‘Skills That Have Kept Us Alive’

I wanted to pass along part of Sonny Hallett’s post for trans visibility day for what it says both in and of itself for the trans experience, and also for what it says more broadly.

There’s also this thread which I’m a big fan of, by Kai Cheng Thom, where she talks about the experience of trauma by marginalised groups where society is the continuing source of the trauma, and where that same society pathologises our anxiety and dysregulation, and tell us to (often spend money to) cure ourselves, when the threats we are responding to are very real and all around us. She goes on to say, “the ultimate question of social justice somatics is not ‘how can we cure the traumatized body so it can return to productive society?’ — the question of dominant psychology. our question is: ‘how can heal our traumatized bodies so that we may love each other & fight together?’”

(Click through to Hallett’s piece and then through to the thread they mention. It’s the source of my title here.)

This is a powerful and important thing to remember, and it’s important to live a bit with the fact that Hallett specifically is bringing it up as part of trans visibility.

It’s also, though, a thing to center more generally, in that, as I’ve said before in an actually-autistic context (for what it’s worth, Hallett also is autistic), the mental health field either can be one of social work or social control.

Loving each other and fighting together is that solidarity and capacity to which I keep returning.


  1. Worth also seeing the similar thoughts in Atom J. Lesiak’s piece for Nature on being a trans scientist in academia:

    I resent that in speaking out about issues of equity and social justice, I have occasionally been characterized as an ‘angry minority’ stereotype — something that often happens to advocates for racial justice, people with disabilities and other people from marginalized communities. This is particularly true for Black women.

    At times I have been angry. I would argue that anger is bound to arise during years of invisibility, fear, stress, frustration and despair in the search for connection and belonging in academic spaces that are ill-prepared to foster a safe and welcoming environment for people like me to thrive.