I’m a transwoman, and this is my #walkaway story. I grew up in a conservative Catholic, Labor-voting family in South-Western Sydney during the 1990s. I grew up listening to my parents’ stories of fleeing their homeland after the Vietnam War, but alas, at times, I failed to appreciate the sacrifices my parents made for my freedom and good life here in Australia.
It is true that for a very long time, since coming out to my parents as trans in high school, they did not accept me as their daughter. They wanted their son to pretend the gender dysphoria wasn’t there, to excel at school academically, obtain a ‘prestigious’ university degree of some sort, and marry a woman to have children with her. Of course, none of that happened.
What happened instead was that I underwent counselling and psychotherapy for seven years before transitioning. Life was incredibly miserable. I was under a lot of pressure to make counselling and psychotherapy work for me, but that only exacerbated my dysphoria, which only nosedived my sense of worth. Gender dysphoria is unbridled and autonomous psychological abuse, which disrupted my relationship with my parents, friendships, high school studies, social development etc.
In the midst of all this. I joined the ALP and got active in Young Labor. At university, I socialised with left-wing campus activists and student politicians. It’s no surprise that modern social justice, labelled red, was an attractive proposition for someone in my position. I wasn’t just angry at my parents, I was angry at the world for my misfortunes. I learned to be a victim. Sometimes my victimhood was legitimate, but in hindsight, a lot of the times my victimhood was lazy-thinking and convenient. The world owed me something apparently, but the world had nothing to do with my misfortunes.
Credit to the left when credit’s due: they were good at validating and enabling my childish feelings. The outcome of this was unsightly:
I believed that children transitioning genders is a topic off-limits for public debate, because I wasn’t interested in the scepticism, because I felt the scepticism would invalidate my childhood experience, which I could not tolerate.
I was dismissive of detransition (transition regret) stories because I felt acknowledging the existence of detransitioning would invalidate my horrific life experience, which I couldn’t accept, just because I said so.
I believed that transphobic people, or who I thought to be transphobic, should be stopped from expressing their transphobic speech. I believed in freedom of speech only when it suited my feelings. My definition of transphobia was so ridiculously broad, that I even felt that the term transsexual is transphobic. Sad, really.
I believed the world owed me special treatment as compensation. It was all about me, and not about anybody else concerned. And if anyone disagreed with me, they were transphobic in my eyes. I must’ve made the social justice warriors proud.
Then, some time ago, I was introduced to libertarian ideas. They made me uncomfortable at first, but that was due to my skewed understanding of freedom and liberty. The big penny dropped when I seriously explored, for the first time, the idea of freedom of speech. As silly as it sounds, it became apparent that all this time, on free speech, I wanted to have cake, and eat it too. I’ve been enjoying my own free speech without putting myself in the shoes of others, transphobic or not.
It finally occurred to me that other people have experiences different to my own, and if I accept that, then why should I expect others to embrace my experience without question, when I’m not willing to do the same? And if that’s the case, who’s to say what speech should or shouldn’t be allowed? The left? Well that would be unfair to everyone else. The government? Absolutely not!
It’s crystal clear that freedom of speech is the most fundamental human right, which other (negative) liberties are derived from. The modern left’s intolerance all of the sudden became obvious to me, and this was one of the greatest political epiphanies in my life. This became my gateway drug to Conservatism, and I haven’t looked back since.
I started to listen openly to those sceptical about children transitioning genders. Today I don’t always agree with the sceptics, but having listened to their concerns, I now believe we are doing a disservice to children if we don’t prudently manage children claiming to be trans. That’s not to say that no child should be allowed to transition (I’m a case in point), but unconditional affirmation of a child’s transgenderism is foolish. Sorry trans activists, but this debate is too important not to have.
Last month I met international speaker and author Walt Heyer, in person. Walt Heyer is a detransitioner who helps others who regret their gender change. Like many detransition stories, his story crawled under my skin, but the skin-crawling is different without the victim mentality. By opening myself up to him instead of acting like a victim, I felt no need to try to invalidate his experience just because mine is different. I was surprised I was able to manage that.
I shared my story, and while Walt seemed unable to accept that there are genuine cases of gender dysphoria, our dialogue about his tragic cautionary tale was fruitful. There are people who regret, and there are people who don’t regret. I’ve realised that it’s dangerous and unhealthy for transgender discourse if success and regret stories aren’t kept separate, and attempts to invalid either side is just as dangerous and unhealthy.
I may not like what someone has to say, but everyone is in the same boat, and so I realised that everyone loses under my learned victimhood, special treatment, and the broadening of my definition of transphobia. I am proud to say that with a victor mentality, and a renewed sense of responsibility, everyone wins in their own way, myself included. This is why I chose to #walkaway.
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