Why Things Will Never Get Better, and Why You Will Be OK Anyway

Michelle O'Toole

by Michelle O'Toole

OK, Nazis probably never stopped marching around bellowing the worst things ever. I was probably just too British/hermit-like to notice. But look! They are on the news again! And they have websites! Some of which don’t look like they were made in the nineties!

And look over there! Politicians who championed our rights (to win the votes of liberals) are now backing away from ‘identity politics’ (to win the votes of Nazis)! Some are saying we are the reason the Nazi’s favorite former steak salesman is the President; because we were too noisy about wanting to go to the toilet correctly.


Of course you are feeling hopeless. Of course you are crying on the floor of your bathroom. Of course I wandered the streets, asking complete strangers to hold me so I can feel something again (don’t judge me, I am so very alone). This all makes total sense in a way your white, cis, het, liberal friends will never understand. The world just gave 4Chan the White House.

And 4chan thinks we are disgusting.

Yeah, we’re the disgusting ones here.

How can you not be freaked? How can you not feel hopeless when ‘Hitler-youth-Patrick-Bateman’ Milo Yiannopoulos can make a career out of telling rooms full of baying “pigmen’ that we are weak, pathetic, and disturbed. This cretin has made inciting transphobic hatred an art form, and his audience live for eating up his toxicity and vomiting it back at us.

Milo has monetized riling up a group of people who are tired of being told to be nice to others. He is gleefully showing them how much fun it can be to act like a bell-end.

What a guy.

He has helped create a new breed of asshole who gets off on saying naughty words. They are only a few degrees away from being that kid from school who can’t stop screaming “poo”. The only things that they love more are their collections of hentai and fake swords.

And they are in charge now.

It can feel like the forces of evil are surrounding you. It can feel like there is very little hope for us. You know the suicide statistic (it is always the second thing people learn about trans people). You know how hard it can be to get hormones. You understand what being on the outside truly means. It can be so easy to just hide away. Wouldn’t surprise me if you are in a hole right now.


But the truth is, this kind of hate isn’t new and it isn’t going away. Every few decades, asshats get into power and every few decades they make everything horrible. The reason why it hurts so much this time is because you believe in a day when this will never happen again. Of course, it is going to happen again.

Oh, LGBT people, immigrants, and Muslims may well stop being the targets of hate in time. But the hate will still be out there, because it always had been. It is inside all of us, and we have always been this way. The targets may change, but the hateful reflex will find some group to demonize. It always does.


You have to stop believing that human history is some unrelenting march to a Utopia made of bunnies and orgasms. At absolute best our history could be described as an unrelenting yo-yo between “things are fine” and “global murder party”. We have always been within a hundred years of some catastrophic clusterfuck, from when we were warring tribes of monkey people, to the literal flying death robots of today. Of course, some will try to argue that things have never been better according to the numbers, that a billion people have been lifted out of poverty in the last hundred years, or that there has never been a safer time to be alive. Of course, you will argue that technology holds the key to saving humanity because you heard some TED talk go on about how crowdfunding will solve climate change.

But, they were saying the same things during the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago. People pointed at the technological advances and screamed, “This is going to save us all”. People pointed at trains, and announced that these hulking iron coal munchers will unite people like never before, that they will make trade easier over long distances and will help facilitate world peace. One hundred years later, the Nazis used trains to help kill six million people. British philosopher (and the worst person to get stuck with at a party) John Grey said it best: “Even as it enables poverty to be diminished and sickness to be alleviated, science will be used to refine tyranny and perfect the art of war.”

The reason why so many were upset about Trump’s victory was that it did not measure up with the “humans are on a journey towards heaven on Earth” narrative. The most important thing you must do now (for your own sanity) is to stop believing in a Star Trek style future and fully accept the simple truth: we are always going to be deeply flawed, terrible things are going to happen and the gluten free future that hipster was telling you about is never going to happen.


There is another truth that you must accept: You are so much stronger than you think. Even if you are depressed (statistically, most of us have an anti-depressant prescription somewhere), believing you are weak is factually inaccurate. For a start, look at all the things the human race has survived already. Disease, war, Adam Sandler, everything that this stupid mud ball has thrown at us has barely slowed us down. Agent Smith had a point, we are a virus, but we are the most brilliant, stubborn, disgusting virus in the known universe. Your ancestors survived a world that has made Westeros look like Stars Hollow, and their DNA has been distilled in the form of you. Everyone alive today comes from the same ridiculous lineage of a bunch of people who looked danger in the eye and threw sticks at it whilst farting.

When climate change became a threat, what did we do? We made more iPhones. What did we do when the Black Death was going to kill us all? We got right back to emptying our poop buckets onto the streets. What did we do Simon Cowell perfected the telly singing competition? We turned every fucking show into a talent contest, for twenty horrible years. Our history of violence is only matched by our history of stepping out of the cave and giving a Sabertooth the finger.


And those were cis people! These were people who didn’t have to deal with all the crap we have to deal with. We had to come out to everyone we have ever met, we had to tell our parents that the person they believed they had created, the person they loved more than anything else in the universe, was a bullshit lie. We’ve had to endure a struggle that cis people will never be able to comprehend. We were in a closet made of knives, and we kicked our way out, barefoot, into a world that only just recently stopped calling us ‘tranny’ (most of the time).

After all of that, is it really a big deal if some celeb announces that they think trans people are weird? Is being misgendered by the guy selling you cigarettes really going to stop you? After everything you have been through, I would be surprised if a bullet stopped you.

After all of this, is there anything Trump and his army can do to us? He can overturn our protections, he can de-fund Medicare, but he can’t stop us. In the seventies, Medicare dropped trans healthcare. Did that stop people transitioning? Did that stop people living as themselves? Did the police stop LGBT people from hanging out at Stonewall? No they didn’t. When they tried, who threw the first bricks? We did.

Things are bad right now, and they are probably going to get worse (I hear that Ska is making a comeback). But we can take it if we can accept what is in front of us without thinking about how things should be.


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