In the great cities of the world groups of dissidents form their gaunt nexi of discontent and send the roots of change through the black soil of our existence.
Fay Weldon, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
In a dusty Delhi side street, deep inside a mother’s womb, life grows. A flush of hormones flood the tiny being and mesodermal tissues react and morph. The future is formed in flesh as testosterone stimulates the Wolffian duct and male sexual organs take shape; the Müllerian duct, so full of fallopian potential, degrades. Cells multiply. Screens flicker. A neural tube is created, a brain, a tiny seed of consciousness waiting to be watered. Eyes to see emerge, and ears to listen too. There will be much to see and much to hear. This is the youngest trans person in the world.
Outside. In the Incan heat of Peru, a mother smothers her own child. Appalled, she also kills herself. She writes their names in the book of dead, a woman who created life only to end it, a baby which was neither boy nor girl. The winds blow.
In Africa, a newborn takes its first breath. Around the world, tectonic plates shift, human bones replace themselves and snakes slither from their skins. Winds tear the leaves from the trees and dreams sink to the ocean bed as a billion ejaculations inject the globe with the scripts of a million species. The weak march together, in Turkey, Toronto and Tashkent, and demonstrate their strength. Icy villages house those who thank the cold and cover their bodies in shame. In Australia, a weathered face is held up to the mirror one last time. It blinks.
I converse with the air. Like the sun, which contacts my skin, our dialogue never changes. It recognises nothing new in me. It cannot detect my rage, the meaning behind livid tears, which evaporate from my cheeks, rising up to become part of it. I fly through the vapour, and gaze upon black clouds.
Loud voices shout about my people, filling me with fear. Perhaps they are reading the lies about my life, printed on papers which litter our vessel? I look at time, dangling from my hands, and long to land in a nexus of discontent.
At first they ignored us, pretended we didn’t exist. We have always existed. In the bible we are Eunuchs, castrated and seedless, or angels, genderless and beautiful. In the tribes of North America, long before European intrusion, we took our place in public life, respected and integrated. In sticky Eastern climes, Buddhas have watched us for centuries, and rags have hidden the space between our legs, and bound our breasts, since the times of Homer. Our gods are ancient.
But still they laugh at us. They humiliate us on the streets, spit on us, give us names which reduce and ridicule. They joke about us on their stages, and refuse to present us as equals. We appear, but it is as body parts, display items, oddities. We are questioned. Afterwards, we are harassed, genitals grabbed and groped in order to satisfy a hostile world’s claim on us. We call out, but it’s hard to make our voices heard. When we ask for basic respect, we are accused of seeking special treatment.
Now. They fight us. They tell lies about us: malicious mendax, masquerading as concern. They don’t care about us. They discuss us purely to entertain, and reject our truth. They say our experience is not valid. Sometimes, others defend our right to simply be, but we’re held back from defending ourselves. That which could not be more personal becomes a story told by others; nasty, false, and cruel. Its authors claim we are unfit people, that we endanger growing minds, because their own are so closed. They ignore the damage they’ve inflicted on ours for centuries.
Now. It’s time. We must not be bullied. We must be angry. We must mobilise. Our friends must join us, but it starts with you. Today. We can no longer kill ourselves. Instead, we must give birth to a better world, one which celebrates our natural diversity. We can live in that world. You have seen, in recent years, that determined minds can achieve great things. Yes, change is possible; we of all people know this. But only you can make it happen.