Never Ask Whether You Pass
I was thinking about how I got past the worry over whether I passed. Don’t get me wrong, I still worry, but it’s not something that demands my attention. These days when someone drops a T-bomb on me, it’s ‘cause they’re ignorantly outing me casually or I’m already implicitly out in the setting. Whether I’m actually passing is a nonissue in these situations.
Dealing with strangers is when I get the purest passing information. Even then it’s not perfect, but no explicit acknowledgement is just as good as passing, right?
The paradox is we need affirmation. But we need affirmation from the people we know the least about and have the least contact with. Also, we don’t remember the affirming bits and favour memories of being treated badly. It explains why so many older generation transgender people would just burn their lives down and disappear: having even part of your life visible makes the kind of affirmation I’m talking about difficult.
At the same time, what our loved ones say matters. Their support and reassurance over time, their consistency, gives us that strength that strangers can’t. We all need people we can vent to. We all need people we can trust. We can’t trust strangers. And yet we rely on them.
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