So, it dawned on me recently that I think I’ve been, like, subconsciously going back into the closet…
Over the past two months I have been dressing less and less femme, I’ve been very sporadically wearing bras (when I had previously been wearing them every day), I’m not shaving very often (going weeks with stubble), my blogging frequency has slipped, and my self-confidence has been at the lowest it has been in… fuck, a while.
When I pick out my own clothes recently I tend to grab basic t-shirts and sweats or shorts. Then when people still inevitably stare at me I almost always turn to my partner Falon and say things like “why are they staring? I’m not even wearing anything femme…” or “I don’t even look that queer today, do I?” and my spoons quickly deplete. Still, dressing in pretty andro clothes, not shaving, and not wearing a bra, has made walking around town MUCH easier. I’ve been blending in a bit again.
And you know what? The street harassment HAS been way, way less over the last few months too. I haven’t had anything thrown at me from a car in a while, no transphobic/homophobic slurs yelled at me from some dudes in their pick-up truck, nobody following me and recording me on their phone (like with the Walmart or Mac’s Convenience incidents), nobody cornering me outside and screaming at me to get out of town (like at my bank last summer), just not a lot of harassment at all really.
Then two days ago, while standing in the kitchen doing some dishes, Falon could tell that I was really low on energy so said that they would finish doing them for now. “Go sit down, it’s okay,” they said. “You don’t have the spoons right now, but I do, so I can finish up what’s left.”
So, off I went to dry off my hands and without any forewarning I just fucking broke down crying. Hard.
Like, I’m talking full on hyperventilating, body shaking crying for nearly half-an-hour. And ever since then all I can think about is how absolutely, completely shitty that I’ve been to myself for the last 59 days.
This is the first selfie that I’ve shared on my Facebook page with friends and peers, since March 30th.
Between then and now I have spent the vast majority of my energy berating myself, bullying myself, invalidating myself, tone policing myself, gaslighting myself. I have let every single shitty, transphobic thing I’ve read on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, news articles, etc. over the past few years get under my skin and burrow deep.
All the YouTube videos with casual transphobic and transmisogynistic jokes thrown in for a laugh at our expense. The movies making fun of us, the public figures profiting off of our abuse and oppression, the Milo Y’s of the world calling us a cancer on society and advocating for us to be socially, politically, and financially quelled. The posts after posts after posts of people, both cis and trans, demeaning and degrading non-binary folk as liars, fakers, tricksters, and general nuisances to all. The cruelty of our families degrading and disowning us. The centering of capitalism, pinkwashing, tone policing, respectability politics, ally theater, and conformity by the organizations that purport to be “for us”.
It was all in there bubbling under the surface and until today I didn’t realize how much it had just been rotting and festering away inside me… making me feel sick, and sad, and worthless, and scared.
I deserve better, Falon deserves better, and my queer and trans readers, followers, and friends deserve better too.
Our anger, our frustration at the constant transphobia that we are forced to endure every single fucking day, those are valid emotions. Marginalized people are constantly shut down and told by others for decades to be quiet, to be nice, to calm down, to not yell, to be patient, to educate people.
Yet over and over and over and over again people say and do transphobic things. Often the same people. Over and over again TV shows, YouTube vids, movies, news broadcasters, reporters, talk show hosts, etc. say and do transphobic things. Over and over again politicians, religious leaders, public figures, celebrities, teachers, professors, say and do transphobic things. Over and over again “allies” say and do transphobic things, then get angry when you bring it up.
And we’re expected to just not burden those around us with any of it. We’re expected to take all the forms of harassment from them every single day and to deal with it ourselves, in quiet. Stop complaining, it’s not so bad, say those who just don’t fucking want to hear it.
We’re expected to not be upset by any of it. To stop being angry, to stop being so sensitive, to not take things personally, to not rock the boat, to “pick our battles” (but not actually fight them TOO loudly), and to respect and hear out the abuses from others as “opinions”. Further, we’re expected to then generally listen to our abusers and softly, calmly, patiently, and politely teach them. Don’t alienate your allies. Don’t alienate ignorant politicians. Don’t alienate the abusive police system. Be nice and be quiet.
So for the last few months I’ve internalized thing after thing after thing.
I’ve subconsciously punished myself for my anger. I’ve isolated. I’ve stopped posting publicly about most things. I’ve stopped openly sharing my self-care and empowerment selfies. My “friends” list has shrunk exponentially with each passing month. I’ve worked quite subversively to quell my emotions and NOT be that angry queer that everybody berates as an “oversensitive”, “triggered”, an “SJW”.
But you know what, I’m queer and I’m angry.
Don’t like it? Go fuck yourself. I’m bouncing back and I’mma be LOUD.
This post was featured in Elan Morgan’s 410th Five Star Blog Roundup on July 5, 2017.