We used to play hide and seek in our neighborhood with all the kids. It was some of the best times of my childhood, when I recall the good times.
I always hid in the best spots.
We lived in a cul-de-sac, and there were about 18 track houses laid out where the two small streets crossed. Parents would be washing their cars, the girls would be playing jump rope and using chalk to draw squares for their hopscotch.
And I would be out there with the boys, playing hide and seek.
I learned early on, that in order to hide successfully, I had to pick my spots better than a mere shadow cast by a car in the driveway, or behind a simple tree trunk.
I hid inside bushes, climbed on rooftops, and occasionally hid in between the crevices of an RV that one of the neighbors owned. The spare tire blocked me completely, but I could see through the cracks of the steel rim of the tire, and all the while see what was going on with those who were searching for me.
There were some occasions I recalled, where I was hidden for so long that the other kids would go inside and play Nintendo and forget about looking for me. I would then see that the streets were empty, and gloat at the fact that I won, that I outsmarted all of those kids who were looking for me, and run into the house where all of them were playing video games, showing a sense of pride that I was able to find such creative hiding spots. The kids would acknowledge that I was the best at hiding and we left it at that.
I somehow got a huge kick out of that. A sense of accomplishment, if you will, that seemed inappropriate and out of context. But nevertheless, it was present.
Looking back at all those instances, I can only make sense of it all in a few ways.
Namely, I was reinforcing and reassuring myself in my abilities to hide. And hiding was crucial to my survival if I were to pass as a boy, and fool everyone another day, week, month, or even year into believing I wasn’t a girl.
It was as if not being found meant I hid so well my transgender secret was safe. And nothing could be further from the truth.
I now see some of my friends who still haven’t transitioned but have told me desperately that they have the desire to do so. But work, family, spouses, get in the way. There will never be a perfect time, and there will always be fear when we come out to loved ones.
But I wish transgender people didn’t have to hide their tracks so well. Sometimes we hide so well we never get found.
I say free ourselves from dogma, from fear, and embrace who we are.
I have now been living fulltime for nearly two years, and I have friends who often tell me they wish they could transition, but they fear their work, their spouse, or their significant other will leave them. They tell me I inspire them (which humbles me, because I think we can all inspire someone if we are given the chance), and that I am strong. I simply wish they could see and realize that strength in themselves.
It is society that has to broaden its inclusiveness so that people can truly be themselves with less fear. And I think being GLBT, or transgender in particular, has an incredible upside in creating opportunities to challenge society and expand people’s awareness towards the differences and diversity that makes the world so beautiful.
So I say stop hiding. Hike and seek is no fun when we lose ourselves in the process of hiding too well.
So I say everyone who is afraid to come out:
OLLY OLLY OXEN FREE…