In case you haven’t noticed or are perhaps living under a rock, it’s the holiday season. Even if you don’t celebrate or recognize any of the holidays that occur in December, it’s hard to not be impacted by them. Work comes to a grinding halt, the shops are busier, and everyone is stressed. It’s exhausting. Life is exhausting in itself, and trying to simply exist in a global pandemic is on another level altogether. But we must soldier on, apparently. I feel we live in a world where we are told that self-care and rest are super important but we are subtly discouraged from doing that very thing.
So many things in our lives are outside of our control. Sometimes I feel like a beach ball that is just bounced back and forth between different life events, both small and significant. Like trying to walk through a mall or an airport but you are walking against the crowd and therefore are being bumped into and jostled around. But again, we keep going forward. It would be almost inspiring if it wasn’t so tiring.
Although it doesn’t always feel this way, at my most optimistic moments I really, really think that the majority of people (a SLIM majority, I’m not THAT optimistic, lol) really want others to live the life they feel is right for them. To be who they are, to identify how they feel, to wear whatever pleases them. It doesn’t always feel this way because there is so much NOISE and discourse and even legislation that seeks to hurt us, whether it is politically, medically, or emotionally. Although I present as male most of the time when I am outside of the house, it’s very possible Hannah could get into a car accident and have to be taken to the emergency room. In some states it is the doctor’s right to refuse to treat me because I am (obviously) transgender. That’s… that’s not right.
Most of us know that we are who we are and nothing can change that. At one point we may have thought that we would grow out of our preference for wearing panties and would eventually start wearing boxers (ugh, why would ANYONE wear boxers?). Perhaps we thought this was a phase. Perhaps we thought we could control our desires, to deny who we are and simply… stop. At various points in my life I honestly believed I could stop. Looking back I see the futility and naivety of that thinking. I couldn’t change who I was, and thank God I couldn’t. I love who I am. I love what I wear.
No matter how many laws are passed, and no matter how many nasty Facebook rants are posted about the trans community, none of that can or will change who I am. Every person I know in my life could attend an anti-trans rally and yes, it would break my heart but even that can’t change what is in my closet. Mean tweets and legislation are not written with the expectation of changing a trans person, they are meant to hurt us. Conversion therapy isn’t designed to “cure” us (no matter what we are told), it is meant to punish us. To scare us.
As we push through the final days of the holiday season, many of us will attend family gatherings and see relatives we might typically avoid. I have a few like that myself. And because everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on, well, anything and everything (and everyone), it’s not surprising when someone we know (or related to) has a… perspective that is different from your own. I work with people who think the trans community is filled with confused sinners. I know people who think we are sick and perverted. I am related to people who would vote to obliterate us off the face of the earth given a chance. It is heartbreaking, to say the least.
Most of the world sees me as a cis gender male. Most of my family knows me that way as well. Hardly anyone I interact with knows about my gender identity. I am, essentially, undercover. Therefore a lot of people are not shy about sharing their opinion about trans people. “Did you see that tranny?” is something I’ve heard from co-workers. “Did you hear that (insert celebrity name here) is one of those, what-do-call-them, transgenders?” is something I’ve overheard from a relative. I visibly cringe when I hear that. Do I ever (well, confront might not be the best word here but I’ll go with it) confront the person who said something so ignorant? Of course. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t. Even if I wasn’t trans I would still speak up. But I also realize that it is pointless to have that conversation with some people. I will never, ever convince my uncle that are more than two genders, so I don’t even try.
If I was out to everyone and Hannah attended holiday events instead of me in male mode, perhaps these comments would stop. OR! they would increase. It’s hard to say. Again, comments, tweets, Facebook posts are meant to HURT us, not change us. Perhaps the people who write and say things like this know that we aren’t going anywhere, no matter how much they hope we will. I know the same thing. I am not going anywhere. Nothing can stop me, whether it is a law or a cruel comment from a hateful relative, from being who I am. I’ll always be trans, I’ll always wear a nightgown to bed, I’ll always wear panties, I’ll always have days when I dress to kill as I strut around the mall. Nothing can change who I am, or who you are. We can lose our rights, or access to medical care, our ability to legally change our gender, but they can’t take our identity.