Sunday, September 10, 2017

Anger


Anger.  As I learned in therapy, it is a secondary emotion.  It is the aftermath of primary feelings of frustration, sadness, disappointment, etc. which have never been recognized or addressed.  To deal with anger, one has to learn how to sense when anger is bubbling up, and to learn how to quickly identify the associated primary feelings so that they can be addressed.

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This past political season, we saw anger bubble up to the surface.  Angry white voters helped put Trump into office. They see the "White America" of the 1950's as an ideal, but misidentified why this era was good to people of their kind. American prosperity was linked to people of color and gender variant people being out of sight and out of mind, instead of being because half of the industrialized world having destroyed itself in war. They see the decline of "White America" being caused by including minorities in schools and in the workplace, instead as a result of structural conditions that our political elites have failed to address.

The election of Trump has enabled many outcasts in "White America" to stop repressing their feelings, and let this festering anger bubble to the surface.  They do not understand why they are angry, and they are lashing out at anyone perceived as different from them. These people are dangerous to be around, as innocent bystanders can get harmed when someone goes into a rage.  For example, there was one airplane that had to make an emergency landing because one Trump supporter was making a disturbance in the air. (He was later banned from the airline for life.) Afterward, someone posed a question: "Why didn't anyone stop this person?" And the answer is simple - who wants to put him/herself at risk in a confined space, and also be at legal risk for doing so?  Let some other person deal with the problem. And the crew did so.

But the ascendance of the "Angry White" is dangerous to all.  We are not looking at the vast majority of people who have suffered because of our elites not doing their jobs.  We have globalization without shock absorbers for those being displaced by foreign competition. Most of those who have been displaced are poorly educated, and live in communities where introspection is not encouraged. As a result, they blame "the others" for their problems, and look for opportunities to "get back" at anyone seen as outside their insular communities.
 
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For many of us transgenders, anger has been a part of our lives. Many of us have been told that who we are on the outside must indicate who we are on the inside.  We have often repressed a lot of anger of our own. But most of us have gotten to the point where we have had to look inside of ourselves and see a common reality. Who we are inside is not defined by the external bodies we live in.

Unfortunately, acting on this incongruity puts many of us at risk. Angry folk have now been granted a social "hall pass" to act foolishly. Their false messiah has shown with his style that being a bully is all that is needed to be a success, and they yearn to follow in all of his steps. So they take it out on both people of color and the gender variant. And sometimes, they take it out in a violent manner - and we suffer physical harm without doing anything to provoke anyone except by being our true selves.

I have had to consider changing my plans for my next cruise. Do I want to risk coming through Customs, and have my gender variance held against me by rogue Customs Agents? This is a question I must answer before booking my next cruise with Lili. As much as I don't expect to have many problems in the New York City region, I now expect potential problems the farther into the hinterlands I may travel as Marian. Up to Election Day 2016, I would feel no compulsion against traveling en-femme to see a friend in Ohio. Now, I'm not so sure about making a long distance drive unless I am en-homme.

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It doesn't pay to be an idealist any more.  Pragmatism is the order of the day.  We are the people who will be first at risk if society goes insane. Please note that I am not saying that we must go back into the closet.  Instead, if we are already "out", we must do as much as we can to appear "normative" and not be cartoonish characters doing impersonations. This means that people should dress appropriately for people of their ages. M2F transgenders should consider working with voice coaches, so that their voices don't immediately give them away as being transgender. If living en-femme 24x7, then facial feminization surgeries should be considered to soften faces, so that people are not tagged as being transgender at first glance.

Although I am not advocating going "stealth" at the moment, it's important for M2F transgenders to be close enough to normative female presentations so they don't stand out in a crowd.  If asked politely, we should be open about ourselves.  Other times, if we feel we are at risk, have an appropriate lie on hand to use as a cover story - such as having to have use steroids to deal with a disease, or to have had PCOS.  These are uncertain times, and all transgender people should work to minimize potential risk factors now, while we have the time and money to do so.






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