Oftentimes, I've found that the angriest, most depressed people compensate in the most aggressive ways.
Said compensation can be both internal and external, can aim to hurt others or bruise the self. However, in the end, it always does harm. The pain continues until acceptance arrives and judgment ends. Not just externalized judgment of others, but also internalized judgment of oneself. Phrases such as "you're not X enough to be Y", or "only real A do B, C, and D" shove people into boxes, into the categories of "you're with us" versus " you're against us" and, therefore, puts pressure on one group to perform perfectly while excluding the other group altogether.
I know this to be a reality for me, at least, because I used to do just that. I used to exclude, gatekeep, and harm others, both intentionally and unintentionally. As a teenager, I used to compensate for my own feelings of inferiority by acting superior, by telling others what was valid and not, what was acceptable and unacceptable. My anger was channeled into other people, aiming to push them down and, in theory, raise myself up.
I, for many years, was truscum.
Truscum, also known as transmedicalists, are those who range from simply stating that transgender people must experience dysphoria - or a disconnect and discomfort with ones body and gender - to those that bully and belittle those that don't fit their narrative. I fell somewhere in-between, standing at the firm opinion that a person must experience dysphoria to be trans, as well as insisting that nonbinary identities were fake, among other things.
Now, though, I wish I could raise my past self this one simple question:
"Why does it concern me how people identify, or how they arrived at their conclusion?"
Asking myself that question, now, I can see how deeply wounded I was by society's inability to perceive me as the gender I was. It wasn't anyone's fault in particular, but merely the way the genetic-cookie crumbled: I had a round baby-face, wide hips, narrow shoulders, and a high-pitched voice. I didn't appear masculine despite my best efforts and, so, I internally bullied both myself and others for it.
By repeating toxic narratives in my head, I established the ideals that people who were not wanting to take hormones could never be happy because I wasn't happy with my absence of hormones. Or, those who didn't experience crippling, daily dysphoria must have been faking because how could they not want to change their bodies?
Later in life, I realized that transgender people have their own reasons for transitioning, and not every reason must be dysphoria-induced negativity. Sometimes, people experienced euphoria-induced positivity. Other times, they knew society was misunderstanding their gender identity, causing discomfort but maybe not creating crippling dysphoria nor exciting euphoria. It simply just was what it was.
But now, a decade into transitioning and considering myself "post-transition", I realize that it doesn't matter why someone transitions. What matters is that they're happy.
Some may ask, "What if they are faking being trans for attention?"
I would say, "So what?"
They may follow with, "They're making trans people look bad, invalid, or like we are all faking."
To which I'd respond, "But I know I'm not faking, and I know many people who aren't. Time will eventually tell and they will eventually stop. And, if they don't, then I applaud them for keeping up their 'act' for so long."
And if they tell me, "It bothers me, still."
I would reply, "And I can’t change your mind for you. I'm just picking my battles."
Because that's all it summed up to for me, in the end. My truscum phase - from age sixteen to nineteen-or-so - concluded with me realizing that not everyone was like me, not everyone would experience being trans like me, and moreover, I needed to pick my battles.
I was tired of bullying myself and others into a specific shape. I was exhausted at being angry and hurt all the time. And I was done with telling everyone that they needed to agree with me. After starting and stopping testosterone, getting top surgery, and being seen as the gender I identify as, my judgment has dissipated. I grew, realizing I wasn't a binary trans man but, instead, an agender person, unbound to the gender stereotypes of society.
Simply put, I learned to accept others, accept myself, and move forward. Now, I am far happier and far more open-minded. It's not that I never have the thoughts of, "but why did this person transition", but now, I can remind myself that it's their life and their choice. It's not my place to tell them what to do or think.
After all, I would never want someone to do that to me.