Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: queer

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.

Heartache and Heaviness

It’s been a rough week.

By now, you’ve likely heard about the mass shooting that happened over the weekend at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

It’s entirely possible that, by now, you’ve moved on. This is America, where we value the right to gun ownership over the lives of human beings, particularly if those human beings are queer and/or not white. Shit happens, we move on and try not to think too hard about it.

I’m angry and sad and scared all at once on so many different levels. And let’s be clear: as a white person who is, most of the time, read correctly by others as a man, I have some of the least reason to be any of those things. I’m safe, relatively speaking. But that didn’t stop me from a moment or two of hesitation before holding my partner’s hand as we walked to the grocery store the day after the shooting. Because it could still have happened to us.

I don’t have a lot of coherent thoughts about it all. There’s so much at play here: racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, gun control vs. gun owners’ rights, and on and on and on. There aren’t a lot of easy answers, and the few that should be easy are made hard by politics and skewed perceptions of reality. About all I know with certainty is that this has been a really hard week.

On Monday I stumbled across a Facebook event for a healing ritual at a nearby beach. That evening, my partner and I went to the event, where we stood in community with others who were hurting, and did our best to soothe each other’s wounds and send as much healing and protective energy as we could to the LGBTQIA+ community at large. And it helped. We left feeling lighter than we had when we arrived.

The trouble is, there’s still a lot of vitriol going in multiple directions on social media over all of this, and some of it I agree with and some of it hurts like hell, and the obvious solution would be to back off social media for a while, but it’s a hard thing to do when you also feel compelled to check up on your friends and community elsewhere. And so while I feel less hopeless about the world than I did before the ritual on Monday, there’s still a weight on my chest.

What I want for my community, more than anything else, is safe spaces in which we can be fully ourselves, spaces so large that we are able to move through the whole world while holding our heads high. I want transgender/nonbinary/gender-adjacent folks to feel safe and seen as themselves, not limited by the arbitrary assignment of the labels they received at birth. I want queer folks to be able to be affectionate with one another in public the same way straight folks are, and for it to be a complete non-event. I want us all to feel like we can take ownership of our identities and how we express them, and to do so without wondering if this is what’s finally going to push the world around us to far, if it’s too much of a risk.

To my straight, cisgender friends and family who checked in on me this week, thank you. It really was appreciated.

To my queer friends and family, I’m sorry I haven’t done the greatest job of checking in with you.

Everyone, let’s do our best to keep each other safe, because the world won’t do it for us.

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