This post is written with the greatest of love, because my friends are truly good people, but folks, you do something that really upsets me, and I need to get it off my chest.
Don’t, please don’t, dismiss my transness.
I don’t mean this as though anyone has told me I’m not trans, that I’m deluded and just confused. Well, actually I had one person more or less tell me that, and we don’t talk anymore.
What I’m talking about here is something that is meant with the best intentions, but can actually come across as dismissive and hurtful.
It is best captured in one sentence:
“Oh, I just see you as Theo”.
Let’s unpack this.
- Being trans is a large part of who I am. And not just in how i present myself or talk about myself, but in the simplest, every day things that I do. And the things that are not so every day, like trying to decide if my chest can withstand being bound for another day, or if I just have to suck up the dysphoria and get on with it. I’ll tell you a secret: 9 days out of 10 I wake up disappointed, because my body is not the way I wanted it to be when I opened my eyes. On the really bad days, I’m disappointed I woke up at all.
- It makes my transness (and my greater queerness) feel flippant. It’s great that you can “just see [me] as Theo”, it’s great that it doesn’t affect your day in any major way. It makes me feel like me being me is an inconvenience that people are pushing aside because it’s not worth confronting, and that can be really disheartening.
- It’s not about you. I’m sorry, but this is my life, not yours. And being trans could get me killed if I say the wrong thing or turn up in the wrong place. Using the phrase above frames me in your view of the world, and chances are your view of the world is a lot more privileged than mine. Now, I acknowledge I am white, British and disgustingly middle class, so I’m not as marginalised as queer folx of colour are, but I am still a lot more marginalised than white cishet friends who, sadly, are the ones most likely to say this sort of thing. You may be safe, but I am not.
- It sounds like you don’t care. And that really hurts.
I’m not asking that all my interactions with my friends revolve around me being trans, I would much rather just be treated as the person I am, but I need people to acknowledge that being trans IS who I am, and not dismiss it out of intended kindness.
So this is a polite request: if I tweet (as is often the case with this thing) about how I’m trans and it’s effect X part of my life, rather than tweet back “Oh, but I just see you as Theo”, maybe say something like “and you’re cool by me”, or even ask questions?
This is a personal thing, I can’t speak for other trans folx here, but it would help me feel a little more comfortable in my own skin.
All this said, my friends are super rad, and have been very open and accepting with everything, so thank you all.