You don’t choose to be black. You don’t choose to be white. You don’t choose to be gay, and you most definitely do not choose to be transgender. You are transgender. It is who you are. The only choice that a transgender person has to make is whether or not to live among the slings and arrows as oneself or to die and not be. Being transgender is not a joke. Being transgender is not a game. Being transgender is not a fetish. Being transgender is life or death.
I have to get up every day and be a proper person, in spite of the challenges with which I am faced. I have to be a productive member of society and pay my bills and go to work just like everybody. I work hard to advance my career as an IT engineer by taking graduate course work towards a Master’s in Computer Information Systems. I take pride in knowing that I am able to provide for my children and give them advantages, even though I cannot see them because of court order and my ex’s unwillingness to provide visitation.
I get up and write this blog to provide an example for other less fortunate people like me. I know that there are thousands upon thousands of young transgender people with no one to look up to. They are confused and scared. I try and be a role model, knowing that my reach is not that far.
Some of my day is rather normal. I have a great boss. I have good coworkers. I love my family, and I talk to my mom as much as I can. She is truly my role model in how to be a kick-ass woman in America. My dad is awesome too. Being transgender and myself has really shown me what amazing parents I have. When I was confused and in the closet, I took a lot of pain out on them and blamed them for things they shouldn’t have been blamed for. But now, I know who my real supporters are.
But I have to put up with a lot of shit. I’ve compartmentalized it and moved forward, but there is a ton of friction in my day to day. Although most transgender people are aware that the majority of people do not want to do harm to us, there exists a sizable minority that does explicitly want to do ill to our people and might envision a world devoid of our existence. Make no mistake, the transgender person in the twenty-first century America is the Juden of Nazi Germany that needs to be eradicated from existence [Edit: I could have used a less used metaphor here I know, but I had trouble finding a better one]. Western society would be so much happier if it didn’t have to deal with this troubling problem. Western society would be elated if every baby was heterosexual and cisgender. You can’t dance around this fact. Any system that glorifies the binary of extreme male and extreme female to the degree that we see today would be thrilled if there were no outliers. There is a false pretense that all genders are welcome, but if you look squarely at the gender propaganda beaming from any screen, the binary of male and female is the paramount ideal.
As I was writing this post, I got a pop-up from reddit.com that showed me a response to a comment I made about the American legal system and how money can control the outcome. My comment was this:
"Oh yeah, money money money baby. My case is pretty small, but I’ve been fighting to see my kids for two years, and I can’t see them because I’m transgender, but the other side has a big bankroll, so they just stalled me out until my legal bills were too much and I had to quit. Fun Times!"
And then I get to see this pop up on my desktop. America, this is my world. This is what I see:
So this is what I get to deal with America. Yes, there are wonderful, good-hearted people who are tolerant of all genders and sexual orientations, but they are largely silent next to the glaring, blasting hatred that is showered down on us day after day. This is the reality that I and we see. We are strong, but we are not supermen or women. Words like these cut deep and remind us of tragic realities. This particular stab comes at the end of a weekend where I saw pictures of my two boys for the first time in eighteen months. I waited and asked for pictures for eighteen long months and was met with silence, until I found a way to get them off of a public Facebook account. I’ve begged for a phone call or video chat. I’ve sent email after email to their lawyer asking for some sort of communication with the boys that I knew and I held and I rocked to sleep. I would sing to my older boy as I rocked him to sleep “all is well…all is good…” before they were taken from me.
I’m used to it now. I have a very thick skin. I try my best to be loving and friendly to everyone in spite of my travails. I think I do ok. I’ve learned to just take each day as it comes. It’s terribly difficult to plan and map out the future when your life is such a roller coaster of emotion. I definitely don’t have the zest for life of a young person; I figure I’ve aged about a decade in the last two years, mentally and spiritually. But I will walk on.
I am a transgender woman in America.