Fan Mail from Some Flounder

fan mail from some flounderI thought I was finished with friends or people I thought I knew turning on me for being trans. They kind of shook out in the first few months, and we parted ways. But not even two weeks ago, someone I’d known for the past three years and been intimately friendly with turned on me and emailed me a transphobic rant made up of the usual things those kinds of people say to us. Mistake, mentally ill, penis, vagina, GOD, you can fill in the rest of the blanks.

It’s destabilizing when something like that happens. Not because of the message. It was five paragraphs of cliches and religious misinformation that were too wrong-minded to hurt me. It’s like someone trying to insult you by saying “You have the head of a dog!” You know you don’t have the head of a dog (unless you do, and if so, that’s a good boy!), so you’re like, “Oookay. Whatever?”

It wasn’t the message. It was the fact that this person was friendly to me for years. We talked about music and confided in each other. He asked me for advice about a wide range of things, saying he respected my experience and expertise (don’t act so surprised, I know some things! 😉). It was very close for a work relationship.

Then he got himself fired and wasted no time in sending me the email the very next day. He opened strong; the first line was, “Since we’re no longer colleagues, I no longer have to worry about the bullshit-woke-agenda of [company], and can tell you that you’re mentally deranged.”

The hurt came from learning that our friendly conversations were not genuine. That he harbored unspoken hatred while pretending to be my friend. That’s a terrible thing to do to someone. It undermines your faith in friendship. I understand and accept that some people might not be honest about their feelings until they speak them to you for whatever reason, but knowing is one thing, experiencing it is another.

What I don’t understand is why anyone would seek out someone they think is awful and befriend them. That’s the pathological element that I can only assume is mental illness on his part.

So the uncertainty of friendship or even family ties is (another) one of the heartbreaking things trans people have to come to grips with. We can never be sure of the sincerity of a straight cis person’s friendship. We can never know if they harbor unspoken negative thoughts and feelings. They might not even know they have them. Implicit biases, right?

Bob Marley has a song called I Know a Place, and it’s always given me solace as an outsider. And before you ask, yes, I am painfully aware of how some (but by no means all) Rastas feel about LGBTQ+ people.

When the whole world lets you down
And there’s nowhere for you to turn
Cause all of your best friends let you down

And you try to accumulate
But the world is full of hate
So all of your best thoughts, just drift through space

I know a place where we can carry on
We can carry on, we can carry on

And it’s people like you, people like me
People need to be free, yeah!
There’s a place in the sun where there’s love for everyone
Where we can be

I know a place where we can carry on


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