Now this is a very personal and difficult topic to discuss, but I feel like it is timely and relevant. I consider myself a seeker of truth, and a supporter of that which purveys the truth. You may have never heard of me, but I bet you’ve heard of Laverne Cox and or Janet Mock in the past year. What about Chaz Bono or Carmen Carrera? My point is that trans people are out there; we’re alive and well and we’d like to let you know that yes; we do exist. Just sometimes not in the way that you expect.
People Ask The Wrong Questions When people online find out that I’m transgender (female to male), the first thing they ask is the dreaded: “Have you had the surgery?” First of all, this is the wrong question as there is no one surgery. There just isn’t. In order to fully transition physically there are multiple types of surgeries, commonly divided in talk among trans people and their allies between “top surgery” and “bottom surgery” though there is occasionally stuff that falls in between of a more cosmetic variety. For me personally, the answer to any of those questions is no.
It’s Not About Passing In the past, most transgender people have been known for being desperate for a chance at what we call “passing” which is exactly what it sounds like. Traditionally, someone who underwent changes to become the gender that they feel they are inside would likely attempt to go as far as to even erase their past in order to increase their chances of not being found out. As trans people, we’ve spent time immemorial being terrified of being found out for our birth gender and the violence that might be enacted against us should that outing occur.
I find myself hating the idea of passing. I don’t want to have to change my appearance or my hobbies in order to be viewed as I already view and accept myself. I see myself as a man and always will– and that has nothing to do with the fact that I like to dye my hair and that sewing is one of my major hobbies. In a perfect world, regardless of operations and testosterone and estrogen therapy, a trans person should be able to say “These are my preferred pronouns” and that’s just the end of it.
The Information Age With the advent of internet support groups, trans people have entered into a brand new golden age of being able to be open with their experiences in relatively safe environments. There are Facebook support groups, and Tumblr itself is a safe haven for just about everyone on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Through this, we begin to cast of the veil of the dark ages of trying to pass and struggling to afford impossibly expensive surgeries and treatments just to earn the rights to our identities.
I am a pre-op trans man, and I say right here and now that I may never fully physically transition because I don’t believe that I should have to in order to be respected and accepted. I think that it’s time we all start loving ourselves and our bodies just as we are so that we’re truly ready for that next step, whether it’s surgery or not.