7 Reasons Why Hiding T Sexuality Hurts

Jenna Ware, MSW, LCSW, ATP/CFI. Flying over Kansas.

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 not talking about admitting we’re trans; I’m talking about our sexuality, and I don’t mean orientation.

The vast majority of people who identify as transgender do not choose to have any surgery at all. Of those who do, only a small percentage have a cross-sex sexual response (as male or female) or seek the form and function of cross-sex genitalia (transsexualism). These things shouldn’t matter in society, but phenomenologically they’re critical for research, and personally, they can mean life or death.

As Kenji Yoshino tells us in Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights (2007), to integrate into society, we must also not separate ourselves. If trans leaders tell the public, reporters, researchers, not to ask about genitalia (such as Caitlyn Jenner did with Diane Sawyer on 4/21/17, 20/20, ABC News), if they don’t sell the true issue of trans sexuality, itself, as proper, as okay, if we hide our genitalia, our sexual response, say it shouldn’t be known, whatever it is, we

  1. create our own unequal employment opportunities. If we don’t talk about it, we can’t show it, so we may refuse employment where locker rooms are involved such as police, the fire department, military… With the laudable public T cry for equality, this is self-discrimination, self-oppression, self-inhibition of integration.
  2. enable gossip. Some people will perceive our sexual response or genitalia on their own, some medical personnel may talk, and then there’s gossip from former lovers… Becoming ourselves, we also need love, but finding love is harder for most trans people, and ex-lovers tend to complain, talk, gossip.
  3. may enable hate crimes against ourselves. From prior discriminations, I refused to let my transsexuality be an issue in social interactions; I’m a poster child for mistakes in this area. But that creates new problems. Who do bullies prefer to pick on? People who won’t stand up for themselves, which leads us to #4…
  4. can’t stand up for ourselves when shit happens because we can’t address something we hide. When someone hurts us, we can’t address the issue, and when hate crimes occur, we may feel we can’t even go to the police. A lot goes unreported, so there disappears help we could have received, research, statistics on what we’re facing…
  5. begin to seem eccentric. Dealing with issues we don’t share—others don’t really know why we avoid that person, that group, or seem fearful—and false or partial explanations make it worse. This creates distance from others in our lives, loneliness, alienation. We can’t smile through decades of that; it eventually weighs on weary shoulders.
  6. can’t unlearn we’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 weary 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. What are we saying to ourselves if we feel we must hide our genital state or our most basic sexuality as a male or female? That can be crushing.
  7. And then we wake up years later to realize we never allowed ourselves to live our own life, to be ourselves, after all, that out of fear we lived, instead, a reflection of someone else’s desire, pretended our sexuality to please prejudiced people—then we realize we can never recover those years. That large hunk of life is gone. All of this can create alienation, loneliness, depression, and even suicidality.

I ask reporters and leaders of trans phenomena, of trans social issues—of whatever perspective at all—to stop playing down trans person sexuality, genitalia, sexual response as male or female, to help sell, instead, the idea that we’re okay as we actually are, that there’s no reason to hide, that we can be as natural to ourselves and fully integrate as much as anyone else.