Monday, June 24, 2024

Dealing With Trans Rejection

Image from Jakayla Toney
on UnSplash.

Similar to so many transgender women or trans men, I have dealt with my share of rejections. 

My first major rejection came when I tried to come out to a friend when I was young. Instead of accepting me in anyway, he seemed to be embarrassed, shook his head and walked away. With that, I was forced again into my lonely, confused gender closet. I learned the hard way my friends did not want anything to do with a cross dressed companion. 

Little did I know, I needed to become used to rejection in my life. Somehow I needed to grow a thicker skin. Then again, all of my rejections did not come from outside sources. Sometimes rejection came from within as my male self became quite the transphobe. He did not want to give up any of his white male privileges plus being made fun of when I first started to try to out myself into the real world. Ironically, my male self tried to team up with my second wife to reject any ideas of a transgender life for me. To be fair, my wife was always OK with me being a cross dresser but drew the line at any idea of me going any further towards being a trans woman and to be fair to me, she knew I cross dressed before we were married.

Skipping ahead again to the times I was rejected when I tried to go out and test the public waters as a novice gender divergent person, there were plenty of times when I was rejected. Sometimes, it was merely being stared at, other times people being rude and asking for pictures, all the way to be out and out laughed at. All of the negatives led to me coming home in tears and laying down on my bed and sobbing. For some reason, after my tears, my basic stubbornness kicked in and I began to look at ways I could improve my presentation. Slowly but surely, I did improve but the rejection scars remained behind to haunt me. Mainly, my confidence was affected leading to even more unwanted rejections. I was just too timid when I was a novice transgender woman. Many times, I gave myself away.

The worst time I ever had was when a woman followed me into the women's room in one of the regular venues I went to. As always, I chose a stall, completed my business and had started to wash my hands when I turned around and faced a red faced woman who immediately started to scream at me. When she called me a pervert, I said enough is enough. For some reason I don't remember now, I learned she was a hair dresser, so I asked her if she had a business card. She asked why and I said I wanted to pass it along to our local LGBTQ organization so they could publicize her bigotry in their monthly news letter. With that, she turned around and stormed out of the woman's' room  and we went back to our seats. My reaction to her slur must have worked because she refused to even look at me when we had the chance to closely pass each other in the venue. 

Even though I was semi successful (I think) in backing down the bigot, I am still scarred by the incident. Especially these days when politicians in my native Ohio are attempting to make the simple act of using the restroom of your choice would become a crime. So far, they have been unsuccessful because of issues of enforcement. 

Perhaps, rejection is just a part of the transgender pathway we all have to follow and the ones who are successful in our journey are just the people who deal with it the best. Then again do rejections just scar us to the point of never properly recovering. Much like all the times I was turned down when I asked a girl out ended up how I viewed the the entire world of women. I let a few skew my feelings of the many. which is sometimes what happens with transgender women or trans men. When we are painted with broad strokes like that, often it can lead to rejections. I wonder if my friend I came out to so many years ago still remembers the one he met. Did I make any sort of a good impression or did I ruin it for any trans women he may meet now. There is no way to know but sometimes I find it fascinating to think about. 

I am happy to say, I came out of my years of hiding and dealing with rejection relatively unscarred and equipped to live a positive life.  

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