On Fighting Hate With Hate

Photo by Rayne's Avante-Garde
Article By E.S. Wynn

I live a life that is pretty sheltered from judgments and hate, but it wasn't always that way. I'm grateful that I live in a liberal-leaning state in a time when being trans (especially a safe degree of trans [link]) is not such a big deal, but that wasn't always the case. I have lived in places where being white was enough to make me a target for bullying and abuse. I have lived in places where being introverted and intellectual was associated with homosexuality and that was enough to make me a target. During my life, I have been physically attacked by people of all creeds and colors. I have been stalked by women who couldn't care less about consent and who wouldn't take no for an answer, and I have walked many a lonely road with my fingers wrapped tightly around a spray-stick of mace, not because of some imagined threat that might be lurking in the shadows, but because of experience, because of very specific people who I knew walked those same roads, people I knew I'd have to defend myself against if I were to cross paths with them.

I have lived through all of this, and all of it even before I crossdressed for the first time or came out as trans.

Sometimes it seems that to be human is to bear the scorn, judgments and attacks of others. Certainly it isn't the only part of being human, but it does seem to be something we have to deal with every day of our lives regardless of who we are and where we choose to live. People can be cruel, and whenever someone lashes out at you (for whatever reason) it can be very easy to lash back, to spit and snarl and show them what it feels like to bear the brunt of the very attacks they're leveling at us.

Sometimes that's necessary. I'm a proponent of self-defense and fighting back to protect oneself. I think all oppressed minorities should stand up and refuse to be silent, but I am not a proponent of senseless or vindictive acts of violence.

I think, far too often, that it is easy to hate those who hate. As creatures who tend to think in all-or-nothing ways, it seems like there is an internal belief that you must either be the victim or the oppressor, that oppression is right if your cause is just. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, when I see nazi thugs marching with the sacred symbols of my ancestral culture (the runes) I'm filled with a singular rage. I start to see red, for all the damage fascism and that brand of hate has done to my faith and my people. There is something approaching hate which fills my heart, and there is the urge to let it out in destructive ways, but to what end? Would I be any better of a person than the neo-nazi in the street if I were to embrace my hate? Would I be any better of a person if I were to echo their means for the pursuit of my own ends? Or would I be just as bad, even flying a different flag?

I understand the urge to get revenge. I understand the importance of standing up for oneself and protecting those who are being attacked by those who hate. Hating people "because they deserve it" is a wholly different animal, though. Whenever I hear someone say "you can't be racist against white people" I cringe just as much as I do when I hear white people speaking racism. Hate is hate and judgments are judgments no matter who they are leveled at. Do the radicals of Antifa have a right to destroy and loot the businesses of hardworking citizens who they have no real quarrel with simply because they are "on the side of right?" No! Destruction is destruction. No one has the "right" to hurt another, except perhaps in direct self-defense. If someone swings a punch at you, take them down, but if someone shows up waving a flag that you don't like or shouting slogans that you take issue with, don't give in to hate. Don't create violence and feed someone else's hate. Oppressing those who have a differing viewpoint than you, no matter what it is, is fascism. No one "deserves" to be oppressed, injured or abused, no matter whose flag they fly or whose words they parrot. Violence is the only thing that matters. Violence, those who use it and those who defend themselves and others against it. Defense is the middle-path between victim and victimizer. It is the high road, but it is also a road which doesn't give into or cultivate a never-ending cycle of hate.

So if you're trans, the next time someone shouts something nasty at you, just grin and nod, or ignore it. If someone throws a punch at you, duck under it and strike back. If you meet people in the street who sneer or express a viewpoint contrary to yours, have the self-confidence and inner strength to not react, to let it roll off of you, knowing that what you know is true for you (and for countless others as well.) Hatred and violence only go as far as you allow them to. Do you want to live in a world of hate and fear or do you want to work to end the reign of hate and fear? It starts with you, with each of us as individuals, each of us being confident in who we are, standing up for ourselves when others judge, and holding back the urge to oppress others as strongly as we ourselves have been oppressed.

If you have a story about your own experiences as a trans individual or would like to be interviewed so that you can share your perspectives as a trans person with the readers of this blog, please feel free to contact me through the contact form here: [link]. Make sure you have javascript enabled or the form will just display a blank page. I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to share your perspective with our readers. Thank you!

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