It’s a weird trans day of visibility when the country is in lockdown. What’s gender when there’s no-one to perceive you? If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to clock it, does it pass? This situation feels a lot like pre-coming out, whatever coming out means. There’s a secret in you, but nobody can see it. Dysphoria is a social condition. Dysphoria is an invention by the cis to make us feel weird, even the name is all sciencey. Our internal knowledge of ourselves butt up against how others perceive us and we’re suddenly pathologised, and then dysphoria takes over our sense of self. But now, what’s outside anyway? And what’s trans liberation in the age of the lockdown? And why are we still dysphoric lol?
The virus has laid bare the reality of living under capitalism, and which kind of people are important. For some of us who are white and able-bodied and middle-class, this may be the first time this has been revealed. On this day of visibility we want to go beyond platitudes, because most of us are indoors anyway. We want to make our struggles visible. Many of us are trapped in housing situations where we are being misgendered and erased. Many of us have lost our long-awaited spots for life-changing gender affirming surgery and have no idea when we’ll be able to get them. Many of us don’t know where our next dose of hormones will be coming from. Many of us have lost work, are worried about paying the rent, are immunocompromised, are still having to work when we really shouldn’t.
Trans healthcare was one of the first things to be deemed non-essential by the UK government. This situation can drive us to despair, to suicidality. These are the things that need to be visible because if you’re cis you need to support us, especially right now. And we need to support each other.
In this strange moment, we’ve got a chance to breathe and to work out what being trans is. Maybe being trans isn’t just a fight for visibility, for pronouns, as important as all those things are. Maybe we need to go beyond a fuzzy undefined acceptance. Maybe we need to acknowledge that being trans is a political position, is a mitzvah, is a responsibility to change the world. It’s a lot of work, but it's a definition much more preferable to pathology, and much more expansive than everyone is valid.
We have been blessed by our transness to see the inequality in our system, to trace its cracks and see where the light shines through. Transness is mutual care, is fostering economies of exchange and love. Transness is working for the end of all systems of oppression. Transness is working for the end of capitalism. Transness is the key to the liberation of all. All of us should practice our transness, should start to dismantle the weird gender roles that have been mapped on to us, should fight for liberation.
Support trans people affected by coronavirus