Safe (And Scary) Trans People

Photo by Rayne's Avante-Garde
Article By E.S. Wynn

Even before I came out openly as trans, I found myself having to reassure people that nothing in my life was going to change, that I’ve been living as I am for my entire life and that I have no interest in transitioning to female. I had to soothe their fears and make them feel safe. I had to explain the differences between gender, sex and sexual preference, and every time I said something akin to “I’m transgender, not gay” or “I’m on the transgender spectrum, but I’m not transsexual,” I felt a bit like I was throwing someone else under the bus. I felt like by having to reassure people that even though I have chosen to identify as transgender while not choosing to transition or to pursue men, I have done them (and my greater LGBTQ+ community) a disservice. In identifying as transgender, I become a representative of the minority, in my own little tiny way, even if only just for one or two or ten people. I become a representative, and yet I’m set apart from the big scary unknown world of men who become women simply because I’m different from the people who choose to go further. I’m not a gay-club man in a wig screaming in the streets of Greenwich Village. I’m not modifying my body or demanding that people use different pronouns to refer to me. I’m a safe trans person. I’m tolerable because though I use the big scary “T-word” to identify, I’m not one of the “terrifying and weird” trans people.

That honestly pisses me off, because it shouldn’t matter how far I, or anyone else, wants or plans to go in pursuit of their identity. It shouldn’t be terrifying to interact with a trans person at all, regardless of how distant their lives are from the concept of “normal” established by conservative American ideals. I hate that people fear us, any of us. I hate the sighs of relief when people ask “does this mean you’re gay?” and I have to say “no,” and explain the differences between dysphoria and androphilia. I hate how conditional and fickle people can be when the question of “how transgender are you?” comes up. When someone asks me how far I plan to take “this transgender thing,” I am of two minds. My authentic feeling, my honest internal truth is that I don’t plan to take it any further than I already have. My rebellious side sees the blatant transphobia in the question “how often are you going to dress up?” and I want to grin and say “every day, constantly, even while I sleep” just to force them to face their fears. In reality, when I dress as a woman, I wear some very stereotypically masculine gear (battle jacket, combat boots, often pants, etc.) because the artistic expression of it is what makes me feel good. I don’t need special clothes to feel like a woman. It’s part of who I am. I’ve felt like a woman my entire life no matter where I am and how I’m dressed. When I pull on my full gear, (including wig and padded bra) I do it for the art of it. I do it for the aesthetic, and considering what a pain in the ass it is to pull together the full artistic outfit, I don’t see the point (for me) in doing it full time. It’s not practical. I have books and articles to write.

But you can bet your ass that I’m inclined to pull on full gear for every poetry reading I do of my book “Trans Physical Dynamics,” or for my upcoming book “Red Gender”. I’d do it for gigs too if I happen to find a punk band at some point that is looking for a trans vocalist, and also truly at any point if it can be used as a tool in a specific setting to reach a group of people and lessen the weight of judgment that is heaped on trans people of all types (especially the ones that aren’t “safe” like me.) The fear that is leveled at trans people is disgusting to me. No one should fear us, any of us, in any way, regardless of how we choose to express ourselves as transgender individuals. We’re just people, all of us, and the degree to which we conform to gender stereotypes should not be a measure of our worthiness, our reliability, our empathy, our intelligence or our moral character.

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Unknown said...

My friend congratulations on your post to me you're just Earl and that's Earl included at all that.
Miss your laugh.

Unknown said...

I'm in love with this photo and article. Thank you, sis.


Unknown said...

Love this article and the accompanying picture! <3

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