The quest for finding safety in normalcy is a hopeless one. It is better to embrace the diversity of humanity, and let people be who they were meant to be. This also applies to queer and transgender people.
Korviday's brilliant queer analysis of Shrek
Why is it that so many people fear transgender and queer people, or any people that do not follow the norms, for that matter? Why do they want everyone to be like themselves... No, strike that. They do not want them to be like themselves, given that they are all imperfect beings... No, they want them to be like the idealized versions of themselves. The perfect man. The perfect woman. Why is that?
In the video embedded below korivday uses the two first Shrek movies to discuss what causes this pressure towards “normalcy”.
It is not that these movies present Shrek as queer. They don’t. But they do give us a very good idea about what it means to be an outsider who does not fit the norm.
Korivday is using the interaction between Shrek and the powers that be (Lord Farquaad and the Fairy Godmother) to describe the way society forces queer people back into the closet.
It is a brilliant analysis, and I recommend that you watch it!
The toxic feedback loop of insiders excluding outsiders
Based on my own life experience, I have come to believe that much of the oppression of queer, trans and nonbinary people is based on the following toxic feedback loop:
1. Life is hard under the best of times, and as human beings we try to control our surroundings in order to reduce the anxiety. That is to be expected.
2. However, one way of controlling the environment is, unfortunately, creating an idealized narrative of what a perfect life would be. If only everyone behaved like this (or that), the gods would not be angry with us. If only all of us thought and behaved like me, there would be no conflict, and therefore no aggression and no war.
3. Given that what nature really loves is diversity, these anxious people have to reduce that diversity until it fits the narrow confines of their own minds. They therefore start to punish people who cannot or are not willing to obey.
4. This social conditioning uses fear and shame to make people live up to the norms. Those that are not willing to accept the regime or who are not able to, are labelled as deviants and outsiders.
5. Given that we are social animals, who seek comfort and safety in social groups, the threat of social exclusion is the most effective weapon of them all, so this marginalization reinforced the pressure towards conformity.
6. Moreover, the outsiders are depicted as the very reason for why people are afraid. They are the ones that cause the anxiety and the fear of life, in the first place, the oppressors say, and not the real culprits, the oppressors themselves. This is not true, obviously, but it is a narrative that is easy to understand.
The Jews are behind all the bad things in the world, or the Muslims or black people or queer and trans people.
They are not like us! They are dangerous! Scapegoats like these gives fearful people someone to hate, which is emotionally liberating. It also gives them a sense of purpose and control.
7. This again causes some of the outsiders to try so hard to become insiders that they become oppressors themselves. We have our share in the trans and queer communities too.
8. Ruthless and evil politicians and power brokers understand these mechanism, at least on a gut level, and exploit them for their own unsavory purposes. This applies to people on both sides of the political spectrum.
The only way to liberate humankind from such oppressive and totalitarian cultures and regimes is for the outsiders to stand together and rebel.
Because the fact is that no one is able to live up to these impossible ideals. Ultimately everyone becomes a prisoner under such regimes.
The trick is to get people to move beyond the fear and understand that happiness is not the end result of denying your true self.
Happiness is about accepting, loving and expressing your true self. A healthy society embraces diversity.