The Trans Closet

Awareness of trans* people has never been higher. People are coming out and ready to live their truth.

A current axiom seems to be that it is important, nay vital, to reveal one’s trans status to others. When I transitioned almost two generations ago, this was not the general approach. I knew I was a girl, and not a boy, when I was very young. My mother informed me it was at 28 months of age when I explained it to her as best as a child can who does not have an adult command of the language. I said I was a girl.

Note, I did not say I was a “transsexual.” I said I was a girl. Today being a transsexual or trans* is the endpoint for many gender variant people and there is nothing wrong with people wanting that as the endpoint of their journey. Again, nothing wrong with living as an out trans* person.

On the other hand it is possible to not be out. One of the first things we are told if we are not out is that we are living in the closet. “I did not come out of one closet just to go back into another closet.” In my view that misconceives what the “closet” is. The closet is a place where we hide a part of ourselves. It is where we keep the mask we wear as LGB people. Notice I did not add “T” for the T-closet is largely a different animal. LBG is a sexual preference. T is a social role, though admittedly T people have sexual preferences, even if it is to be asexual.

Some transsexuals merely want to live women’s lives, or in the case of trans men, men’s lives. Some will say this is out of shame. Perhaps in some cases this is true, but not all. In many cases, and I suspect this is the majority of those who choose a closed narrative, they merely want to blend in and enjoy womanhood, or manhood, as the case may be.

It is a different world when you are treated as a woman instead of a trans person. Most people with closed narratives have had out of necessity lived in open narratives for a time, often in and around the time they transsexed. Many asked if the open narrative is vastly different from the closed narrative. Believe me, they are different, and there is no “closetness,” to coin a word, in being a woman with a closed narrative. For a T-woman, living with a closed narrative is authentic, say what you will. Life plays out very similar to how cis-women experience it, and I am not just talking about connubial matters.

Yes, it’s no fun to make 59-cents on the dollar or be talked down to and man-splained. But had nature cooperated, this is where I would have ended up anyway. For me it is not the time to say, “Hey, you don’t know who you’re dealing with, bub!” Yes, some people want “the best of both worlds.” I’ll settle for some of the best and some of the worst in my female world.

After all, wasn’t that what I said I wanted and was all those years before?