It’s amazing what the simple act of starting a blog can do.
I mean, I guess I did more than just “start a blog.” I think on a personal level what I did was, “internalize my truth.” Before the blog was even a twinkle in my eye, I constantly struggled with my trans identity. More to the point: I didn’t really have one. I knew I felt more like a woman than a man. I knew I wanted to be a woman. But the concept of actually calling myself “a trans woman” was terrifying.
Mostly, the fear was of other people. The “What Will They Think?!” of it all. Fear of no one believing me. Fear of discovering that I was somehow wrong about my feelings, like there’s some checklist for “Being A Woman” out there, and I’d find out I was a few ticks short. Fear of people playing nice to my face but harboring resentments and judgments inside. (But then, how would that be different from my every day life?)
For close to a year now, I’ve had exactly two confidants. People who I trusted to speak with about my identity, but only in private — only in hushed whispers; whispers rooted in shame. And every time we’ve had the conversation about how I feel about my gender, it’s essentially been the same conversation. I wasn’t progressing in any measurable or meaningful way, and it had nothing to do with them. They were both good listeners, willing to let me speak without judgment or interruption, who encouraged me many times, in many small ways, to explore my gender instead of just thinking about it. They were opening up a space for me to allow myself to let go of the male facade that I’ve been holding up for so long, but I was the one who was afraid.
The act of CLAIMING an identity is powerful. It allows you permission to feel something that you already believe or know to be true. It changes shame into confidence, confusion into certainty, & fear into strength. And I think that’s what starting this blog was for me. In the short week since launching it, I’ve said and done things I never imagined I’d be comfortable doing so early in my process (I hesitate to use the word “transition” only because I’m not sure if that terminology directly implies being on hormones, which I currently am not, and could not afford). I’ve put on clothes that I would have been terrified to see myself in before. I’ve taken cute photos where I liked the way I looked (which I honestly don’t think has ever happened before, ever). I’ve said, out loud, the words, “I am a trans woman” and “I am a woman” more times than in the rest of my life combined. And this time… it didn’t feel like something that could be disputed. It felt like something that is true, rather than something I wish were true.
Of course, everything good comes with a little bit of bad. It took me less than a week to get my first hater. Some nameless, faceless IG account for an organization that had something to do with God sent me a message because they had something super important to tell me. They didn’t care if I had anything going on, or how I was feeling, because this bit of information — hoo, boy — this bit of information was going to change the game. According to this person, there’s no such thing as being Trans! God never intended for transgenderism to exist, because there is no biological precedent for it. Therefore, I was suffering from a mental illness and the fact that I had started an IG account AT ALL was proof that I was trying to force this person to disobey their God!!!
It was literally the thing I was always afraid of. I was shocked to discover that my reaction wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. Instead of being sad, angry, or hurt (the ways I always reacted before when I saw someone commenting this shit on another trans person’s page)… no, I felt empowered.
My existence is apparently such a threat to this person’s ideology — and life — that they took an hour out of their day to send me a message filled with hate. But not hate for me, hate for themself (I struggled with whether or not this is a word. What’s the gender-neutral singular version of what I’m saying here? Is ‘themself’ acceptable?). I made this person waste their time, their energy, their data… by living. By existing at all.
If this is all it takes to fight the hateful, bring it the fuck on.
I responded by saying, “You don’t think trans people exist, and I don’t think God exists, so I guess we all have something.” (Their response: “How dare you try to force your beliefs onto me!”, followed by blocking me.)
At the same time, I’m willing to accept the possibility that this was a fluke. Maybe this particular person didn’t upset me because their hatred was rooted in God’s judgment, and I, an atheist, am immune from such punishment. Maybe the next person will dig at something deep inside me, and it’ll tear me apart. But somehow I doubt it.
Not to say I won’t ever be affected by anything hateful that anyone says to me online again, I’m still human, flawed, and quite abnormal, but this felt different. I’ve argued with those religious haters online before. I’ve felt burned and hurt by their words before. But today I felt nothing.
Who knew the way to feel confident in your identity is to say it out loud? I don’t want to speak too soon, but I’m feeling more and more confident about coming out to more people in my life.
I’m not going to rush myself, but empowerment is a fantastic feeling.
-A Trans Girl Has No Name
P.S. OH! I know I’m late to the party, but I finally finished The Wachowskis’ Sense8 on Netflix, and it is in the running for top 5 television series of all time. The Wachowskis have always been some of my favorite filmmakers, but I don’t know what stopped me from finishing their Magnum Opus. I’m going to write a longer piece on here breaking down their entire filmography at some point (Cloud Atlas alone may be a multi-blog thesis), so I’m not going to say too much, but Sense8 so perfectly expresses the ideas, “We are so much stronger together than alone,” “love conquers hate,” & “claim your identity!” that it’s quite possibly I’m still just riding a high from finishing that series and that’s why GodloverIGPerson didn’t offend me.
Anyways, thanks so much for reading and I’ll be back sometime next weekend 🙂