Those people whose identity does not conform to the traditional binary codes have a hard time when it comes to esserting their existence and rights in moder society. Despite widespread denial and hate, they do exist and they do have rights. And they keep fighting to obait the basics: recognition and respect. Here is a testimony of that hard fight.
By Edie Galván Villarreal | AIJN (México)
I have spent approximately nine of my twenty-one years in this thing called life reading, researching and nourishing myself with “solid bases” to combat ignorance regarding my existence, to fight against hatred towards myself with “education”. To this day, I continue to try not to resort to high-sounding words and to use more academic language so that “I could be taken seriously”, almost completely forgetting that access to technicalities and education is a privilege that many do not have.
I have been fighting for years to be a successful person to please others, to demonstrate that trans people can be like others, that we can also make a lot of money or be scientists or whatever the cliché of success depending on the season is. Years trying to behave with “maturity”, without acting according to my age, and rather trying to enter that status of “serious and gray adult” that is expected in diplomatic circles that pretend to validate our existence as sex-generic dissidents.
I have been trying for years to be like those people with 100 percent developed logical mathematical intelligence, instead of paying attention to the other types of intelligence that I naturally possess, because in our society being good at math seems to be a synonym of having success in the hand. Because “someone with a doctorate and engineering is more literate than someone with a degree in arts or social sciences.” And because, to be respected, you need success. Because your human value is measured on that.
I almost chose a degree in psychology over a degree in arts, not because of myself, but because I wanted to demonstrate with “tangible evidence” to all those transphobic homophobes that I deserve respect. I almost went back to my natural hair tone and removed all my piercings to show them that I am as “normal” as they are. I almost stopped wearing the clothes I like to dress in a “formal”, “respectable” way so that my arguments were taken into account, even if they were perfectly valid from the beginning. I almost stopped to be me to be accepted by others.
Normal is a very harmful concept and I realized this at the age of twelve. Normal is a pre-established concept dictated by people in a situation of power, power granted thanks to a “macho”, adult-centered culture and based on heterosis hegemony.
At thirteen I realized that the solution was never to change my person and, to this day, I keep trying to get it into my head completely, because whoever hates you will not stop doing it even if you show them your thesis. They will hate you even if you look like them, they will not stop doing it no matter how many doctorates you have or how much “success” you have achieved in your life.
Those who hate you are going to look for reasons to discredit you, they are going to make you less for being you, they are going to try to eradicate you.
In these last nine years I have tried everything and I have seen my fellow soldiers try everything through different means: dances, marches, art, music, poetry, theses, dialogue tables, official documents, psychology, medicine, anthropology, sociology, metaphysics … And it is never enough: there will always be someone who opposes you, there will always be someone who asks you for MORE “valid” sources according to their perspective, there will always be someone who invalidates you because “it is your parents’ fault”, “you have the blue hair ”, “you are only twenty-two years old ”.
Because what they are looking for is not to understand you, but rather ways to disqualify your entire existence.
And I am tired of it. I am tired of re-educating people who do not want to listen, I am tired of being nice. Whoever wants to understand understands, and whoever does not must abide by the legal consequences of not respecting human rights.
I do not need to dress a certain way, look a certain way or to be a certain age to be taken seriously.
I do not need to be a great researcher or an “intelligent” person to deserve respect, as I have value and I deserve respect just because I am a person.
I do not need your approval to exist.
I do not need anything from you to exist.
I am not perfect and I do not need to be valid.
I do not need to change for you to treat me like a human being.
I am not like you and I am never going to try to be again.
I am already a successful person because I say so and, even if I was not, that would not be a reason to disrespect me or deny my human rights.
I exist. I resist. I persist.
* This article was selected as one of the best in the framework of the Call for Writings “Latin American Resistance Proposals to the Crises of the XXI Century – 2021”
* Photo courtesy of UNESII