Being transgender is still a big focus of my life. A lot of my friends and activities revolve around trans-related stuff. If you ever want to get read as transsexual by everyone who sees you, just hang around with a dozen or so other transsexuals. Individually, most of us blend in to an extent. In large groups, we really start to stand out. At the supermarket this morning, I was just some woman buying groceries. At the club last night, I was part of that group of trannies dancing over there. Nobody ever comes up to me at the Safeway to tell me that I look "just like a woman". No, nobody would say that to someone they thought actually was a woman. It's still my favorite back-handed compliment.
I can see how to some people, the comments and stares would be annoying reminders that they don't blend in. On Friday, for the first time in I don't know how many months, a waiter called me "sir" -- harmlessly, since he seemed genuinely confused about the gender identity of people in our party and seemed to think that was the polite way to address us all. On Saturday night, a drunken guy on the street called a gathering I was a part of a "beautiful group of men-women". I shrugged off that first comment, and laughed at the second.
For some, those reminders that they don't blend in are enough to make them distance themselves from the trans community. Especially post-op, having your gender openly questioned or challenged can be an awkward thing. It's not as if that bulge in the front of your pants was ever your biggest impediment to passability, but once you've had it removed, you want people to see you as genuine -- as genuine as you, yourself, feel. Avoiding other transpeople is a way to avoid some of that.
For me, at least for now, I don't see it that way. I don't want people to know I'm transsexual just by looking at me, but I don't care if something gives me away. I'm not trying to hide who I am, but I'm not trying to advertise it, either. A funny look when I'm out running errands or a rude comment on the street when I'm out jogging would bother the hell out of me. A drunken remark in a gay nightclub when I'm out with a half a dozen other trans girls is nothing, though. Fortunately, these days I get only the latter and none of the former.
Not to brag, but I could probably go stealth if I wanted to. At 5'6", I'm average height for a woman. My voice is very passable. I look more female than male even without makeup these days. I don't get clocked when I'm on my own. I don't get stared at much at all.
Going stealth, though, means removing yourself from all things transgender, and dropping out of a community that I've gotten a lot out of and still get a lot out of. Yes, there are days I'd like not to be reminded about this. Yes, I get tired of talking about it sometimes. But if I were actively hiding it, I'd have to worry about those situations where I'm hanging out with my trans friends. Or someone who knows saying the wrong thing. Or someone who doesn't know doing a Google search on my name and finding this blog or my photos or whatever else is out there. I don't want that. Definitely not.
I really like being able to blend in as a woman, but I hope I'm never ashamed that I'm trans. When I'm out with a group of trans people, we're all "out", but we're usually having fun with it.
3 weeks ago