I am a conservative. I believe everyone in society does best when government takes a light touch. I believe in low taxes, less regulation, the rule of law, national sovereignty, strong borders, individual liberty, personal responsibility, meritocracy, tolerance to people’s differences, and traditional family values.
I am also a transsexual woman. But those on the left regard me as a Judas. And they do so because I don’t fit conveniently into their insatiable and pathological need to stereotype everyone. To them, the very notion that a trans woman – because we are “different” and a “minority group” – could be anything other than a Mao-quoting, Che-Guevara-T-shirt-wearing, red-flag-waving socialist is sacrilegious. They call me a traitor. A house tranny. Or, more crudely, a fascist.
And so, coming out as a conservative was an entirely more tumultuous affair for me than coming out as trans. If only there were a chapter in Dale Carnegie’s seminal “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that offered helpful advice on such matters. Two factors, more than any others, that chiseled and honed my conservative worldview were growing up in a post-communist country and taking personal responsibility for making the best of being born in the wrong body.
My childhood was awash with my family’s forlorn recollections about the hardships they endured under communism in Poland: the chronic scarcity of food, medicine and other basic necessities; outright hostility to basic liberties. And if we didn’t like it, too bad: they killed anyone who tried to leave. But throughout Poland’s 44-year communist ordeal, my family stood firm: my great-grandfather was imprisoned twice for distributing pro-capitalism pamphlets and for listening to Radio Free Europe. This instilled in me a powerful respect for the twin virtues of free people and free enterprise.
Even in the earliest years of my childhood, I knew that I was different.