This is a long post, for which I will not apologise. There is no TL;DR for this. You’ll read it sufficiently to get the idea, or you won’t. Either way, your decision is yours alone and you are responsible both for making it and for living with it – as are we all.
I’ve been considering exactly how to do this for some time, and I’ve come up with no satisfactory answer, no solution that doesn’t trigger my anxiety over and over. For a long time – longer than I’d care to admit – I was determined that I wouldn’t do it at all, that the matter was mine and mine alone, and that only those people I trusted would have the information.
Well. Those whom I both trusted and were in regular contact. Some people I’ve still too many loaded feelings about to speak plainly to them, largely for fear of being a bother.
Understand, therefore, that I am writing this in sound mind, but a state of extreme personal distress.
It is not a plea. It is not an appeal. You will come to whatever conclusions on your own.
Recent events spur me to action. Certainly mine is an unimportant voice, one tiny whisper in a storm. Nonetheless I feel compelled, as matters on the world stage propel us to dark places, from which the global community has crawled back before but has refused to learn its very hard lessons.
So too do matters far from recent, issues stringing back decades and centuries and millennia, which compound upon the heart and mind of the thinking person who feels inclined to do even the most cursory of study into world history. These things punch downward as surely as those who wield the cudgel of doubt and the sabre of fear – politicians, religious leaders, media moguls and mega-corporations whose names we all know even without speaking them. These people give ‘conservative’ a bad name, even from the perspective of an unabashed progressive like myself.
Now more than ever in recent years do matters parallel outwardly, as well as inwardly, the events preceding the Second World War.
And now is the time when I need to stand up, even if only to add one tiny voice, all too easily ignored.
I am nonbinary.
This constitutes my ‘coming out.’ I am now an out nonbinary individual. I am also bisexual, but that’s not new information. I may be somewhere in between bisexual and pansexual, but that’s neither hither nor yon, and it’s not the point of this message.
I am nonbinary. I do not identify as conforming to the gender binary. I do not identify as male or female; exactly how I DO identify is something I’m still privileged enough to be exploring, but I know, as a matter of absolute certainty, that the binary isn’t it.
To get the PSA portion of the message out of the way: I don’t care what pronouns you use to refer to me. As I am largely masculine in appearance, he/him is the most common and easiest for you. As neutral as I am to pronouns, I dislike gendered nouns; referring to me as ‘he’ won’t bother me, but a ‘man’ will earn an internal wince. It is unlikely that I’ll confront you about this. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me.
I am nonbinary and I am proud of that, fiercely so in my own quiet way. I am not a font of knowledge to be tapped for your curiosity, nor a freak present for gawking amusement. I am a person, and deserve the same rights and dignity as any other. I am ferociously individual. I am who – and what – I am.
Part of what I am, though, is scared. Terrified. Anxiety issues aside, the news that the U.S. Government is planning to legally erase transgender rights is something that should petrify EVERYONE, no matter who they are or how they identify. Persecution of LGBT+ people is not new – we are used as scapegoats for everything from theoretical bathroom rape to natural devastation wrought by hurricanes, cyclones and wildfires. Many countries kill LGBT+ people when they find us. In some, an LGBT+ person is unspeakably lucky to live past 35. Even in supposedly ‘developed’ countries, a transgender person can fully expect to have their identity routinely ridiculed and disrespected after their death (which will disproportionately be due to either suicide or homicide).
This isn’t how I wanted to come out. I’m not convinced I wanted to come out at all. But the more of us who refuse to kowtow to fear pressed upon us by those who claim the right to rule without caring for the responsibility that role brings, the better.
We are under siege. Even the most Right-wing of evangelists and Left-wing of TERFs find themselves in lockstep with one another in denying our very existence. These new proposals are not the first sign that the United States of America is run by a Fascist administration, nor is it the second or even third, but it is a horrifying indicator of the ever increasing danger to transgender and nonbinary people.
So yes, I am afraid, and unashamedly so. I would be an idiot to not be afraid, and you are an idiot if you think I’ve no reason to be afraid. I am scared for my fellows over in the U.S. I am scared that cancerous Fascist policy will take root and spread. I am worried it will come here, to Australia, my beloved home, a nation that should know better but that has been committing cultural genocide for as long as white people have been on these shores, and whose people STILL seem unable to summon the compassion for refugees detained in off-shore camps which our media isn’t even permitted to approach.
I’m terrified that when the next great global conflict comes – as it will, whether prompted by politics, resources, ethics or religion – we transgender and nonbinary people will find ourselves rounded up and slaughtered in even greater numbers than we are now. I’m scared that even with my white skin and largely masculine appearance, these very words will be used to condemn me, ‘other’ me. As privileged as I am to have a voice, to be able to walk down the street without harassment, to live my life in relative peace, all of that – for everyone – is under greater and greater threat.
But as afraid as I am, as much as it paralyses me, I will not let it win. I will not stand in silence and pretend this isn’t happening.
If enough people speak out, even as tiny whispers, it becomes a roar.
This is my whisper. May it help us all make a roar together.
— Scott Thornby, 2018-10-23