Dear Graham.

Dear Graham, like a lot of people, I watched your BBC interview. And it got me to remember back a few years, to April, 2019, when I was permanently banned from Twitter. We were keyboard friends, online allies in the tiny, almost suffocating world of “gender criticals”.

I emailed, as we sometimes did, and you suggested that you’d use my profile pic as your own, to try and garner enough support to push Twitter to let me come back (something they almost never did with permanent bans). And, not only did you use my picture, you changed your profile name to “Alicia Hendley did nothing wrong”.

And for me? Damn, that was powerful. That was incredibly powerful, not only because it actually did get me back from my permanent ban (that is, until I was banned once again for being an obnoxious, transphobic tw*t), but because it gave me the proof I desperately needed at the time that I was right, and therefore, everyone in my real life, away from the world of the keyboard, was horribly, irrefutably wrong. That trying to deny trans women the rights of all women was what I had to do, even if my fearmongering rhetoric left figurative boot prints on so many innocent people. What martyrdom I displayed! My audacity made me incandescent!

Alicia Hendley did nothing wrong.

So validating, those words, Graham. Words I used several times to reinforce my belief that somehow all of the people who truly loved and respected me, who truly knew Alicia the mother, the friend, the spouse, the writer, the psychologist, the daughter, were wrong. That my former colleagues, all psychologists and social workers, were morons, or even worse, sheeple. That the reason the people who had always been there for me were there no longer was because they were wrong, or weak, mere cowards. My husband? My two eldest children? My best friends? My neighbours? All tainted by their cluelessness.

What a lonely place it was to be. But at least I had this:

Alicia Hendley did nothing wrong.

People who had previously accepted all of the messy and complicated, wonderful and screwed up layers that made me Me (versus just a one-dimensional GCer) started to distance themselves, or rather, I pushed them away, by my obsessive fixation on “sex-based rights”. Their initial concern, which was followed by frustration, and then by utter disbelief regarding my views and actions, were purely due to them being so wrong and me being so, so right.

Because, given the hurt and damage I’d caused, I had to be right. And in order for me to be right, all of the people who’d previously populated and coloured my world, who’d helped me build a life of creativity and connection, meaning and vibrancy, intellectual rigour and bawdy humour, had to be wrong. They had to be. Each and every person I truly loved and respected, who I had always viewed as intelligent, compassionate human beings, fully capable of autonomous, critical thought, had to be wrong, when it came to their belief that trans rights were human rights, and that trans women were women. They just had to be wrong. Because I was right, and because:

Alicia Hendley did nothing wrong.

So rooted was I in my bigoted rightness, that I didn’t take the time to weigh the opinions of my keyboard friends, with whom I only shared an ideology, against those of the real people in my life, whom I’d known and respected for years, to see which had more heft.

I didn’t take the time.

Because? Like you, I was “right”. Like you, I was convinced that it was everyone else who was experiencing a “mass delusion”, who refused to ignore the “war on women” (sound familiar?). Like you, I believed that I actually respected “true” trans people (I now can’t imagine few things more condescending than saying such a thing), and was just fighting a crazed, dangerous, manipulative mob of “trans activists”.

Like you I clung to the belief that it was a shadowy, indistinct group of bogeymen who were ultimately responsible for trying to take everything away from me, for “making” those intelligent, compassionate, loving people in my life start to distance themselves. It was the fault of everyone not on the “right side of history”, who caused me pain, rather than the deliberate, voluntary, self-destructive actions of my own making.

I remember the frustration of having no one close in my life “standing up for me”. Where the hell were those spineless bastards when I needed them?!? I remember how lonely that was, being “right”. I remember not realizing that when you have people in your life who are intelligent and compassionate, being right usually isn’t that lonely, and that there’s no need for them to stand up for you, because they’re already standing there, right there, beside you.

That perhaps, just perhaps, the loneliness doesn’t stem from being “right”, but from quite the opposite. And that you’ll only be able to reconnect with those who know you, truly know and possibly still love you, by finally admitting the scariest thing of all: that you aren’t (and never were) right. And, because of that horrific un-right-ness, you’ve done incredible, disgusting harm.

The truth?

Alicia Hendley did a hell of a lot wrong.

And Graham? So the fuck have you.

--

--

--

PhD in clinical psychology, writer, mother. Someone who needs to simmer down, already.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Can You be Bisexual and Asexual at the Same Time?

I’ve noticed a bit of a disconnect among LGBTQ women.

Myths and Truths About Trans Kids

The Greatest of These is Courage

Behind Rainbows: LBGTQ+ Journey and Representation in Society

Using my ED to cope with gender dysphoria

QUEERBAITING AND HOW IT CAN BE HELPFUL TO THOSE IN THE CLOSET.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alicia Hendley

Alicia Hendley

PhD in clinical psychology, writer, mother. Someone who needs to simmer down, already.

More from Medium

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine: Thoughts and Biblical Insight

Socket-to’em

May At Darwinia