Beholding love

How can you ever begin to love another person, but you do not know how it feels like to be loved? How can you love another, but you have never felt love? To let your body and soul be completely controlled or rather vulnerably available for another? How can you begin to trust the world and society if all that you have received is mistrust and hatred?

Erich Fromm mentions in his book that all are bound to fail in love because when one looks at love they look at it from a point of view of wanting to be loved back, and never from a point of view of wanting to love another, for the sake of loving. In other words, he says that love will not work until I love you for loving you (Fromm, vii: 1957). I associate this kind of love with my family, especially my siblings. I love them so much, probably more than my parent. They know my heart, because we shared the same bed, they know my blackness because them too live in black bodies, they know my body because we bath in the same bathtub, they know my weaknesses because they see them me struggle every day, they know my transsness because they see it through my soul..

Love is no longer about loving a person, because society in general is commodified (Fromm, 1: 1957). The superstructure of society is capitalism, the essence of capitalism is to make a lot of money as much as possible, and putting a price on everything, and this is why sex appeal has become a necessity. We have commodified our bodies and have set a standard of what love is and how it should look like. This is partly the reason why sex appeal has somehow become a necessity in society. This does also exist within the Trans community. The most valuable bodies in this community it is the people who have passing privilege, meaning they pass as cis-gendered people. I do not have passing privilege. I used to be very embarrassed and ashamed because of that, because there is violence that comes with that, from experiencing Trans misogyny when I walk to PnP during the day to being told which bathroom to use at the Rat, where you will 99.9 percent of the time will experience transphobia in both bathrooms, especially in male bathrooms. There is a particular way one has to look to be worthy of being loved by another, especially as a Trans body, hence the former violent terms in the Trans community: transgender or transsexual. These terms creates a hierarchy of who is the most womxn within the Trans community as if we are not all womxn, and do not have the same struggles at the end of the day.

When Trans bodies become sex workers it is not just a means of survival and finding ways of making money, because we have been excluded from society. It is also this need of receiving love from a man and them confirming our womxness, validating our identity, and that we too, are enough to be loved by them, because we are lucky to be loved, love is a privilege for a trans body. Fromm mentions there is some kind of a transaction between two bodies that claim to like each other (Fromm, 3:1957). For my Trans body it is sex, and intimacy I give you sex/intimacy in return give me love, and validation. This is how society implicitly regulates my body and my identity.

Fromm looks at love from a very unique lens, he looks at it from a lens of learning to love. People need to love for the sake of loving and not for the sake of receiving love. For he says love is not instant (Fromm, 2:1957). I am still learning to do this. I am still learning to love a person because they exist, but I too need to be loved. I can honestly only love another only if they promise to love my body.