Imagine living in a body that you are at odds with and then imagine being bullied for it too. That's the trans experience summed up for you. Last night as I skimmed through pages of A Revathi's book on trans lives, bodies, and identity (Our Lives Our Words: Telling Aravani Life Stories), it was a chapter on Nirvana (the physical transformation that transwomen undergo) that had me jolted. The pain, the eventual catharsis were so palpable, it literally oozed out of the pages and settled on my heart.
It left me wondering what the trans narrative always does: what is it that makes it so easy for the cis-population to abandon their humanity when it comes to the queer folks, to anyone who is non-binary. This morning, I woke up to the news of the Inception star Elliot Page coming out as transgender and I guess I finally have an answer. But first, let's celebrate Elliot and the exceptional act of courage undertaken by him, which is sure to transform the trans narrative from this point.
He took to Instagram last night to share his truth with the world and wrote, "Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in life."
Elliot further added, “I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self. I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place.”
In the long post, he also addressed the vulnerability of his position and wrote, "My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now... I'm scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes' and of violence." He then went on to talk against politicians who “criminalize trans health care and deny our right to exist,” and influential people who use “a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the trans community.”
He ended the post on an empowering note and wrote, "I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive. To all trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better."
More power to you Elliot!
As for my answer: Elliot and people like him have been the missing page in this narrative! After decades of being abused and underprivileged, it is a representation that the trans folks have been lacking all this while. Take India's case, for instance, the moment a kid comes out as trans in the family, they are either beaten into "changing back to normal" or disowned forever. This is exactly where the cycle of abuse starts. Disowned and discarded, these folks scrape through their lives and when they finally have a voice, well, it's too late. No one wants a sermon on humanity and justice from a person who can be seen effectively dismantling the very basis of a heteronormative society that the cis-folks so dearly cling to.
But guess what happens when big names like Elliot join the league: you can't drown out their voices. They are recognised and amplified and this sure marks the beginning of a great change. Perhaps he doesn't realise how he has initiated a revolution, perhaps he does. Whatever the case is, a big change is in order.
Featured Image: Instagram