Staying Visible

Everything we do is brave.

We are brave when we whisper to ourselves “I am transgender” or “I am a crossdresser”.

We are brave when we shyly walk through the lingerie department of a store.

We are brave when we leave the house en femme.

We are brave when we come out to someone.

We are brave just by existing.

And I am tired of being brave. I am tired that being transgender automatically requires us to face our fears. Sometimes our fear is someone that we know seeing us when we go out en femme. We are afraid of ridicule, or people pointing at us, of people attacking us. We live in a world that doesn’t understand us.

But that in itself is okay. We don’t have to be understood. I have been wearing panties for decades and I still don’t know WHY. There’s no psychological reason I am who I am.

I am not dreaming of a world that understands us. I dream of a world that stops attacking us. Just because you don’t “get” us, just because you don’t “approve” of us it doesn’t give you or anyone else the right to hurt us. We just want to be left alone.

Things have been, well, demoralizing lately, to put it lightly. There are many laws being considered that target our community. There have been many laws that have already been passed. Each “successful” piece of legislation will only encourage another state, another lawmaker to propose a similar, if not identical, law.

At my most pessimistic, I don’t think that this is going to stop. It’s not going to get better or easier. Not in my lifetime.

These laws impact us on a lot of levels. Lately I have been feeling the emotional strain these laws are designed to create. Cruelty is the point for a lot of them. Not long ago I wondered if there would be a day when I would have to disappear. I wondered if I would need to take down my website, disband the MN T-Girls, and stop going out en femme.

These were very depressing thoughts but I have stepped back from the precipice a little.

I suppose going back into the closet is one of the goals for laws like these. To make us vanish.

I felt I was at a crossroads. Should I go back into the closet before things got worse? Should I stubbornly carry on? I used to think my days of rebellion were behind me, but I still feel feisty when I think of some authority trying to tell me what to do.

This doesn’t mean I am not a law-abiding citizen. What I mean is that if “society” or our elected “leaders” are trying to suppress us, it makes me want to be even MORE visible. Sometimes simply existing is an act of rebellion. It’s the most punk thing I can do.

A friend of mine emailed me who was also discouraged about a lot of the politics impacting our community. She was nothing but positive. Part me wondered how anyone could be optimistic and brave these days. She said despite everything happening, it is time to be more visible than ever. She was so… sincere in this.

I couldn’t help but get inspired.

On this Transgender Day of Visibility I am committed as ever to being visible, to being a part of the world.

But I also have to be braver than I ever imagined. And I am tired of being brave.

Related reading

Courage and Skirts

Love, Hannah

13 thoughts on “Staying Visible

  1. So well put Hannah. Yes! We just want to be left alone to do the enjoyable and personally meaningful quietly expressive things we do. Just leave us, me, alone, so I can enjoy my own life as much as possible given the long list of other constraints that the world places upon most folks.

    Do we have to be brave to simply live our lives? Well, the history of so many human conditions and times tends to indicate that yes, bravery is called for more often than not, perhaps unfortunately. I would prefer to feel free, not brave, when I do what I do in my own quiet life pursuits.

    Should we be more visible? Well, there is without doubt virtue in being visible. The wonderful exploits of people like you Hannah, of Stana, and of Kandi Robbins in Cleveland, and of others, are inspiring, awe inspiring in fact. I am sure many of us wish we could go out and be, go out and just do, like you/them. Being visible is not easy for some, and in some situations it is not safe.

    Even so, I do believe that things are more open and more accepting in many segments of our society, even if the mean and manipulative politicians try to play up the utterly ridiculous for persecuting those who are different from them.

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  2. Thank You Hannah. I needed to hear this after a particular hurtful encounter just this week. It seemed that nothing had changed since the bullies in grade school. I was disheartened but then realized that I really can’t quit being a part of the Intersex Spectrum. I too am what I am and that doesn’t change. So, people like you make it possible for people like me and the rest of the community to carry on even when times are trying. Your messages are beacons of hope for all of us. Thanks, Marg

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am also fearful re: where we are headed .Probably controversial but I feel that the major impetus for all of this legislation is our TG swimmer. Some of my TG friends feel that she is nothing but selfish (with her obvious physical advantages} and placing us all in a negative light when all we want to do is just function as women under the radar

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    1. I hear you and have thought about that too. I put myself in the shoes of the cis women she competes with and imagine feeling, well, imposed on. The thing is, “her obvious physical advantages” may be much less than one thinks.

      For example, when I moved to Seattle five years ago I was not on any MTF HRT. I regularly hiked with cis lesbian friends all over, keeping up with the fittest. Three years ago I had GCS and, of course, my testosterone is now about zero, probably even lower than my cis girlfriends. And now when we hike I struggle to keep up with the slowest in our group. My muscles just aren’t what they used to be.

      Of course I’m in my 60s and at a very different stage of life than the women swimmers. My experience is subjective. But there it is.

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    2. This started LONG before Lia Thomas started making headlines. She is just a visible place for them to point their fingers. I can’t remember her name, but there is another swimmer that is a natal female and the same size, “physical” features as Lia. And the stats on Lia, when looked at in total show that she is about where you would expect her to be. Moved up from #32 to #1 in her main event over the course of three years of training, From #65 to #5 in another event, and her overall times have gotten about 8.5% SLOWER over that time. The typical difference in elite men’s to elite women’s times in swimming vary from 7 to 10%. I’d say that looking at things in that light, she is right where she belongs.

      Don’t get me wrong – there is still a lot that needs to be worked out to allow everyone a fair chance, but a “fair chance” means that everyone has a chance, including trans women in women’s sports. A whole lot more to this (I have been studying up due to some activities I have been participating in, and wanted to have facts to be able to speak fairly on the topic).

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  4. It is hard to be transgender, it really is. As one speaking from “the other side” (i.e., so transitioned that I hardly think of it) it feels easier over here. By and large, I think, I fully blend into society as a mid-60s cis woman. But I still do think about it. I suppose much of that comes from so many years of living secretively in stealth.

    I believe we’re making fantastic progress. Yes, many people are trying to keep us suppressed. But we’ve seen how that plays out, especially as more and more trans children vocalize their authenticities to parents who can’t help but be increasingly aware because of news and other stories. Maybe, they wonder, is my kid one too? What does that mean for them? What does it mean for me?

    It’s scary as hell for these parents. But for many it’s becoming undeniable that it’s something they need to grapple with as they love their children. Thus, organizations such as Gender Cool and Trans Families exist to help.

    I was recently elected Treasurer of the board of Trans Families. Our mission is to be a go-to resource for parents and the significant others in trans kids lives, as well as the kids themselves. Our sister organization, Gender Diversity (created/run by Aidan Key), exists to provide transgender education to institutions such as schools, sports teams, and legislators/governments.

    So yeah, let’s be visible, and undeniably part of society. It’s scary for us and, let’s face it, for many in the cis population. But the more that we present ourselves as just like anyone else (except for what may be obvious) the more that the cycle of progress will play out in our favor. Just remember to smile, hold your head up, and be kind, even in the face of the awkwardness that you may encounter.

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  5. Too bad you are so thin skinned that you blocked me from making any viewpoint after reading your writings.  A s a fellow cross dresser, I find that you are closed minded and do not respect that there are people who want to protect Cis women from unfair competition and to protect children as that law in Florida was passed to do.  Don’t be so closed minded!

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    1. Hi Jonathon,

      You may want to go back and read some of Hannah’s prior posts. It is clear how much she changed and grown over the years. And how much she realizes the impact that she has on those around her. Her honesty and trust in her wife is especially inspirational.

      My take on her message above is the positivity expressed by her friend in spite of all challenges we face. This is a great message. Our own internal outlook on life in a lot of ways impacts how we experience it. There are lots of people that support us. The ones that don’t just tend to be more vocal.

      I enjoy reading Hannah’s blog because it inspires me and encourages me to be who I wish to be. It helps me realize I am not along and inspires me to try and be that for those that are struggling. If I thought of Hannah as thinned skinned and bitter then I would no longer her blog because it does not had value to my life.

      Some people chose to view life through the lense of bitterness and anger and it shows.

      A conservative friend uses a phrase that I love, “The me I see is the me I’ll be”.

      The me I see is like Hannah and her friend. I will continue to strive to remain positive no matter the obstacles or challenges I face. I will stive to give more than I get because it makes me feel fulfilled.

      Jodi

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes be visible for sure, today as almost everyday I’m at work wearing my makeup and my gender neutral clothes but but feminine
    I’m grateful for my company that embraces people like me but I know not all are so fortunate
    So I try my best to let others know we are real people and we just want to be who we are
    I’m also involved in a group who is trying to change the minds of conservative Christian’s about us and yes it’s not easy but I feel it’s important because many of those folks are behind these laws that are so harmful to many
    I hope someday being who we are and loving folks caring for folks will become the norm but no I’m not optimistic
    But it’s not going to keep me from trying

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  7. Remember to register and vote. Our numbers can be felt at the polling place or absentee ballot. Identify the candidates creating more difficulty for our community and vote for their opposition. We are great in number and have the power to do battle with our oppressors..

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  8. I feel being visible is one thing that we can do to show that we are not what those trying to suppress us claim us to be. They make many claims that we know are not true, but those folks that don’t know us and don’t see us won’t have any reason to doubt the claims. Only by showing that we are not what those false claims state can we start to show the population in general the real truth.

    On March 31st I was on a panel at work for TDoV. It felt great to be able to do that, but it was an audience that already largely know about transgender folks and that the claims against us weren’t accurate. That evening I went to a music show at a mainstream entertainment center. The cast knew me, knew I was there with several other trans women to celebrate, and knew that it was TDoV. They took time out in the middle of the show for a little ad-lib discussion. The show was a Dolly Parton tribute, and they spoke of how a lot of her music is about accepting everyone as they are. They then spoke of it being Transgender Day of Visibility and why the visibility is needed for acceptance. There was a lot of applause at all of the other table that I could see. Visibility isn’t always us standing on stage, but sometimes being visible to those that do and are willing to be an ally.

    My TDoV has been four days long, but this comment is long enough, so I’ll respond elsewhere about more of being visible.

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