Lately, I’ve been feeling really angry. The smallest things set me off. When I cycle on the road, I get angry every time a car overtakes me dangerously. By the time I get to where I’m going, usually less that 15 minutes away, I’m so wound up that I feel like I might explode, which isn’t the best headspace to be in when meeting friends for a chat.
When I was a child I had a terrible temper, and I think a lot of it was due to a combination of frustration and unhappiness. So now that my temper has returned, I can only put it down to the same thing again – frustration and unhappiness.
The fact is that I am extremely frustrated at the moment. I’m frustrated with the gatekeeping that exists for transgender people trying to access medical transition. I’m frustrated with medical practitioners telling me what I can and cannot do with my body. I’m frustrated by a process that requires me to open myself up to complete and utter strangers and talk to them about past events, which I prefer not to think about anymore. I’m frustrated that I live in a world where my gender identity is completely invisible. I’m frustrated that I have to keep justifying, explaining and proving that my non-binary identity does actually exist!
I’m frustrated that the Irish government took three steps forward and two steps back with the Irish gender recognition bill. I’m frustrated that I have to choose constantly between male and female, Mr and Ms/Miss. I’m frustrated that I still have so far to go before all my documents are changed, because this process is both time consuming and costly. I’m frustrated that the whole system is against me, is against transgender people, is against non-binary people in particular.
In my darkest moments, I just think “What’s the point?” How long can I keep on struggling, fighting, pushing against the system? A queer friend said to me that it’s only possible to fight the system for so long before you need to take a break from it. Her suggestion was 5 years on, 2-3 years off. I think she’s right. Although I think I’m reaching breaking point already. But the thing is that I have yet to achieve any of the goals that I’ve set for myself, and there is a hell of a lot more fighting to be done before I can take time to rest and relax.
All of this is feeding into my unhappiness, which is exacerbated by my body dysphoria. I know that top surgery is in the pipeline, and that I’ll hopefully also get hormones soon too. But I’m unhappy right now, and all this waiting and fighting is making my unhappiness more pronounced. But I’m too wound up to sit still and think. I’ve done with my thinking, now it’s time for action.
I’ve always been a passionate person, and now I have something that I’m fighting for that affects not only me but other people like me. I will not hide in the shadows any longer, I will not silence my voice any more, and I will not pretend that I’m ok with being marginalised by mainstream binary society. I know that in so many ways, I have it easy. But each person’s struggle is individual and unique. My struggle may not be about race or ability or sexism, but it is about something else that affects everyone. It’s about gender, and being invisible, and being unheard in the crowd.
I have a long road ahead of me, and I need to make sure that I don’t burn out or become bitter and angry in the process. I need support, and I need allies, but most of all I need to know that change is possible. Otherwise, what’s the point?