Content warning – discussions of transphobia and bigotry

This one might ramble a bit, apologies in advance.   I have been running behind a bit this week, this post keeps popping up in my head. No surprise I have been thinking about writing it for a while. It started back when a person I knew asked me to help them understand being transgender to  they could better work with their patients.  I realized that even for the people who accept me there might be a big gap between acceptance and understanding.   But I kept putting it off, it seemed self-indulgent and might even get people in the future who don’t like me ammunition to attack my mental health but the way the world is swiftly turning I figure I don’t have any choice.

Now I am not sure people are going to get through all of this, so I am going to start with my motivation first.  I am fucking scared and depressed.   Okay I probably need more details but first I need to make some thing clear as  minorities go there are a lot of people worse off than me, I don’t  worry about getting shot during a traffic stop, I am old enough that I don’t have to worry about my family throwing me out on the street since I don’t pass I don’t have to be concerned that my date might figure out I am Trans and kill me ( and then for bonus points claim a trans panic defense and get a reduced sentence ) .  But I have had things to deal with – It took me a long time to figure out what my innate issues were and longer still to have the confidence to come out to my work and friends. I have found myself confronted with people in my family thinking gay people don’t belong in the boy scouts, bi-sexual people don’t exist and are “only greedy”, and some  in laws stating that they don’t shop at target any more “ because they let Tranny child molesters use the women’s bathroom”.  That list is not all of it but just some of the greatest hits.  All of that however is nothing compared to the recent spat of media and politicians deciding that transgender people are the new punching bags, a way to gain clicks and money by destroying our lives.  

In just the last two weeks  I have seen a judge take away parental rights from a Lesbian who was married to her spouse when the child was born and give them to a sperm donor,  a bill that makes it a crime to be a male or female impersonator in front of children,  a bill that seeks to eliminate all gender affirming care for all people ( the ones banning kids from getting support are bull shit enough but the republicans have stopped hiding that they hate all of us and its not just about “concerns for the children”)  I’m not even going to talk about wizard game and how the trans community was called bullies for just saying hey lets not give money to the transphobe.   I  used to be able to do just watch  the evening news but now I have to google anti- trans legislation every couple of days because while all those law I spoke of earlier come from different state, they all have copies running through my state legislature right now, and while Missouri considers gun owners a protected group the same can not be said of the LGBTQ+ community.  God, I wish I could afford to move.    I own the fact that previously I was one of the people who did not have to worry about discrimination that much.  Now I worry every day that even thought I am out to my team at work that I have to watch how I dress every day to thread the needle of not triggering my dysphoria but still looking butch enough to not get harassed when I use the men’s room because I know people would give me untold amounts of shit if I walked into the ladies room.

I guess now I must talk about the understanding part.  That was what this was supposed to be.  The expectation is probably that I am not going to talk about sneaking into my mother’s closet and running around in heels and petticoats.  Nope not me,   I was mostly just self-hatred  and with not much clue why I kept thinking if I just got a little further in my life everything would be better.   I got chastised for sashaying and being too soft, sadly I started taking notes from the 80’s action movies I would see with my dad about what things I was allowed to express and what things were not acceptable.  Because all the stuff that a lot of people just seemed to be naturally did not come naturally to me.  I like the band Kansas in my youth and these lyrics would always speak to me even though I never knew what the wall was.

i’m woven in a fantasy, I can’t believe the things I see
The path that I have chosen now has led me to a wall
And with each passing day I feel a little more like something dear was lost
It rises now before me, a dark and silent barrier between
All I am and all that I would ever want to be
It’s just a travesty, towering, marking off the boundaries
My spirit would erase

As the years went  it got harder and harder to not admit that something fundamental was wrong.  I went through a lot of emotional pain and slowly but surely started to express myself. It was not easy or smooth and it took a lot of failed communication before I could start talking about some of the real issues.  I know some people like to express themselves as being born in the wrong body, but the easiest way for me to explain is have you ever had a job that sucked, not just regular sucked but like  it ruined your weekend because you knew that in two days you had to go back. That was being a guy for me, it colored almost every moment of my life,  If I ever got my hair cut short I would see a person I did not recognize even though others would say I looked good,  I wore a beard mostly to say hey look I am manly enough to grow one even though I never really liked having one.   I would bottle up my emotions except for anger.   And I was unhappy, so unhappy.  First it was the clothes that let me escape things a bit I found if I wore things more feminine  I would feel some of the weight come off me,  not like sexually exciting but more like finally feeling a little peace. Then I started expressing myself and telling my wife what I was feeling and it was hard and complicated  and I did not always handle it well but we got through it and the more I was able to be myself the more things got better.  It did not fix everything childhood trauma and undiagnosed neurodiversity leaves scars that require professional intervention, but it helped a lot.

So what is all this supposed to mean to you reader. I am asking one thing try a little understanding all the Queer community wants is to live, to be who we are and love who we love.  I know there are people that are motivated by hatred who are trying to wipe us out but there are also people who  make content or pass bills to make a quick buck or  just so they can get re-elected and a lot of people who just don’t care enough to look into issues give these bad actors the benefit of the doubt.   A quick read of a headline can you make  think we are bad people, just dig a little deeper, trust me you probably know more people in the LGBTQ+ community then you  think and we are counting on you to help and support us.   

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