I’ve noticed something. It’s a shitty something, but I think I get it.
But before I go all snarky and blunt, lemme qualify this shit. I haven’t met every transgender woman. I’m not speaking for all of us, and I’m certainly not speaking against us. I’m only relating my experience.
That’s the first part of the disclaimer. Here’s the second part.
I’m still in the closet – as you well know because I continually bitch about it. (My blog, my right to vent.) Maybe my experience would be different if I were out or if I were exposed to the broader trans community. I don’t know.
What I do know is this. I’m hardly the only closeted trans chick seeking support, affirmation, encouragement and even friendship. My situation isn’t that rare. I doubt I’m the only one who runs into this particular annoyance.
So what’s my gripe? Lemme lay it on you with my patented blend of blistering candor and sensitivity.
Many of the transgender women I’ve met fall into one of two categories. Either they’re really social but really depressing, or they’re really standoffish. I don’t think either group means to be unsupportive toward me … but that’s still what I feel.
That first group? The ones who are really social but really depressing? Okay, these women are more than happy to talk about the struggles of being trans, but they focus mostly on the shitty aspects of it. They may throw in the occasional optimistic sentiment, but it doesn’t feel like they buy what they’re selling.
They know being trans is hard. They also want community and support. But they’re running on empty.
Talking to them is scary, upsetting and discouraging. I mean, they’re several steps ahead of me in transition, but it doesn’t sound like they feel any better about themselves, their lives or their identities.
I tend to thank them for their time and move on.
The second group is extremely guarded. I don’t know if that’s because I still look and sound like a guy and they see me as a threat, or if it’s because they’ve been mistreated, or because they’re doubtful of my acceptance or what. I only know that having conversation with them doesn’t feel good.
I feel like I’m annoying them. Or making them feel not-safe.
I move on from them because I have no choice. It’s not like they’re open to friendship. They’re not. Their discomfort makes that pretty clear.
I get where both groups are coming from. Being trans is hard. I get down about it, too. I don’t wanna spread my misery around and try to get other people to play in it like the world’s shittiest Slip ‘N Slide, but I get it.
When I’m down, I vent to a couple of carefully selected, supportive, non-trans friends because I don’t want to make another transgender person feel my fear, doubt or pain. (I wish I had trans people in my life I could talk to, too. Maybe someday.)
I get being protective, too. Look, people can be horrible. There are all kinds of fucked up, judgmental reactions to transgender people. I kinda wish I could just hide away somewhere and never deal with another asshole again.
But that’s not possible. And, on top of that, hiding doesn’t help anyone else. It just leaves others feeling alone … and I know how awful that feeling is.
If you’re trans, it’s totally okay (and, I think, healthy) to share your pain and fear. You can’t bottle that stuff up. But don’t fixate on it, especially when you’re talking to other people who need encouragement just as much as you do.
And if people have treated you poorly, don’t assume everyone else will. Even though it’s fucking scary, try to stay open to new friendships. God knows I wish I had more trans friends, but they’re so hard to come by.
If you find this post offensive, please go easy on me. Like I said at the beginning, I’m not slamming all transgender folks. But I am holding us all, myself included, accountable. We need to stick together. We need to take care of each other. And we need to grow and accept ourselves with PRIDE instead of shrinking into the shadows.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent more than enough time in hiding. I refuse to hide from others like me.
And on that note, if you’re trans and looking for a friendly voice, get in touch with me. I won’t spew horror stories at you, and I won’t push you away. I promise.