It is the holiday season again which means partaking in time spent with the family. They have never been particularly receptive to my decisions in life except for the status my college education and relative success conveys them by proxy. I don’t necessarily dislike them, but, as with most in my life, I can take them or leave them. I suspect that I will be spending the next two days telling them that I am “working”, laptop out, but really working on the never-ending stream of writing, communicative, and administrative tasks that comes with writing and learning about a subject dear to me.
My grandparents have not referred to me by a name of my choosing in nearly six years now. First, they would call me by my former first name. Later they would refer to me by my initials. As of late, I am merely a letter: the first letter of my first name. My aunt, who raised me, says that they “are trying” to respect my decisions in life, but that they will never be able to call me by the name that I prefer and that I should learn to be appreciative that they are even alive as I near my thirtieth birthday. In professional circles, one of the first things you are taught is to always refer to a person by their preferred first name. It shows respect and humans, apparently, love hearing their own name more than any other word in their language. The message from my grandparents is clear: I am not at the same level as other human beings; I gave that up when I began HRT nearly six years ago.
I bring this story up as it serves as a nice segue into the stigma that sociopaths, high or low-functioning, face on a societal basis. The thought of another being that not only does not possess affective empathy but is, generally, amoral in nature, disturbs most people. Ideas of conscience and empathy are thought to be givens for any member of the human race by most. I suspect they see an alien figure when such a description is given to them, just as I see something incomprehensible when I try to imagine the fervent religious.
However, judgement of what is considered acceptable or not is always left to those in power: the masses. Psychopaths are not allowed to have a seat at the table for discussion. Our names only come up with the latest media hysteria over some obscene crimes committed by someone who may or may not even be psychopathic. We are painted as killers and rapists and the scourge of the earth. We are not given the basic decency of defense and speech that should be afforded to any human. We are considered less than human.