9.21.2011

Visibility and the Big Gay Parade

I read a post the other day by Native Son a transguy from Kentucky and he said something that really hit home for me: ...one can either be proud of their identity as a trans person or they can deny it and spend their time enforcing their legitimacy in the binary that brought us here in the first place... 

I am having a really hard time deciding whether or not to be "out" at work. Some days I could care less but other days I am just too tired and worn down to deal with all the cisgender male posturing that goes on in our office. If I hear my co-worker say "that's what she said" one more time I swear I will staple his lips to his desk.

In my quest to become a good man I am trying really hard to be tolerant and patient and kind but it seems that I have come to expect that same behaviour from others as well. I don't know if that is a bad thing but it certainly seems to be unrealistic. Manners and common courtesy have flown the coop and I am rapidly losing faith that others will be consistently considerate. I suppose it bothers me more so at work since I expect a certain degree of professionalism in an office and I feel like I am working in a sports bar. But look, I have gone off on a rant....

Living your life as a trans person out or not is really a matter of personal choice. Expecting everyone to live their life as an activist is unrealistic. Some of us are happy to finally feel comfortable in our own skin and yes, finally feel "normal". While I do hope that the future brings with it more tolerance and understanding, cisgender heterosexuality is always going to be the "norm" by way of majority. That is a fact. While we can definitely hope for equality, tolerance, understanding and eventually apathy at some point, right now we are still in a struggle within the GBLT community for equality, tolerance and understanding. Why have we destroyed our solidarity by placing more and more exclusive labels on each other? Why do we only stand behind the principles of equality when we are fighting against discrimination from mainstream? Why are we not arguing for equal recognition and acceptance from within?

I want to be a role model for those who  are struggling now. I grew up in a time when being transgendered meant you were perverted in some way, that you were sick in the head and there was never any talk about "those people". Here we are today and we have had movies and magazine articles, and now a mainstream television show making transgendered people "real" people. We are no longer the freaks or the butt of all the jokes but are regular people with families and feelings that can be hurt and mended.

So to Kentucky's Native Son I wanted to say thanks. I’ve been trying to remember why I put myself in danger, why I feel so afraid, why I am angry that I have become the tranny instead of a guy with a name. I forgot why I tolerate people talking about me behind my back. I remind myself the reason that  people in this small town gossip. I worry I won’t be taken seriously, I worry I’ll never be a “real” boy in the eyes of others. I worry that I might never find a partner that will really love and understand me.
But I read your words and they remind me to be strong. I see my trans brothers taking risks and standing out front and saying here I am love it or leave it. I admire their bravery and want to be able to close my eyes swallow my fear and walk up to the front and stand beside them.  Every choice I make to be “out” or not affects someone’s future. I had brothers that came before- some who gave their lives and hearts just to be free. I just have to remember to breathe and be brave.

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