Facing the Pain We All Carry

Pain comes in all forms.facing_pain

For transgender people, I don’t know if anything hurts more than being clocked.

And for good measure, occasionally, the wrong pronoun will be used on top of being clocked just for added measure.

Why not add the final insulting cherry to the icing of the demeaning cake?

If someone is going to be an asshole, go all out.  There’s no such thing as a part time asshole anyway.  Go all out, let it unfurl.

My friend Alexis was out recently and got clocked.

It pains me to hear her story.  Lord knows I’ve been there numerous times, and I anticipate I will be there in the future from time to time as well.

The theory goes: no transwoman passes 100% of the time.  It’s best to embrace who we are than try to hold up the illusion that we can “fool” people all the time.

And trying to pass as cisgendered just isn’t who we are.  We know that.  But we try to pass due to so many reason.

Until the gender binary becomes even less rigid and starts to fully embrace gender diversity , the only two categories deemed socially acceptable and readily available for us to choose from are presentations as a man or woman.

We wait so long to finally embrace who we are as late transitioners.  It takes so much energy, courage, self discovery, awareness, and help from so many sources, to finally find ourselves and take the leap to do what is necessary for us to look at ourselves truthfully, much less be ourselves.

It takes enormous perseverance and willingness to face the truth to finally overcome the stigma and embrace who we are told not to embrace.

And upon finally doing so, the words “that’s a dude” or a masculine pronoun used to refer to us MtF transsexuals can really set us back.

When we hear incongruent pronouns used to refer to us, we can get knocked down emotionally.  The wind is immediately taken out of our sails, and we are immediately immersed in the cesspool that we thought we abandoned long ago.

The cesspool that contains every bit of criticism, transphobia, and justification and rationalization not to transition.  All of those reasons we used on ourselves, to delay and avoid transitioning, are still floating around in a pool of disease filled murky water.  The same pool of shame we worked so hard to escape from and forget about, but can never truly disengage from completely.

And what seems like a simple (or sometimes malicious) slip of the tongue by someone who sees us as our labeled gender at birth instead of the real gender we identify as, can dunk us back in our shame.

So how do we get past that shame?  We have to do the work.

Work on accepting who we are, and being who we can be.  Work on being authentic, and embracing that authenticity.  Instead of chiseling our bodies with surgeries to fit the current mold of what a woman ought to look like, embrace our current status and show the world that we are indeed women, just women who are different.  By doing so, let’s expand the definition of a woman to include transgender people.

When someone clocks us, we need to take back our power.  Instead of cowering in shame and brushing the fact that we were outed under the rug, let’s embrace the fact that we are out.  Let’s embrace the fact that the masculine features that gave us away are also the same features that make us beautiful.  That being proud of our transgender history is a great way to inform others that we are not ashamed of who we are, which also helps set others who are unknowledgeable about this topic at more ease.

Frustrating as it may be, it will take time.

But we have to do the work.  For ourselves, and future generations of transgender people.

By doing the work, it will lessen the pain of future instances of being clocked.

And it will also help remind us we don’t have to abide by the rigid binary set in place by an outdated culture we are trying to help update just by being ourselves.

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