Not long ago, transphobia was defined as a ‘dislike or strong prejudice against transgender people’, but we are increasingly redefining transphobia to encompass anything that speaks even remotely critically towards anything related to transgender matters.

This isn’t helpful. Calling anyone and everything that doesn’t align with your worldview transphobic alienates well-meaning people who love their transgender friends and family and are just not onboard with modern trans activism.

The behaviour of social justice activists, while well meaning, hurts transgender people in the long run. People are tired of walking on eggshells out of fear of being labelled bigoted for everything they do and think. And when people feel like it’s too risky to ask questions or be authentic, they’ll just avoid transgender people entirely to save face.

Yes, hate still exists. There are improvements to be made. But when did we trick ourselves into believing that yelling about this was the way to change hearts and minds?

Hearts change through community and through relationships, not through telling someone else that their feelings are invalid.

Remember when we used to focus on where we agreed, rather than where we dissented? Remember when we knew how to be in community alongside those who thought differently? And remember when the word ‘hate’ was reserved for those who held true disdain towards another human, rather than being used to label anyone whose beliefs are different from our own.

Today, rather than focus on hate, I want to thank those who accepts me and include me in your communities. By accept, I don’t mean agree, or affirm. I mean love. I happen to be transgender, but that doesn’t need to define my relationships. I am so blessed to be in community with individuals of diverse political and religious viewpoints, and I am made stronger by having each of you in my life to challenge me and help me grow.

So to those of you who are transgender or trans allies, I implore you to take some time to listen to the concerns raised against where this movement has landed. If you’ve placed your self worth in the affirmation of others then you’ve set yourself up to be hurt and let down.

And to those who have vilified transgender individuals for everything you find wrong with our society, I beg you to soften your heart and remember that there are real people with real dysphoria caught in the crossfire.

When we fixate on divisive issues, we have no hope of getting along. If we want to build a society that works for everyone than we need to all listen a lot more and talk a little less.

We may disagree on washrooms and words, pronouns and policies, but the path forward through this minefield is empathy and understanding. Democracy only works when we respect the dignity of all and in the last few years people on both sides have traded love for a cheap shot at being right.

I’m ready for good faith dialogue. Are you?

Julia Malott

Julia Malott is a Canadian based transgender individual who advocates for bridging the gap between diverse viewpoints on gender identity and ideology. Julia is the host of Alotta Thoughts Podcast which features bi-weekly long form discussions exploring the complexity of sex and gender.

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Julia Malott

Julia Malott is a Canadian based transgender individual who advocates for bridging the gap between diverse viewpoints on gender identity and ideology. Julia is the host of Alotta Thoughts Podcast which features bi-weekly long form discussions exploring the complexity of sex and gender.