If you are a woman, if you’re a person of colour, if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, if you are a person of size, if you are a person of intelligence, if you are a person of integrity, then you are considered a minority in this world.
…And it’s going to be really hard to find messages of self-love and support anywhere. Especially women’s and gay men’s culture. It’s all about how you have to look a certain way or else you’re worthless. You know when you look in the mirror and you think ‘oh, I’m so fat, I’m so old, I’m so ugly’, don’t you know, that’s not your authentic self? But that is billions upon billions of dollars of advertising, magazines, movies, billboards, all geared to make you feel shitty about yourself so that you will take your hard earned money and spend it at the mall on some turn-around creme that doesn’t turn around shit.
When you don’t have self-esteem you will hesitate before you do anything in your life. You will hesitate to go for the job you really wanna go for, you will hesitate to ask for a raise, you will hesitate to call yourself an American, you will hesitate to report a rape, you will hesitate to defend yourself when you are discriminated against because of your race, your sexuality, your size, your gender. You will hesitate to vote, you will hesitate to dream. For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution and our revolution is long overdue.
And she's absolutely on point about that. To have self-esteem as a trans person (and a trans woman) is a revolutionary act because people seem to think they have a God given right to hate us and aim violence and vitriolic hate speech at us whenever they feel like it. And if you dare show that you are a proud trans person, the haters take pride in trying to bring you down or sucking the joy out of your life.
To borrow a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. I refuse to allow cisgender hatters to make me feel like I'm less than a human being or feel ashamed or guilty about being trans.
I've been there and done that in terms of the hesitation that Cho talked about in the opening comment. I hesitated to dream. I hesitated to go for my transition knowing it was what I needed to do to make me happy and be the person I needed to be. And I was unhappy until I finally said enough and dealt with it
But once I did transition and was finally comfortable in my own body, the self-esteem increased, the fears lessened, the unfounded guilt melted away and I began to live my life.
We have to be consistently on guard about allowing shame and guilt to insidiously intrude upon our lives. There is nothing wrong with being trans masculine or trans feminine people, and we are part of the diverse mosaic of human life. If cis people can't deal with that reality, it's their problem to sort out, not yours.