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Saturday 11 April 2015

Gabe writes: "Enough is enough"

Posted in: True Stories
By Gabe Clifton - 13th November 2014

I hate that I have had to come out publicly about being trans but I am sick of the way I am being treated. I am also more concerned for others who may not stand up for themselves and have a supportive network of friends like I do who have my back and pick me up when I’m down.

Gabe's had it with the hate mail, which has all come from people within the glbti 'community'
I have formed a thick skin over the years and have my head screwed on, which is why I have been able to tolerate the abuse and discrimination that I get. I don’t ‘fan the flames’ and I let things go. But I shouldn’t have to and enough is enough.

My concern is that this GLBTI community where everybody is ‘pro equality and acceptance’ is the ONLY community where I have ever felt judged, hated or bullied. I have been a boat builder, shop fitter, brick layer, barista and builder. Not once have I ever had a problem.

Within the GLBTI community I have received hate mail, over the fact that I am the manager of a prominent gay sauna, Centurian, on numerous occasions from different people. I have had people contacting outing me and saying there should be an article done on me and how disgusting it is. I have been told directly by people that they are going to make it their mission to tell as many people they can about ‘who’ I am because it’s not fair on people who don’t know… umm, not fair on them?

The owner of Centurian, Liam Slater, has always supported me and never once had a concern about me working there. Quote ‘as far as I am concerned you are a man and Identify as a Man. End of story’. Centurian openly supports trans men and the reason for not coming out in a big song and dance about it or telling people is that I personally don’t want people knowing and it is my right not to have to disclose that information. But in this community I’ve learnt quickly that the entitlement was clearly never mine and gossip overrules.

Dating is not always the easiest thing for a trans person. Especially someone like me who doesn’t want to be ‘out’. I have been hit on so many times in gay bars and once I tell them they say ‘oh that’s ok, I’m fine with that’ as they physically step backwards and walk away. Nice. To add to this I was finally, newly dating someone and all was going really well. A journalist from a gay magazine, for some unknown reason, felt it was appropriate to contact him, not me, and ask if he could interview him on what it was like to date someone like me! Way to make me feel like a freak. I know that wasn’t the intention but it was so wrong to do that.

People I have dated have had to put up with questions like “are you straight now?”, “I didn’t know you were bi”, “How does that work if you’re a bottom?”, “Have you been with a girl before?” These questions are incredibly hurtful and for future reference are not ok. Words can be much harsher than you intend them to be and can have an effect on someone your apologies won’t be able to fix. As we have all faced bigots in our lives I expected a level of compassion and understanding. I was wrong, very wrong.

Just as you are not the same as every gay man or lesbian, trans people are also not the same. Just because I hate being this way does not mean every trans person does. Some are very open and embrace who they are which I find amazing. But with that being said NONE of us were put on this earth for your gossip, judgement and amusement. Although there are many people I have to put up with there are so many more who are amazing and kind. I frequently hear from my friends the things that others have said, perhaps because the people who say hurtful things don’t realise that my friends don’t keep secrets from me.

This community is all about ‘pride’ and it is this community that has tested mine to the limits. I will no longer be letting things slide and I will no longer back down. If I continue to get vicious hate mail I will be laying official complaints to the police because I am proud enough to say I have rights too, and that is the true meaning of ‘pride’ in my opinion. Just know that life for many is hard enough so have a little compassion and please back off.

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Gabe Clifton - 13th November 2014