Regret is not an appropriate word for my feelings toward my transgender state. I don’t wish that I could go back and live a cisgender life, but, at the time time, I would not be opposed to such a hypothetical reversion. There are drawbacks, of course, given society’s fear and disdain toward transgender individuals. The careful eye and ear can probably determine that something is “off” about me, although unless one is attuned to the characteristics of transgender people, I am usually able to blend in with the crowd. In many ways, my place in the world is similar to the tattoos that litter my arms. Depending on how careful I am, the edges can be seen peeking out from underneath my long sleeves, but the true gravity of my difference is kept out of sight.
The reaction of my transgender acquaintances when they discover how forthcoming I am with my sociopathic condition is that of horror. They see their struggle, in part, as one of perception. Deviance from the narrative of a demographic struggling to do no harm while being given respect for their dysphoria results in a great uneasiness. These acquaintances of mine fear that, by acknowledging that every condition, including the transgender condition, comes with myriad subtypes, the support of those that can only accept “puppies and unicorns” will dissipate. That is, they worry that if the underbelly of their cherished demographic is exposed, then support from many will erode.
It is the holiday season again which means partaking in time spent with the family. They have never been particularly receptive to my decisions in life except for the status my college education and relative success conveys them by proxy. I don’t necessarily dislike them, but, as with most in my life, I can take them or leave them. I suspect that I will be spending the next two days telling them that I am “working”, laptop out, but really working on the never-ending stream of writing, communicative, and administrative tasks that comes with writing and learning about a subject dear to me.
My grandparents have not referred to me by a name of my choosing in nearly six years now. First, they would call me by my former first name. Later they would refer to me by my initials. As of late, I am merely a letter: the first letter of my first name. My aunt, who raised me, says that they “are trying” to respect my decisions in life, but that they will never be able to call me by the name that I prefer and that I should learn to be appreciative that they are even alive as I near my thirtieth birthday. In professional circles, one of the first things you are taught is to always refer to a person by their preferred first name. It shows respect and humans, apparently, love hearing their own name more than any other word in their language. The message from my grandparents is clear: I am not at the same level as other human beings; I gave that up when I began HRT nearly six years ago.
November 20 was the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance in which people across the world showed that they care more to make a presence to honor the dead rather than to help the living.
It is difficult to hide my indifference toward those around me. For some, I’m willing to wear that mask that will make them feel loved and cherished. However, I only will don that disguise should they require it. There are many in life that accept others with few conditions. There is no point in wearing an uncomfortable mask with those. It would be a waste of energy. These people know that there is something fundamentally different between us, but they will not cast me out. They are perfect for feeding on.