I recently read a fairly old article that struck a nerve, and something clicked. A switch moved and I am suddenly in full berserker protective mother cat mode.
You dog people laugh, but I remember a Dobermann chasing our male fearless hunter cat into our backyard. Salix, our Siamese who had recently had kittens saw that and attacked. The incident ended with the Dobermann running away with a severely shredded nose. Angry mothers are no joke. You don't need to be a grizzly bear, you just just need to channel your inner protective Mama.
Why am in full killer kitten mode? If you took the time to read the article above, which is good and affirming even if you might read the title differently, you see the foreshadowing of the current right wing opportunistic targeting all things transgender, particularly affirming care. The article also vividly brought back to mind how fortunate I was to have a truly loving and supportive family and friend network (truth, not sarcasm) who helped me grow into an outwardly adjusted, successful, cishet man (an unfortunate disaster for me personally). No, I did not turn out alright, I just looked like I did.
The truth is that abusive behavior is, I believe, more ineffective than supportive influencing, which is what I experienced. Like a tree that has been trained to grow downwards or into the shade, I learned to use my exterior appearance as a shield. But my insides became more and more twisted as I tried to cope with the discontinuity of who I really am with who I was expected to be.
I think most people experience this to some degree, even without gender dysphoria. The source and cause may be different, but the resolution is the same. A poet enticed into a medical or engineering career. An artist working in the finance industry as an investment advisor. A linguist finding her way with an MBA into business management. Some of these careers can tap into each persons core creativity, but much of their career fails to energize or thrill them. They might be good at it, but they may never truly excel because the joy inside is not finding a way to express itself. No matter how well they succeed, they there will always be an empty nagging feeling. The sense that someday they will discover their real purpose.
And if that purpose is never found? If they never realize the joy of fully engaging their self in a productive creative frenzy? They are not the only ones robbed of an essential fullness of life. We, society, are also impoverished by the expiration of potential bound in captivity by well meaning normative reinforcement.
So few of us are true rebels, able to break away and rise above the undertow of the constant demands on our appearance to just be ourselves. And that is where my fury lies.
I do not blame my parents, my siblings, friends, or teachers. They were doing the best that they could, which is what is so insidious about it. But today, we know better. We know that affirming care can and will help normally adjusted cisgender and transgender, heterosexual and any other orientation adults grow into themselves and become productive and essential parts of our society. Yet there are those, using triggering words like groomer or deviant, or mentally ill that are doing their best to take away from the children, youth, and young adults of today the opportunities I never had. I am pissed. My hair is standing on end, my pupils dilated, my claws extended, teeth exposed, and if you listen to the warning rumble in your ears you will slowly realize that it is not a distant earthquake, but the pain and anguish of a lifetime bubbling to the surface and projected from my throat.
Take heed. I am not the only one. I don't care about your machismo and scare tactics. We Won't Back Down! So you better quietly turn around and slink into the holes from whence you came. I am watching you.