So today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honestly just depresses the crap out of me. It is unbelievable to me that so many people have been killed over the last year just because they were transgender. This honestly shouldn’t even be a thing (Day of Remembrance) because no one should be killed just for expressing their correct gender. The only way I can see this getting any better is by bringing transgenderism out into the public eye. When people are forced to see something that’s been previously marginalized they have no option but to begin to accept it. Perhaps I will never amount to anything more than just a typical transwoman, but if I gain any level of notoriety for who and what I am, I promise to all of those transgender people out there, that I will make as much noise as I possibly can. If i ever make it through this transition I promise to make this blog into a memoir, one that can be shared with the world, and hopefully one that opens the eyes of many more people to the gravity of being Transgender.
Okay, that’s enough soap-boxing on my part. In memory of those who’ve passed because of their gender expression I’m going to shun the danger of being open about who and what I am, and will continue chronicling my journey to becoming a woman.
Yesterday’s post talked about some of the awkwardness and uncomfortable feelings I had during a happy hour with some close friends. I did end up discussing this event with my therapist and she helped me understand what exactly it was that I was feeling so uncomfortable with. I left out a detail in my account of the event that is important to bring up now. There was a 4th person at this happy hour event that I had not met previously. From what I can tell this person was very accepting and friendly about me being transgender because she didn’t appear to bat an eye at me being called Emma or she/her. Despite this wonderful attitude it was the presence of this unknown person that had created the anxiety and uncomfortable emotions about the social situation. Up until this point me coming out has been completely in my control. I have had total say over how, when, and to whom I revealed my true nature… until this person. This was the first person who found out about me being trans from someone other than me.
While I am not mad at my friends for having (evidently) filled this new acquaintance in on me, this was the first time that I met someone who was aware of my “secret” without my prior knowledge. Because I am still so (painfully) masculine in my appearance, I haven’t had to experience this level of visibility before, and so found myself caught off guard and subsequently filled with a great deal of doubt. In essence, the defense mechanisms that had previously prevented me from even acknowledging my transgender nature were inadvertently activated and part of their programming manifests as self-doubt; hence me wondering if I was even trans at all. For any out there who may read this who are still in the closet, or partially in the closet like I am, I want to both warn and encourage you about this experience. It is important to understand that while you may wish and hope to have complete control over how, when, and to whom you come out to, you will inevitably lose that control, but that is not a bad thing. Chances are there will be a point when you are outed just by your change in appearance (if you take HRT) and it is important to understand that it is part of the process. The key thing to remember is that it is okay to feel uncomfortable and to be afraid/doubtful. It would probably be concerning if you weren’t afraid or doubtful in some way. What you must remember is that every uncomfortable experience you have is ultimately making you a stronger person.
I am now much more prepared for the time when someone figures out I am trans without me telling them. Because I have experienced this discomfort now, I have the time and ability to come to terms with it and build up a resistance to its debilitating effect later on when it is truly important to be strong. Think of it like this: When you lift weights, it will feel a bit uncomfortable, but because of that discomfort you are building stronger muscles, so the next time you lift weights the same routine will be less uncomfortable. By allowing and accepting events that make you feel uncomfortable after you come out, you build a stronger tolerance to those events and will be less effected by them as you continue on your journey.
No matter what, we must all remember (me most especially) that we cannot be afraid to be ourselves. Yes, the dangers are real. Yes, hundreds of people were murdered over the last year for being what we are, but we don’t have to be so afraid that we never allow ourselves to live. Fear is a requirement for bravery, so I encourage all my fellow Trans people to acknowledge, accept and set aside that fear so that you may be brave. If not for me, or for yourself, then for all those who were killed in the name of transphobia and bigotry.