The Anger of a Wounded Animal

[This text contains descriptions of racist violence.]

My analyst tells me that my constant anger is a position of power that I can’t let go of. I find that almost naive. I ask him whether he knows what it’s like to get angry in a discussion, especially a political one, with hostile people. As a woman. As a trans person.

There are things that should anger any decent person, but cause me a particular sharp pain when reading them. As if my chest imploded, I have tears in my eyes and cannot breathe. I haven’t always immediately understood why. One of those things is the racist hatred that arose when the role of Arielle, the Mermaid has been cast with a Black actress.

The story of the Mermaid is a painful one in itself for me. It’s the story of a vitally necessary transformation, a transition with great sacrifices. It’s the story of a person who has no voice. I know very well what it means to be mute in public, to be literally mute out of fear. After my transition, my voice came back – first as a kind of Ausweis paper, nudging me towards the “right” side at the border of gender, saving my life. Then, after I had transitioned back hormonally and cosmetically, my still deep voice was a thorn in the flesh, in the ears of all people who thought my gender was unambiguous, innocuous, harmless. I fully enjoy their discomfort.

It was the first time I, a white European, found out that long after the abolition of slavery in the USA, Black people have been still chased away from swimming pools. Those who resisted have been sprayed with acid. An unimaginable anger rose up in me. I will never know what it’s like to be Black in this society. I do, however, know what it feels like to have to avoid the water that I always loved. To be unwanted, to be driven away from such an important resource of life. Almost dream-like, I recall the memory of my first summer after the operation, running towards the water at a Portuguese beach, blinded by the deep-set afternoon sun, the icy ocean. My scar was still fresh and huge, red, raw, aching. I didn’t care. The people’s stares were unpleasant, but I tried not to see them. I had sacrificed so much and still had pains with every step I took, but I was free, had to finally be allowed to be free. I could cry when thinking about it, even to this day.   

My analyst once told me how he, growing up in rural Bavaria, as a child accompanied an adult friend at the hunt, and how it moved him to see that the hunter bowed down to each killed animal to beg for forgiveness. “This is pathetic”, I said, “how he tried to relieve his own conscience. The animal didn’t care, it was dead.” 

My analyst will never understand what it’s like to not get any power or respect for getting angry, but instead, being insulted, attacked, killed. My anger will never be anything but the anger of a wounded animal. But I still live. I still have a chance to scratch out their eyes.

There will be no forgiveness.

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