I remember watching the Prime original series Transparent and within Season One two trans character are having a heart to heart, one a seasoned trans woman that has fought for years, the other recently out. The newly out trans woman just doesn’t understand what to expect, the other says,
“In four years your entire family will have walked away.”
I started watching Transparent myself after coming out, and as of this July I will have been out for three years. And it looks like I finally did something ahead of schedule. My family has entirely changed. There are no more Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, I don’t get phone calls checking in, I don’t even get a birthday card. What the world refuses to acknowledge is that to be trans is to be able to be alone with yourself.
I write that last sentence because it is true. The world thinks we transition for attention, for lust, from some misplaced mental illness, or from sin. All of that is false. We are sick and damn tired of not being able to be alone with ourselves. For me, gender dysphoria has always felt like a latex 80s Halloween costume and mask I can’t take off. It’s stifling, unbearable, and you feel the sweat pouring down your body engulfing you in discomfort. And you can’t escape, you go from one social situation to the next with this god forsaken costume on that is killing you, worse yet, even when you are alone you feel it sticking closer, hotter and harder to your skin like suffocation.
Then you finally can’t take it, you come out. The first breath is like your first, the world has color, you have wider vision, you feel like you can move. But then it’s like society wants to stuff you back into that costume. For many people it’s easier to interact with the facade then the reality. In my own journey that has been the case, people have stated they feel lied too, or deceived. Fuck you, imagine how I feel! Do you think I enjoyed that masquerade, the multiple suicide attempts, the repression, the blackouts from sheer mental exhaustion. You feel deceived, I had thirty years of my life stolen because you rather have the costume than me.
So as I make it to three years, I know you walked away. I still hear what you say about me, I still note the silence of my phone, and the mental abuse you dish out in Christian love. Maybe for your birthday this year I’ll send you a costume. It’ll be too small, uncomfortable, and try to kill you, but you loved how it looked on me. I have no blood relatives actively in my life anymore, and that’s a shame. I don’t expect to fill an extra seat at the table, I don’t expect to see a smile at a family gathering.
But I can sit in the silence and be comfortable with who I am, can you?