Double Agent

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!


17 thoughts on “Double Agent

  1. I’m struggling with this too. It’s so helpful for someone to put it in words. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Im in a mad dash to change gender marker and name on birth certificate and passport. I think those are all that’s left. For me it is a safety factor for sure tho I’m sure there is a trail and if someone really wanted to know they could figure out im trans. I completely hear u on staying in alliance with those who will likely lose their rights. It’s a quandary. For me right now it’s a safety thing. Like putting my oxygen mask on first so I can help others after. Good luck getting thru it all. Stay true.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I cannot speak for your legal gender change but I wanted to say thankyou for typing this (and posting!) And the theme of being a double agent is pretty epic 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome. And thank you too. I think it’s pretty cool too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ok last night I read some of your earliest blog postings and whilst I realize they were years ago…could you please explain to me how you decided or realized you were not a butch lesbian but rather a trans man? I’m asking because of personal reasons…:( I hope that’s not rude for me to ask. And if it is I’m seriously very sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not rude at all to ask about how I identify and why, in this context. I think, for me, it came down to not identifying as a woman at all as lesbian butch women do identify as women. They are masculine women. I am not a woman. That said, I don’t deny my lesbian past at all and do consider myself a trans butch guy, a hybrid of sorts. Identity is tough and really not so cut and dried as I’m a man and not a woman. I lived almost 50 years as a woman so I have a significant history as a butch woman and that is part of me and will always be part of my identity. But, basically, I see myself as more male than female (probably 80/20%) and butch lesbians usually don’t feel that way about themselves, so I think that, for me, was the deciding factor. I hope this helps you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Stick with what is right for you, don’t rush in to do anything before January unless it was already on your plan. I’m going to make one more last ditch attempt to get Donna to marry me before Trump takes office. I want her to be my next of kin.
    I don’t see any down side to getting married now. Gender markers are, and will continue to be state by state, if your state is easy now, it will probably stay easy. The only short term Federal issue is going to be your passport, which you should be under Shaun.
    I don’t believe in doing identity things because they are politically motivated- stick to what feels authentic and right for you. Surround yourself with others who are in the same boat, talk to each other, call your representatives, write, and don’t give up hope. We will get through this if we stick together.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I did get my name changed on my passport last year so all that matches at the moment. It’s really the passport I’m most concerned with not being able to change the gender at a later time. It’s not really politically motivated so much as not wanting to get stuck with IDs that don’t match later on. Changing my gender on my DL was on my list for this year anyway.

      Good luck with convincing Donna to get married. I think it’s a good idea to protect your ability to take care of each other legally.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Trump or no Trump, this is still a struggle. What do we do for ourselves, what is influenced by others and what do we do for other peoples sake? How do we balance being able to live in “stealth” vs honoring our past, our former struggles, our friends and something that used to be a big part in our definition of ourselves. Being gay is a statement and going from outcast to mainstream is just as hard as the opposite journey many of our fellow trans-sisters make.
    I certainly struggle with becoming ordinary and invisible, and so does my wife. I try to comfort us with that there’s a lot more than our sexuality that makes us weird as a family and that most families actually have the same struggle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s true that the struggle to come to terms with blending in is not dependent on Trump. It would be there either way. I do feel estranged from a group that I used to feel I belonged with and now I’m seen as an outsider. That doesn’t feel good, but I can’t blame them either. It is what it is. On the other hand, the marriage stuff is dependent on what Trump does or doesn’t do and I don’t like that my marriage could be safe while others aren’t. It just sucks all the way around.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Shawn. I think I still don’t believe this has come to pass. Here in Oz, I’m still feeling that sick dread of anticipation, rather than anything actually happening.
    I guess with ‘passing privilege’ can come ‘passing guilt’. However, you don’t strike me as someone who’s going to just forget about your LGB brothers and sisters. I can’t see what’s wrong with looking after Candace and yourself first. You might have already seen Dara Hoffman-Cox’s vid on post-election self care. Posting here in case you haven’t. I thought it pretty good. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have seen Dara’s video. There’s a lot of good advice in there so others might find it helpful.

      I hadn’t thought of this as passing guilt but that’s an interesting way to frame it. I don’t really feel guilty about passing, but there is definitely an element of guilt in that my marriage would be secured, as well as some of my rights, when my friends would not. That doesn’t make me feel good at all. We will be fighting this as much as possible though.

      Things are not going well already with the new administration and they haven’t even taken the office yet. The people he’s appointing to be on his team are the worst of the worst that he could possibly pick from and are guaranteeing to make this next 4 years a tough ride for anyone who isn’t white, straight and male.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I did one of those little quizzes on Facebook the other day that asks you to ‘check your privilege’. I know they’re really not more accurate than the ‘what is your aura/porn star name/ideal career stuff but it was still interesting to me.
    I’ve slipped. According to the stupid quiz I’m ‘underprivileged’. This is because of my sexuality/trans son/physical and mental health probs, gender and insecure employment. I’m also white with a PhD, a home (with a large debt) and privately educating my kids.
    My point I guess is that it feels like basic human rights are truly under threat. Any one could lose their relative privilege at any time
    On the other hand, I’m still here. I’ll fight.
    If it helps, lots of us (including me) are keeping spare beds ready in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting. Depending on how those quizzes are set up they can be fairly accurate. I do believe that everyone is vulnerable to losing their privileges and rights under the right circumstances. That’s why it’s so important to keep a vigilant eye on your government and support the groups that are keeping them in check.

      It does help to know that we have people caring about us around the globe and willing to fight. They will not stop here if they’re successful and anyone could be next. The religious right wing have factions spread all over the world and are working diligently to infiltrate every democratic free nation in the world with their hatred and bigotry. Just look at what’s happening in the UK for proof of that. We all need to work hard to rid ourselves of these extremists. The real enemy is already here infiltrating our governments, our news stations and poisoning our citizen’s minds.

      Liked by 1 person

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