From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nico-lang/we-need-to-give-up-transphobia_b_3046302.html
Trigger warning: Transphobia. A lot of transphobia.
A month ago my friend Todd Clayton came out as a recovering transphobe in an incisive Huffington Post blog post, “The Queer Community Has to Stop Being Transphobic.” In the piece Clayton details his personal journey toward transgender acceptance, explaining how a speech by Matrix co-director Lana Wachowski, an out trans woman, opened his eyes to the quiet bigotry in his own life. Clayton hadn’t openly attacked trans people or worked against their freedoms; he was transphobic in ways that a lot of cisgender members of the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities are: insensitive and dismissive, not realizing the ways in which trans lives and struggles intersect with our own.
When he asked me to read the piece, I told him that his experience is common among cisgender people in the LGB community. In fact, I’ve made a similar journey. I told Todd that if he ever published his piece, I would come out with my own story. This is that story. It’s not easy to tell. I’ve been holding on to it for a while, keeping it secret and safe. But it can’t stay secret anymore.
My name is Nico Lang, and I used to be transphobic.
I never thought about myself that way. I thought that my emotions were normal and valid, feeling justified in my passive disgust for trans bodies. The first time I heard about trans people was when my father talked about seeing The Crying Game in the theater and observing the way the audience convulsed with shock when the heroine’s “secret” was revealed. My father claimed that people walked out or threw up when confronted with the image of transness or a life that didn’t fit their binary concept of gender.
I was a teenager. The gender binary was all I knew. Like Patty Hearst, I grew to love my captivity. I identified with my oppressors, working to uphold that marginalization in my own life.
When I met a trans person for the first time, I didn’t think my emotions were hatred, but they had to show on my face. For the purposes of this essay, her name was Megan, and she was one of the oddest characters I’d ever met, the kind of person you never forget. Megan claimed to be a vampire who drinks blood; she also told us stories of being a general’s wife and getting married in Egypt, as if she were a real-life Orlando or Candide. She wanted to believe that she leads a life that is too big to comprehend.