As Mary McLeod Bethune once wrote in the Journal of Negro History in January 1938, “If our people are to fight their way out of bondage, we must arm them with the sword and the shield and the buckler of pride–belief in themselves and their possibilities based upon a sure knowledge of the past. That knowledge and pride we must give them–if it breaks every back in the kingdom.
The enemy of self love is one of the banes of a transperson’s existence in the unholy trinity of shame, guilt and fear. For us to love ourselves, we must vanquish that three headed monster.
Shame, guilt and fear work in tandem to paralyze us into inaction. The unholy trio makes us afraid to acknowledge who we are as transgender human beings. It causes us to want to retreat into another closet and not be open about who we are. It causes us to question our trans lives, fear moving around in society, and acquiesce to disrespect and discrimination aimed at us.
It’s hard to develop that self love and pride when we are hated by society for simply daring to openly live our lives to the best of our ability. But develop it we must in order to become the tough minded individuals and people we will need to be to break free of the shame, guilt and fear in order to fight for our trans liberation.