We have therapists at this service with experience working with transgender people* – and in this culture that work inevitably tends to include experiences of bigotry, discrimination, othering, intrusive behaviour, false assumptions and generalisations…the list goes on. Their clients’ experience and ours is that very often the people responsible for those behaviours do not know any transgender people personally, and have an entirely story-based idea of what it is to be transgender. A fear-based form of ‘monstering’, unrelated to evidence, facts or reality, let alone any sense of the value and richness of our endlessly diverse shared humanity. Whilst it may be unduly optimistic to say that prejudice wilts on encounter, we do think there is an overwhelming case for as many forums as possible for transgender people to share their experiences. Our sense is that seeing and hearing another human being actually speaking, with heart and transparency, can be an illuminating and humanizing experience for those coming from a place of fear and ignorance. The antidote to disconnection is encounter and connection.
This little film seems like a helpful contribution to that, and we would like to thank those taking part and the National Center for Transgender Equality for making it available. We felt moved and heartened by the participants and what they share.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling in Exeter since 1994
*We do not as yet have any transgender therapists – so, if you are a transgender therapist in the Exeter area, with a leaning towards person-centred ways of working and some time to volunteer, please do get in touch….