To most unsuspecting strangers I am just any other middle aged white man. Candace and I are just any other middle class straight white couple. Since the election concluded I have been painfully aware of the implications, both positive and negative, of our outer facade. I’ve mentioned to Candace several times about my fears of hate filled bigots hurting us because I’m trans and she just laughs at me because she sees me as “safe”. I don’t feel safe. But what if they find out I’m trans, I ask? You’re a man now. They won’t care, she answers. You’re like them.
NO! I’m not like them!
I’m not straight. Candace isn’t straight. I’m a transgender man with a lesbian history. I am part of the LGBTQ+++ community. I don’t want to be grouped in with all the other middle aged white guys out there, many of whom may have voted opposite of me.
I think about changing my gender markers before it’s illegal to do so in order to protect myself and to further insulate myself from prejudice.
I think about Candace and I getting married legally now while we still have a chance as a same sex couple. Just because we probably won’t be able to in the future. I feel confident that after my gender is changed legally, said marriage would continue to be safe.
I tell Candace my thoughts and she says, “but what about Beth and Jane’s marriage? It isn’t going to be protected.” Ugg. She’s right. How can we get married knowing that we’ll probably be safe when our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters won’t be so lucky.
Then I think, maybe I should just keep my gender female on my papers and we should just be out and proud as lesbian/queer/trans people. I don’t see Candace doing that. I don’t really see myself doing that.
I’ve even thought about detransitioning, as if that is even an option for me at this point. I can’t go backwards. No way I could do it.
I think about going stealth as much as possible. This is very hard to do in this information age we live in, let alone the small community we live in.
Then I realize I’m being self centered and selfish. I probably am pretty safe. I’m mostly invisible to most people. Just a middle aged white guy. Nothing more. Nothing less.
So that leads me to wondering how I can make it clear that I’m not just any old white guy? I’m not really interested in putting bumper stickers on my car or pinning safety pins to my clothes. I wonder a lot how other progressive white guys feel about all of this. Do they wrestle with how the world perceives them? I doubt it. I think a lot of them get angry that women don’t trust them or see them as a possible threat when they know they aren’t. Sorry guys, your anger is misdirected. Get angry at the other white guys who have made women fear and mistrust you for good reason.
Which leads to my only conclusion. I have to lead by example and speak out against discrimination of any kind. I can’t wear a sign on my back that says, “I’m not a bigot or a rapist and I love my LGBTQ sisters and brothers.” I’ve thought about getting a shirt made that says, “I’m not like other white guys.” I have to admit that it really makes me sad that when I meet a lesbian these days they look at me like I’m the enemy. I want to say to them, “Hey, I used to be a lesbian too. I’m not like the other ones.” But I can’t. Instead, I let them carry the heavy package for me and show me how strong they are because I know they’re proud of that and then I sincerely thank them for the help.
At the moment I’m still angry about the election and pretty scared about what will be coming in the next four years in this country. I feel pulled between wanting to protect myself and my family and fighting for what is right and putting myself on the line. I don’t want to be a casualty of this war, but I don’t want to sit idly by and do nothing either. I intend to fight, but I also want to protect myself and my loved ones and I don’t want anything I do to endanger them. I have a pretty healthy dose of paranoia running through my veins at the moment too and wonder if just writing this blog post could come back to haunt me even though I keep it pretty anonymous. I’m not naive enough to think they couldn’t find out who I am if they wanted to.
I’m really wrestling with whether to change my gender markers and whether this will help or hinder me and our cause in the coming years. Overall, I think it’s necessary. It was on my agenda already as part of this year’s goals. I suppose I shouldn’t let the election interfere with that. I’m still trans even if my markers are changed. I’m not safe and I certainly don’t feel safe. I can only imagine what other people who aren’t as safe as I am are feeling right now. I want to wrap them all in a blanket of white protective light and insulate them from the harsh realities that lurk outside. In the meantime, I will continue living my double agent life as an enemy in the enemy camp and keep my eyes and ears open. Be safe out there! Stay strong!