Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: privilege

Big Days in Transness

Yesterday felt like a big day for me.

It was National Coming Out Day, which I have complicated feelings about – I feel like there can be too much emphasis on the importance of coming out and not enough on the importance of personal safety. Not everyone is privileged enough to be able to come out safely, and they shouldn’t feel like they need to do it “for the cause” if it means that they’re jeopardizing themselves.

I do have the privilege of relative safety, though, and I do feel like it’s important for me to be out and proud as much as possible, because I have seen firsthand the powerful change that can come about in people’s perspectives when they realize queer people and trans people are people they know, and not just nameless, faceless statistics.

After the election, I decided I was going to make a point to be more out at work. I was terrified, but I also felt like it was some small way that I could reclaim some power in what felt (and still often feels) like a hopeless situation. And then we added a new member to our department in the spring, and I decided that I wasn’t comfortable coming out to her, because we share an office and she seemed quite a bit more conservative than I am, and I didn’t want to make things awkward.

Two weeks ago, this coworker thought they had met a trans person for the first time, and she was freaking out about this person using the women’s restroom, and (probably assuming that, since I was a young, gay man, I could do this) she asked me to “explain transgender” to her.

I admit my initial reaction was not great – I laughed. What else could I do? So many of my coming out experiences have felt forced, and here was another. So I told her I was transgender (to which she responded, “No, you’re not!”). I told her we just need to pee like anyone else, that nothing was going to happen to her because a trans person was using the same restroom she was.

We haven’t talked about it since, but now I feel compelled, once again, to be out and proud wherever I can. I have so much privilege in that I am read 99% of the time as a cis man, and I’m white on top of that, and I need to use that privilege for good.

Aside from being National Coming Out Day, yesterday was my one-year post-op anniversary from chest masculinization surgery. It feels simultaneously like it’s been more and less than a year – on the one hand, I feel so much more comfortable in this body. On the other hand, I still vividly remember what it was like to bind every day (and my lungs remember, too), and when I am tired and have changed out of work clothes have occasionally had to remind myself that leaving the house again might mean putting on pants, but it doesn’t mean wrestling my way into a binder anymore.

Surgery was not a thing I thought I was going to want when I started thinking about transition, but it was definitely the right decision for me. I am still grateful and blown away that my insurance wound up paying for it. The fact that I had surgery doesn’t make me more trans (or more legitimate) than anyone else, but it was a way that I was able to make my body feel more like home, and really, that’s something I wish for everyone.

Highs and Lows

via Mochimochiland on GIPHY

It’s been a rough week. I’m trying not to wallow in grief, because I feel that I have a responsibility to be ready to stand up for my fellow humans who don’t have a level of privilege that even gives them the option to wallow. As an introvert and a generally non-confrontational person, it’s hard not to feel totally paralyzed.

So I am starting small. I have two coworkers with trans or non-binary kids, and I am knitting things for both kids. I am commuting without headphones, so that I’m more alert and ready to stand up to harassment on transit. My partner and I are figuring out what we need to do to take care of each other.

I am grateful that despite the fact that all hell seems to have broken loose, I am in a pretty okay place personally, and well-supported by friends and chosen family. I am less afraid for myself than I am for a lot of the people around me, which is certainly a privileged place to be in.

In the midst of all of this, last Friday I hit one month post-op. I didn’t even realize it until I was about to go to bed. I’m still feeling really good about the decision to have surgery, and I’m really grateful I was able to do it when I did, but it’s hard to feel particularly celebratory when it feels like the whole country is going to pieces. Still, I hope you’ll permit me the small self-indulgence of a selfie from Friday, because I am pretty happy with how I look these days:

One month post-op

One month post-op

Through Grief and Gritted Teeth

I’m writing this Wednesday morning, as I work from home and try to process the fact that Donald Trump was just elected as President of the United States.

I posted on Facebook earlier that I have wanted my whole life to believe that people are basically good, but that this election is causing me to call that into question more than I ever have before. This should not have been a close race. A blustering white supremacist who brags about sexually assaulting women should never have even been in the running. But this is reality for all of us now. And if I listen and pay attention, I can see that the terror that’s trying to defeat me today is a terror that a lot of people (particularly anyone who’s not a white, cisgender male) were facing long before Tuesday night. Trump didn’t win out of nowhere. These societal rifts have existed for a long time; this election has just brought to light a lot of ugliness that we (white people in particular) have been all to willing to turn a blind eye to. The fact that it currently appears that Hillary won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote doesn’t change this.

It’s scary out there. I want to hide. I’m fighting back tears every few minutes. My impulse when I’m afraid is often to shut down.

But I can’t do that. Yes, I am queer and trans, and I have personal concerns in this political climate. But I am a white person who operates in the world as a man, and that means this is all going to affect me less than it will affect many other people. I have a responsibility to stand up for those people more adversely affected than myself.

To all of you out there who are Black, or Latinx, or Muslim, or Jewish…to all of you who are disabled…to all of you who are women, or non-binary, or somewhere in between…to everyone who feels not only disenfranchised by these election results but also afraid for your safety as you move through the world: I see you, I love you, and I stand with you. I am not perfect, and I am non-confrontational by nature, but I intend to do everything in my power to stand up for you at any opportunity. I am going to do my best to remember that although I am afraid, your worth as fellow human beings is far more important and powerful than that fear. I’m seeing a lot of #LoveTrumpsHate going around, but that’s only true if people in positions of privilege get off our asses and work to level the playing field.

Thinking

 

I’m doing a lot of thinking these days.

I mean, I do a lot of thinking all the time. It’s a big part of who I am. But lately, my brain’s feeling a little crowded.

I’m thinking about privilege, particularly all of the privilege I have always had as a white person, and more recently that I’ve acquired as a white man.

I am thinking that I need to use all of that privilege to more constructive ends.

I’m thinking about family, about the ones I chose who also chose me, and about how my feelings surrounding my choice to step back from my family or origin have evolved over the past several months. I’m thinking about my grandparents, two of whom are still living but all of whom I’ve lost. I’m thinking of my uncle, my father’s best friend, who had breakfast with me a couple of weeks ago and whose father passed away this week.

I am thinking that grief is complex and unpredictable.

I’m thinking about identity, and how I relate to my body, and how desperately I’ve been trying to ignore the growing presence of body-related dysphoria in my life. I’m thinking about how top surgery is still unscheduled and likely won’t happen for close to a year, and about how it will put me even further in debt but how I can’t even care about that anymore.

I am thinking that I am grateful that my identity as a man came after and was shaped by twenty-odd years of identity as a girl and as a woman.

I’m thinking about knitting, and how many projects I’ve managed to finish this year, about how most of them were very small but two of them were sweaters for me (though only one of those is wearable), and how that’s a lot for me.

I am thinking I want to knit all the sweaters.

I’m thinking about tarot and insight and intuition, and about how much I want to help people, and whether those two things should be more connected in my life. I’m thinking about burnout and spoon theory and whether my desire to help people should sometimes take a back seat to helping myself.

I am thinking about the value of selfishness.

I’m thinking about friends, about the ones that I’ve lost and the ones that I’ve gained and the ones that I’ve kept despite distance and regardless of the infrequency of contact. I’m thinking about an upcoming weekend of manicures and chick flicks and cooking and domesticity and some of my favorite people.

I am thinking that I am grateful for my newfound ability to appreciate my own femininity.

I’m thinking about books, and how I used to read all the time, and how over half the books I’ve read this year were books I’d read before. I’m thinking about stories and escape and education.

I am thinking I should prioritize making more time for books in my life.

I’m thinking so many things about myself and my home and my hobbies and the people in my life, and my brain is often feeling like a very crowded place. The fact that I’m entering into a manic phase is amplifying that feeling, and it’s a little overwhelming. But it’s also encouraging.

I am thinking, therefore I am growing.

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