How can anyone complain about social hatred or murders of trans people—while they also refuse to share openly who we are and what we’re about?
The trans sexuality hiding game can cause discrimination and get people killed. I’m a long-term transsexual, widow of a conservative icon, former social worker/therapist. I know about hiding, where the bodies are buried, and I agree with Kenji Yoshino on what to do about it.
Trans leaders who go on TV, sell books, movies, etc., have an obligation to discuss trans people sexualities, not just gender role, to lead the way in promoting us as equal and valued members of society. When they don’t, they set us up for problems.
Trans people fear openness because we fear rejection. But the hiding can, itself, create more hell than we think.
This article is open with those issues and problems.
For the majority who change gender and hide they do not also want to change sex, you may
1. create your own unequal employment opportunities. If you won’t talk about it, you won’t show it, so you may refuse employment where locker rooms are involved such as police, fire, military… With the laudable public T cry for equality, this is self-discrimination, self-oppression.
2. generate gossip. Some people will get it on their own, some medical personnel may talk, finding love is harder for TGs anyway, and then there’s gossip from former lovers…
For trans people who hide any significant aspect of this, you
3. may enable hate crimes against yourself. I was “stealth” for 31 years, a poster child for mistakes in this area.
4. can’t stand up for yourself when shit happens because you can’t report something you hide. When someone hurts you can’t address the issue, and when hate crimes occur you may feel you can’t even go to the police. A lot goes unreported. We’re doing that to ourselves, and trans leaders who hide sexuality blaze a hurtful trail.
5. begin to seem eccentric. Dealing with issues you don’t share—others don’t really know why you avoid that person, that group, or seem fearful, and false or partial explanations make it worse. This creates distance from others, loneliness, alienation. You can’t smile through decades of that; it eventually weighs on weary shoulders.
6. can’t unlearn you’re not okay. Most of us learn growing up we’re not okay as trans. We hide our sexuality for that reason—fearing rejection—so we agree to hide aspects of ourselves to please prejudiced people. In so doing we dump on ourselves, which adds more long-term weight to our own shoulders. We may even be unable to receive the support of someone who is accepting, who might tell us to our face that we’re okay as we really are—because we won’t let the topic be discussed.
7. And then you wake up years later to realize you never allowed yourself to live your own life, that out of fear you lived, instead, a reflection of someone else’s desire—then you realize you can never recover those years. That large hunk of life is gone. All of this can create alienation, loneliness, depression, and even suicidality.
TRANS LEADERS, what are you thinking? You need to set an example for others in selling the truth. As an example, if you’re so, you need to share that you want to live as a woman yet you have and want to keep male genitalia because your sexuality is male. Who can transgenders in life point to for help if leaders say it shouldn’t be known? And if you’re transsexual, don’t be afraid to admit it. How could you set an example that it’s not okay to be yourself?
I went stealth in 1985 which caused all manner of hell in my husband’s and my life. My transsexuality was no one’s business, I thought. It wasn’t going to be a part of my life (in my work or home area). “People: Interact with me as a normal person.” But I’m not normal. I never have been. I am a real person, good. I try to help. I care about others…but I’m different in some significant ways. People either sense that directly or they misunderstand my signals and fill in the blanks with assumptions, which can be worse.
These problems will continue until people begin to see us as equal and valued human beings. But my experience has been that failing to stand up for myself, failing to sell the truth of what is going on, why I’m okay as a human being as I am, is at the root of hate crimes and even encouraged more, gave what seems to be unlimited license to bullies who knew I wouldn’t defend.
Fear of difference is exacerbated by ignorance. We need to sell what our phenomena are really about.