I’ve been following discussions on a few forums and message boards I monitor. Given yesterday was Transgender Day of Visibility, there was lots of chatter about being transgendered and what that means. There were several comments and long discussions regarding both those that are binary (firmly identify as one gender) and those that don’t. And yes, the dreaded topic of public washrooms came up. Again. It stirs up a lot of thoughts for me. I did, however, resist the temptation to jump in.
You see, I don’t always articulate my thoughts about all this very well. And I know that many won’t agree with what I am trying to say. There lies the rub. I very much support activities that promote equality within the LGBT community and the rest of the world. The trick is how you define LGBT. More specifically, the T part. This is my dilema. How to support without appearing to be hypocritical.
Yes, okay, I am transgendered. But I am very binary. That is to say, I identify 100% as a woman. I am a woman. Always have been. In fact, I consider myself as a woman who is trans, not a trans woman. For many the difference is subtle to say the least and confusing at worst. Even more of a subtle difference to the general population is the range within the spectrum that is transgender. And that’s another issue for me. Society may, may, be able to wrap its head around gender binary. I know that my world has. I am seen and accepted as a woman everywhere I go, in everything I do.
Many are not binary, but identify somewhere on the trans spectrum. Couple that with people whom I believe are not trans, such as cross dressers, drag performers etc, many of whom throw around the “trans” word and society can get very confused. If I don’t subscribe to it, society doesn’t have a hope. This is where the whole bathroom issue comes up. Don’t get me wrong, I support equal treatment of everyone, as people. We are all people, straight, LGBT, visible and not so visible minorities etc. Provided they don’t harm others or break laws. (Another theme for another day).
Then there is the whole topic of “passing privilege” of which I have been accused. Yes, accused is the correct word. Yes, I “pass”. I am never misgendered. Ever. But I take great exception in being accused of that. Yes, I have good genetics on my side, and Hormone Replacement Therapy has been very kind to me. But I don’t control that. And I had no idea how well it was going to work. I rolled the dice just like we all do. But I also worked my butt off during transition. I was (and still am) in constant therapy to figure this out. One year of monthly laser treatments, two years of weekly and sometimes twice weekly electrolysis, six months of voice work, constant voice training so that my new voice is my normal voice. It was all hard work. I earned all that I have gained. So don’t even for one minute talk to me about “passing privilege”.
The trick is how to be supportive when there are those that label themselves as trans when in fact, in my opinion they are not. How do I support them when they muddy the waters for my community. And there lies the rock, with the hard place being when I am criticized by many in my community for not being supportive and in fact seen as a traitor. Look, if you are a cross dressers or drag performer, etc, fill your boots. I don’t care. But be who you are, not something you are not. I don’t pretend to know your struggle , don’t think you know mine.
Look, for many in my world I am the first trans person they have really met. There are a ton of eyes on me everyday. They watch how I well I assimilate, am accepted, act as a woman. All I do is just be me everyday. For them that works. Because I am a woman. Period. And I support those in the LGBT community. I support those that are not, but not when they try to be something they are not. And that is what causes me grief, while trying not to seem hypocritical.
Rock. Me. Hard place. Sigh.