Trans Lives Matter (and can be boring)

Guest post from Ross PostingDad.

I don’t want to be writing this. I have an essay due soon for a university course that needs some work. I have a partner I could be sitting on the couch with, now our kid has gone to sleep, watching some garbage on Netflix and debating whether to have a beer now or save it for tomorrow. I could be a dutiful son and give my mum a call. Instead, I’m sitting at my desk writing yet another treatise on why I should be allowed to do any of the above things in peace, without having my right to exist debated in public again.

I know we’re fed a narrative that being transgender is a life of dramatic struggle, but in actual fact, it’s…fine? I go to work, I take my kid to the park, I walk the dog, I can make a decent dinner out of pretty much anything in the cupboards the day before payday. I ride in mountain bike races, and sometimes I even finish them. I have a partner who I adore and who I occasionally squabble with over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher (it’s his) (Editors note: no it isn’t). I’m like pretty much every other bloke in his late thirties with a public sector job, a mortgage that’s just a little bit too big, and slight regrets that I spent too much of my twenties drinking cheap beer and listening to Limp Bizkit. I’m unremarkable, and that’s OK.

I give this context because that’s what’s missing from a lot of this debate. It shouldn’t be hard to imagine that trans people, like pretty much every other marginalised group, just want to get on with their day. Trans teenagers want to go to school as much as every other teenager (which is to say that desire varies WILDLY). Trans elders want to do Aqua Zumba in the pool with ‘Ofa and Glynis and that zany instructor with the blue hair and neon pants. Tired trans dads want their toddlers to go to sleep already so they can crack out the can of Stoke Dark that’s in the fridge. We’re not weird creatures hiding under bridges or haunting public toilets. We’re just people. We’re poor and we’re rich and we’re brown and we’re white and we’re across all classes and employed and on the dole and we’re out there just like you, scratching along, living our lives.

And yet for some reason, there are people out there who have developed the equivalent for QAnon for genitals and created an incredibly weird mythos around people like me. Like QAnon it seems to swallow their entire lives. It’s weirdly, horribly fascinating watching a famous comedian go from posting a tweet with a “legitimate concern” to posting pages-long essays about the “trans conspiracy” at 3 am on a Substack account after losing their job, their marriage, and their Twitter account in the space of a couple of years. And like QAnon, there are enough cynical politicians out there who can see it as a wedge-issue opportunity. And because of this, we become a debate, a “legitimate concern”, a whole population reduced to a few long-debunked statistics and pithy slogans.

I’m not going to name names and point to examples, because frankly, it doesn’t matter when I write this. There will be another article next week. Another press release from some organisation calling itself “Stand Up For Adult Human Females” which has nothing to say on intimate partner violence, pay inequity or midwife shortages, but plenty to say on whether I can go for a piss in a public toilet, or if a ten-year-old girl is allowed to join the Brownies. Some Canadian doctor specialising in bowel movements will get equal time on New Zealand TV with a leading professor on paediatrics to provide “balance” in an item about trans-affirming care. Some drivetime presenter sweating through last night’s Rioja and next week’s family court appearance decides that what’s really wrong with the world isn’t climate change or crippling financial inequity, it’s the fact The Kids Have Too Many Genders These Days.

I’m not here to argue for my right to exist. Because I exist. And I’d still exist if Park Up 4 Wombyn and Doctor Toiletbowl and Angry Bird Lady and Mark Poskins and the Morning Zoo Crew all got their way. But it wouldn’t be a life. I want to feel safe to go to work, raise my child, have a coffee with the guys after a Saturday morning at the bike park. I want those teenagers to feel safe going to school, even if they intend on bunking off Physics later to try on clothes in Glassons. I want those trans elders to feel safe grapevining to Cotton Eye Joe in the pool with ‘Ofa and Glynis. I don’t think that’s a cause for concern, is it?

And with that, I’m off to get that beer.

Trans life, in progress.

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