Submission from Scout R.
I was asked why I'm so “aggressive” about queer/trans shit, and I'm asked about that a lot. I thought it was a great opportunity to address this idea in a public way, so here goes.
People ask me why I’m “so aggressive” as if there’s a socially acceptable way to ask for my identity and pronouns to be respected or address microaggressions.
No matter how polite I am, somebody will always feel like I’m being aggressive when I assert my identity.
Trans and queer identities are markedly subversive/disruptive—we break down patriarchal concepts simply by existing. Existing, for us, is an act of aggression towards cisheteropatriarchy. Which is why in order to not seem “aggressive,” we, as queer and trans people, have to try so hard and sacrifice so much.
We are forced to constantly and very publicly disarm ourselves to the satisfaction of those who are invested in cisheteropatriarchy — by accepting misgendering, by making our gender expression more palatable to those around us and by being sure to separate ourselves from and denounce “those” bisexuals, queers, trans people and lesbians, who are too loud and fed up, too fat and hairy and promiscuous, who demand too much, who refuse to participate in things that harm themselves.
There is no socially acceptable way for trans people to ask for our pronouns, our names and our gender identities to be respected. There is no way to ask for your pronouns to be respected that is both “polite” and effective in getting people to actually use your pronouns.
So how about instead of asking me why I’m so aggressive, ask yourself why I have to be.
Realize that I have a lot of conversations about this shit, and I participate in a lot of educational moments. Honestly, I tend to get shit handled.
Sometimes I do make the choice to make myself and what I’m saying more palatable. I’m constantly in situations where in order to educate and make change more effectively, I do compromise my identity. But that is my choice to make. That’s every individual activist’s choice to make for theirself, and I am the only one in a position to decide for myself when it is appropriate to do that as an activist and to decide what I can handle.
So, I’m gonna need people, especially people who honestly don’t know shit about effective activism or organizing, to stop telling me how to act as a trans/queer person.