Please Respect Me

Crying

I wrote this post when I was anxious and not doing so well, this is a revision.

Sometimes, when I have nothing to do and am tired of mindless browsing, I check out Yale University´s channel (YouTube link: Yale Courses). One of my favorite professors is Freeman. She´s got that eccentric touch and has this infectious laugh which usually spreads to the other students, and she teaches the American Revolution like no other. It was through her that I came upon this little anecdote.

On August 30, 1776, George Washington was negotiating reconciliation (American retreat from Long Island) with British General William Howe. The latter had arrived at Long Island with a force that outnumbered the Americans, and had offered George Washington a chance of reconciliation before any blood was spilled. Washington however, refused because Howe failed to acknowledge him as General in his letters.

While it´s kind of sad that blood was spilled over a detail like that, nevertheless I still thought of this as a very strong gesture. It was imperative that Washington´s status be acknowledged, especially considering the relationship between the Americas and the British crown during that time. Why I feel it´s important at all is because I feel Washington did not ask for respect.

The message was clear: either you acknowledge my status or we´re not talking at all. I think we can learn something here – that is, to honor ourselves before we ask other people to honor us. In my rather tiresome experience with the first gender clinic, I kept having to ask to “please respect me”. It didn´t come off strong at all. I struggled to stay with them but ended up exchanging them for a different team.

The feeling that I get from the trans* community sometimes is that they feel it´s not a big deal when they don´t get all the respect other people get, or aren´t approached in the same way as cis people of their identified gender. That makes no sense at all. Being trans* does not mean that you can´t step to the fore and make clear that you are worthy of respect as a human being. Unless you committed some heinous crime, there is no need to plead.

If you are in a situation like this, dealing with people who make you want to tear the hair out of your head, you might want to consider that no one, not even gender clinics, are worth this kind of trouble. There´s people out there who have the decency to treat you like an actual fellow human being on this earth, and you deserve no less. Let´s face it – if you have to ask for it, it probably isn´t worth your time.

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