Heroes and Villains
Not all of the players in my story are irredeemable
I’ve gotten a bit of attention online since starting to write about detransition, particularly on Twitter. I have less than 700 followers, which isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things, but is more than I’ve ever had on any of my previous social media accounts. Some of my tweets get a few hundred likes. Again, not a lot, but overwhelming.
It’s not always overwhelming in a good way, though.
Sometimes I get responses that feel… off… to me. They generally come from people who are understandably frustrated with how gender ideology is affecting society — which I understand, of course, since it directly affected my own life — and when I share parts of my own story, there seem to be people who are determined to paint people in my life as villains for not stopping me from transitioning.
It would be easy for me to acquiesce and accept a black-or-white/good-or-bad view of my doctors, my surgeons, my therapists, or even my trans friends. It would be easy for me to paint myself as an entirely innocent person without any agency.
But that would be just as ridiculous as those who paint me as a hateful bully for speaking about my story of detransition and for opposing Bill C-6 and childhood transition.
Reality is not like fiction.
There are very few clear-cut cases of good guys and bad guys. People, for the most part, usually believe they’re doing the right thing — even when they’re hurting people in the process.
I read an article once that made the argument that nearly every person who commits an act of violence does so because they believe it is their moral obligation. Whether that person is acting from a place of ideology, from a place of self-defense, or from a place of complete delusion, they tend to believe what they are doing is “right.” People generally don’t act in a way that they think is wrong. They have reasons and justifications — again, not always good ones… but still there.
I liked my doctors. I liked my surgeons. I liked my therapists. I liked my trans friends. All of them were kind people who thought they were doing the right thing. All of them have redeemable qualities.
People who follow me on Twitter are never going to see those qualities, though, because they did not live my life. They are only reading snapshots of the things I went through then, framed by the pain I’m going through now.
Those people who follow me aren’t bad, either, though. They’re also fuelled by empathy and a desire to see justice.
Even if I’m uncomfortable with how people frame my story, I try to remember that and appreciate that people out there care about what I have to say and about the future of people who might be in the same position that I once was.
I just sometimes wonder whether I’m wasting my time with social media when I should be working on something book-length!