Sometimes it seems like I hear about trans people and madness all the time. Some of the most transphobic and ableist stereotypes get smushed together in media depictions of mad trans villains. Inside and outside of trans communities, I hear a lot of commentary and controversy over psychiatric diagnoses related to gender identity and gender expression, such as Gender Identity Disorder, Gender Dysphoria, Transvestic Fetishism, and so on. Our rates of suicide attempts and suicide get alluded to again and again (a big study found that over 40% of us try suicide at some point in our lives).
At the same time, though, there’s so much I crave to know that is not easy to find. I want to know about the revolutionary legacies of trans resistance to ableism and psychiatric confinement. I want to learn about other trans and gender nonconforming people’s experiences of psychiatric disability, emotional crisis, and the mental health system–and I want to learn about the tools and survival strategies they have created along the way. I want a glimpse into imagined futures and visions of a changed and changing world.
I’m grateful to people like Reina Gossett who have started unearthing our missing histories. I’m grateful to authors like Dylan Scholinski, Lovemme Corazón, Kate Bornstein, Jacks McNamara, and Karen Nakamura for the journeys they share in their books.
I dream of finding more, and maybe helping build some too.