targeted hate campaign; I know because I’ve seen those happen so many times. I saw one happen in small scale to my boyfriend yesterday, and seeing that happen to someone you love is a special kind of agony.
Being outspoken and trans exposes you to this kind of hatred. This is simply the cost of doing business. And I know that the price of success would probably be transphobes trying to systematically destroy every part of my life.
So why do I still write? Despite what some people think, I’m not a well paid shill for a powerful trans lobby. Nor do I enjoy the process of being angry or offended. And while the ego boost of seeing people enjoy your work is nice, it’s not worth the hate. I write because the right words can change someone’s life.
Every now and again I will read, or hear, or see something which changes how I look at the world. A new perspective, a flash of acceptance, the shape of a different ways to live. Kernels of ideas which take root and twist your whole world into a different shape. Not everything you create can do that for everyone. But the thought that I could help pass on that spark of an idea, even to one person. That’s why I create. Often you never know if you touched someone’s life like that, sometimes you’re lucky enough to see it.
For me the trade off is worth it (at least for now). But I won’t pretend it’s easy. I am the fulcrum the scales balance on. The impact I have through writing might balance out the hatred it evokes. But both still weigh me down.