Recently I asked for some feedback on what I write about on my website. This was very enlightening. The comments were helpful and the emails I received were insightful. Most of you enjoy writings about clothes and makeup (no surprise there!) which coincides with what I like to write about. I heart clothes.
Some of you would prefer I stay away from “political” topics. And yes, I don’t want to be wet blanket (or a run in a stocking) but the reality is that there are things that are happening, have happened, and will happen that will impact our lives.
If we want a world where we can move freely through it, if we want a closet full of whatever clothes we want to wear, then we have to create that world. A world that is attempting to pass laws that hurt us, that ostracize us, that shame us, is not the same world that will “let” us wear a skirt.
Politics bore me, they frustrate me. I don’t write “political” posts in an effort to rile anyone up or demonize any “side”. Trust me, the number of angry emails I get and the amount of comments posted that I feel I should delete hardly make topics like these worthwhile.
But this is our reality. We can’t ignore the outside forces that influence what we can and cannot do, feel, or wear.
I can’t imagine ever ceasing posting about legislation that is going to impact us. It would be a wonderful world if these laws weren’t being considered, but that’s not realistic.
My website has always tried to be… hm, honest about our lives. Sometimes this honesty is brutal and difficult to accept. Our partners will not always be excited about our gender identity. The other mall goers will not always be happy we exist. Passing is a myth. Part of our reality is if we want a want the world to stop attacking us (in any way) then we need to accept that how society views us is the first step. If a government is trying to limit access to healthcare, stopping us from using a restroom that aligns with our gender identity, or preventing us from changing our gender on our drivers’ license, the message that these actions are sending is, essentially, being transgender is wrong and we will make your life as difficult as possible.
Your feedback, comments, and emails were, and are always enlightening. I read every single one. My website will always bounce back and forth between superficial posts about how much I love lingerie, self-indulgent pictures from a photo shoot, and the scary laws that are being discussed every single day.
I hope you find what I write about helpful or entertaining. We have a small but passionate community and I hope your comments will always be supportive and constructive.
Okay, let’s move on.
At one point in my life I was secretly trying on my sister’s dress and quickly putting it back as soon as I could before it was noticed to be missing.
At another point in my life I was discreetly wandering through the lingerie department of stores hoping no would notice that I was casually, but intently, looking at panties.
Fast forward a few years, I walked into an LGBTQIA+ nightclub, completely en femme for the first time, absolutely terrified that someone would recognize me.
There are countless instances when I prayed I wouldn’t be seen. I lived a life in secret, even when I was out in the real world. I was ignored, I was stared at, I was ridiculed, I was whispered about.
I felt like an outsider. It was lonely. No one, for good or for bad, paid attention to me.
I never set out to be anyone but myself, even without the support (and least of all the approval) of the rest of the world. I felt if the world didn’t understand me, then at least the world could leave me alone. It was, on some level, a silent compromise.
As time marched on, people like myself started to get noticed. This happened in devastating extremes. On one hand, I learned there were others like myself. I felt less alone. At the same time, other people learned of our existence, if you will. And that brought a world of problems.
People like myself were labeled as deviants and perverts. We were thought of as being confused and delusional. We were thought of as being worse things than these.
We were dragged (or perhaps kicking and screaming) into the spotlight. We became a joke, we became a lightning rod for controversary. We became political. We became a fetish. Politicians and talk-show hosts shaped the narrative of who a trans person is. We were pulled out of the shadows and we blinked back tears of frustration and rage of being told that we were freaks.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Queer people had to become activists. We had to become advocates. We had to fight for ourselves and for those who couldn’t. We had to defend ourselves. We had to go on television, we had to write into newspapers, we had to demonstrate. We needed to fight for our survival.
Trans people didn’t make gender identity political. It was thrust upon us. At one point many of us were just living our own private lives and although lonely, we weren’t being attacked on the evening news.
In recent years trans people have becomes more visible and more represented. We have a voice though it is often drowned out. We have more support and tolerance than I could have dreamed, but we also have more people who wish us (and do) harm than ever before.
I know it’s not realistic for EVERYONE to like EVERYONE. I know that gender identity is a difficult thing to understand. But I don’t want to be understood. I don’t need to be. I don’t expect to be. I don’t expect or need to understand anyone else, either. What most people do or think is none of my business, after all.
I don’t want to be an activist. But I think I have to be. I would rather write about panties and lingerie and clothes. I write about legislation and social issues because this is the world that our community lives in. I get a lot of emails asking why the world doesn’t accept us. It’s pretty easy to find the answer when you realize that people like us are demonized and sexualized. Other emails ask why there aren’t many “crossdresser friendly” stores. Again, the answer is clear when you think about how many people are told to be terrified of trans people using the restroom. So many of these emails want the world to be safe for us, they want to world to change.
In order for something to change on a social level, it needs to change on a legal, political level.
Look, as much as I want to write about shopping and dresses and as badly as I want for all of us to be able to wear whatever we want, we need to acknowledge where we are and how we are viewed by much of the world.
If we want to wear what we want, if we want to go out en femme, if we want the world to not care about our gender identity, then we HAVE to fight back against the narrative that is being espoused. We can’t let laws that discriminate us get passed. These laws lead people to believe that we are, well, perverts and confused.
I want us all to go the mall without anyone staring at us. I want us all to step into the ladies room to reapply our lipstick without worrying about the panic politicians ignite about trans women in restrooms. I want people to stop thinking about sex and genitals when it comes to gender.
This world is not going to change soon. Not in my lifetime. But the world is not going to change without our help, without our insistence.
This change doesn’t necessarily come from making a sign and demonstrating. It can come from something as small as voting. It can come from being simply being visible. When I run errands en femme I am not an activist in the traditional sense. It’s more subtle. Hopefully I can change the perspective of a cashier or someone at Starbucks that trans people not only exist but we are a lot more boring and normal than they were led to believe. If I can do that, perhaps they will reconsider their opinion about girls like us.
Of course, that is overly optimistic but I could use some optimism these days.