Okay, everybody, I have an idea. If you’re into it, please do it and promote it to others. If you’re not into, that’s cool. You don’t have to participate and no one will judge you for it.
I’ve decided that today, August 18th, is "International Say Something Nice to Another Trans Woman Day" (Snappier title to come, maybe)
Here’s what you do and it’s really simple: if you’re a trans woman, pick at least one other trans woman (you can do this for as many ladies as you like) and say at least one sincerely nice thing to her (you can say as many nice things as you like, though it will probably get really awkward at some point.) It’s that easy!
Try to avoid the obvious recipients, ie. trans “celebrities” and “icons.” Hero worship has its place and those folks generally deserve some praise, but they also tend to get it. A lot. So try to keep it to people in your community or folks you might know online and stuff. This isn’t about looking for scene points, so try to be conscious about sucking up to the “cool kids.”
Avoid compliments that focus on physical appearance!
1. That sort of thing just reinforces the idea that a woman’s only redeeming qualities can be found in her flesh. 2. Some trans women have a really hard time with that kind of attention being paid to their bodies. A lot of us immediately take those compliments as insincere, patronizing, or even sarcastic, regardless of whether or not they actually are. We can get our feelings hurt or our defenses raised even when that’s not what you’re trying to do. So stick to praise that describes a trans woman as a person, not just as a physical being. Avoid tropes and cliches like “you’re so kind!” or “you’re a great baker!” Dig deep, be creative. Try to think of something real and meaningful, something specific to them that couldn’t just come out of a Hallmark card.
You don’t just have to do this once or to one person or even just today. There’s always time and space for trans women to say nice things to each other! Maybe, if you’re feeling really into it, go beyond your own click or community. Think of a trans woman that runs with a different crowd or operates in a different circle, reach out to her and say “hey, I know we don’t know each other, but I’ve noticed all the great stuff you do and I wanted to tell you I admire you!” If you really wanna take it to the next level, maybe think of a trans woman you don’t particularly like, try to come up with something she is or does that you think is positive and let her know you appreciate that part of who she is.
Why just trans women? You know that episode from pretty much every television show set in school where it’s Valentine’s Day and everyone gets a bunch of paper hearts, except for that one kid that doesn’t get any and just sits at their desk feeling sorry for themself? I can’t help but feel like that would be trans women if we were to make it a “just say something nice to whoever you want” day. I see a need among trans women for some kindness, so, while I’m pro-kindness in general, I wanted a day that focused specifically on trans women hearing something nice about themselves. What’s more, I chose to make it specifically trans woman-on-trans woman niceness because I think there’s a specific need for more of that among us. The last few years have seen an incredible upswing in pro-trans woman attitudes among trans women. It wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have We Happy Trans or Janet Mock or Laverne Cox. It wasn’t that long ago that Whipping Girl hadn’t been written and transmisogyny was something we could all kinda see going on, but hadn’t yet named. We’ve come a long way, but we can keep going.
The bare minimum for participating is just turning to another trans woman and saying, “hey. I like you. You’re my friend and I’m glad you’re around.” But you can also be more creative! Write songs for each other or paint pictures. Put together care packages, make clothes, help clean someone’s house, take someone out to dinner. Write elaborate sci/fi that stars the two of you kicking ass across the galaxy. Whatever! The point is trans woman on trans woman kindness, so take that and go wild with it.
If you’re like, no, seriously, what about everyone else? Listen. There is no governing body that’s going to stop you from saying something nice to someone you think needs to hear it. If you’re not a trans woman and you still wanna take today to say something nice to one, fine. I promise, you won’t get caught. Just don’t do it with an attitude like you’re participating in the holiday. If you know a cis straight woman or a gay trans dude or a bi genderqueer or anyone else that you think deserves to hear something nice, fine! Lay it on ‘em! Just don’t think it means you get a “I participated in International Say Something Nice to Another Trans Woman Day!” button.
So that’s it. This idea is brought to you by no organization or overseeing body whatsoever. It is not meant to distract from, usurp, or overshadow any concurrent or ongoing efforts among trans women. It has no financial support and is, essentially, as powerful as we choose to make it. I know it can be awkward and I don’t think it’ll be perfect, but I think it’s cool, so I’m going to do it and I’m encouraging you to do it to.
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