Showing posts with label bigotry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bigotry. Show all posts

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.  

Monday, June 3, 2024

Trans Girl at Pride Day

 

Pride Flag image from
Jason Leung on UnSplash

Welcome to Pride Month. The only month of the year when the LGBTQ community is celebrated by a portion of the world and hated by others. Sadly, the month brings out all the gender bigots in the world. 

Early on, I had many experiences at various Pride Days with my new circle of lesbian friends. Including non lesbian friends when a meetup group my wife Liz and I were in operated a table at Cincinnati Pride for a couple of years. On occasion, I even felt as if I was the token LGBT person in the group. Regardless, I had a good time people watching all the diverse public which was walking by. I saw everything from lesbians wearing nearly nothing to cross dressers teetering painfully around in their heels and hose. Then, of course there were the drag queens who I almost felt were embarrassing to me because I did not want anyone to think I was part of their culture, I was transgender not a drag queen. My disclaimer is I have nothing against drag queens but my days in male gay bars taught me how unfortunate it was to be mistaken for a queen. 

Plus, I wanted everyone to know how important it was to me to be recognized for being a transgender woman in a sea of other diverse people. Along the way, I felt the Prides I went to started to emphasize trans people and not the drag queens who seemed to get all the attention with their flamboyant attitudes and clothing. Cincinnati in particular a couple of years ago featured a trans woman I don't remember now as their parade marshal. Plus, I started to see many more transgender women and trans men in the crowd along with groups of butch lesbians and gay male "bears". It made for an interesting experience as my preference was to be mistaken for a lipstick lesbian. Or a lesbian who wears makeup. 

Early on, back in our drinking days, Cincinnati Pride always featured an after hours "Pub Crawl" which one year even featured a bus which took us to many gay venues we had never been to before. I had always wanted to live in Cincinnati and this was a great way to experience it, without ever driving because at the end of the evening, we took an Uber to get home. A great time was had by all. 

Of course, Cincinnati wasn't the only city in the region which hosted a huge Pride celebration. Before I moved to Cincy, I lived within a half hour of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus, as I said, had a LGBTQ celebration which rivaled all the others in the state. This time I went with my new circle of lesbian friends including Liz and two others. Similar to my Pride experiences in Cincinnati, the drag queens became less of an influence and better yet, I could relax and enjoy myself. That night for some reason, we ended up in several straight bars without any problems. 

These days, Pride has really expanded. In the local metro area alone, there are four separate celebrations going on this year. Sadly, with most, after the celebrating has died down, the same old problems exist for transgender women and men in the community. Big corporations who support Pride go back into their closets and I assume wait for the push back from the gender bigots. 

At any rate, it is refreshing to see the public media support for our community. Even if it is temporary.

Enjoy your Pride month no matter where you are in your gender transition! That includes all of you who identify as cross dressers. You never know when all of that may change. It happened to me.

Friday, February 2, 2024

The Road Less Traveled

Image from
Jessica Radanavong on
UnSplash

 Every now and then, even though I follow several very popular LGBTQ and Transgender sites such as Stana's "Femulate", I wonder how many cross dressers or trans folks there are in the world.

Sometimes I think there not very many but then again more than I think. My thoughts began relatively early when I began to experience the public as a novice transgender woman. A prime example was when I first began to go to the Veterans Administration for my health care. Included in the care were the basics allowing me to begin gender affirming hormones. During my first visits, I could tell I was the main educator to the VA staff who had never seen a trans person before. I knew then, I was on the road less traveled with my gender issues. 

Over a short period of time, I found differences in how I was treated started to change. I became less of an educator and my providers were more likely to understand my needs. It is important to note how well over the years my VA health team has treated me. Plus, over the years, I have received several other comments from transgender veterans such as this one:

" It was interesting to read of your experience with the VA. Shortly after I retired I began receiving primary care through the nearest VA clinic. I was able to select a female physician and made my first clinic visit presenting as a woman. I had already indicated that I was transgender woman on some on-line forms, as to avoid any confusion. And, my first name on all legal documents is Kimberly, so that kinda sets expectation, I suppose.


Anyway, I weighed in and was roomed by the RN, a lovely young woman. She lead me through the perfunctory questions that had to be asked, and used my preferred (she) pronounce when she introduced me to the doctor. The doctor was similarly courteous. I was a bit surprised when she asked when I had GRS and how long I had been on HRT. (I have had neither and at my age consider these would offer little net benefit for me). We did talk a bit about my transition goals, which are pretty limited at this point.

I had two routine follow up visits with this physician at the VA clinic. During these visits I was always treated with not just courtesy but genuine kindness and friendliness. I had very enjoyable conversations with the staff. Perhaps it helped that I was coming from a health care admin background."

Thanks so much for the input Kimberly! I know various other VA centers vary in their care standards especially when it comes to LGBTQ vets and primarily transgender veterans. If you have a different story, feel free to comment. 

It is said, any public relations is good even though it is not well meaning. During this time in our transgender history when so many negative laws are being proposed and passed in states such as my native Ohio, when the public sees me now, I know increasingly I am on the road more traveled. Sadly, gender bigots in the world are emboldened by their ignorance and somehow are encouraged to voice their unwanted opinions of me. 

My days of existing under the radar in a larger world has gone by the wayside. It seems every night on the news I see information on ill advised politicians  coming after me and my transgender friends. Even though I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a strong group of trans allies, I still suffer from the paranoia I feel when my road into the world becomes more traveled. 


Saturday, October 7, 2023

"Trans-Dar" Activated

 

Image from Nikki Smith

Yesterday I happened upon two television shows with  LGBTQ friendly hosts. 

During both shows, I was actually late in tuning in and missed the very beginning of the segments. During the first show, my "Trans-dar" didn't really go off at all until the questions started. Of course, once I realized the woman was transgender I began to pay closer attention to what was going on. It turned out the trans woman's sister invited her to be in her wedding. I immediately thought what was the problem? It turns out the trans woman was forced to walk down the aisle by herself because no one in the best man's party would commit to even holding her hand for the walk. Of course, I felt her situation deeply having experienced something similar to that myself.

Years ago, when I began to become close to a small group of people in a venue I became a regular in, I was invited to join in a bachelorette party. To make a long story short, my invitation was revoked for a reason I was never told. Life went on and I was disappointed but I got over it. Maybe one of more of the other invitees objected to me being invited at all. I moved on forever wondering what went wrong.  Joining in with a bachelorette women's party at the time would have done wonders for my overall confidence with my presentation as well as my confidence in my new life.

Since I rarely see any shows on television which cover transgender  women or men at all, I was surprised on the same day, to see yet another program featuring another trans person. This time my "Trans-dar" did go off and I was able to research who I was watching and came up with "Nikki Smith". During the interview, she was able to provide feedback (in a short period of time) on the issues we face as transgender women. Especially in Utah where she grew up and the problem of finding her way in a field such as rock climbing. Both her and the interviewer did an incredible job of providing an insight on our lives.

Even still, both shows plus what I heard on one of the cable news networks I am a fan of, left me deeply troubled on the future of LGBTQ people in an overall sense and trans people in particular will have to face in the future. Texas (of course) was featured in a show I was watching when they pointed out how far right wing companies such as "Patriot Mobile" in Texas are funneling thousands of dollars into winning local school board races. Which in turn force schools into anti-gender and racial systems  of education and book banning. Closer to home, the school board where I live just painted out a diversity mural the middle school students had painted. Amid many protests the board ignored.

Hopefully the whole process back fires on the gender and racial bigots and the younger generation continues on their path to providing a more equitable future for all. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Impostor Syndrome Revisited

 

Pride Ohio River Photo
from the Jessie Hart Archives

For many years as I started my transition from male to female, I felt as if I was an actress just trying to fit in with the world. In many ventures into the public eye I felt I needed to concentrate on having a feminine walk, among other important things. In many ways I was creating my own problems as I began to settle into a public presentation which fit in with other women. As I was having fun exploring all the new aspects a woman takes for granted, I was feeling guilty about my progress.

All along I wondered why. After all I was beginning to live a life I  previously could only dream of doing. Perhaps it was because I was still experiencing my age old guilt I suffered in my lonely, dark gender closet as I was growing up. In other words I was experiencing the same old problem expressing my true authentic self. At times the struggle seemed to be to much to bear. As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you, just makes you stronger, did make me stronger in many ways and hurt me in others. I overcame by trying my best to explore ways to power through my gender issues. 

By powering through, I attempted many less than successful opportunities to express my new self. I ran the gamut of reducing a young grocery bagger to a stutter all the way to be snickered at and or stared at in public when I tried too hard to be sexy. I  found when I did that, I never had the chance to experience impostor syndrome because I was attracting the attention for all the wrong reasons. For awhile, one of my favorite activities was making sure my short skirt was even shorter when I slowly passed a semi truck on the highway. When the driver responded with a horn blast or the flashing of the lights, it validated my femininity. Which I discovered was all wrong.

My impostor syndrome really began to kick in when I found myself in situations when I needed to communicate one on one with other women. All of a sudden I needed to evaluate what I should talk about and how I was able to voice it. Often I would be talking with another woman feeling great then the doubts would set in and I needed to try to encourage myself to keep going. If you are familiar with bowling at all, it is similar to bowling three strikes in a row then overthinking the next attempt and totally messing it up. 

It took me many years to overcome my impostor syndrome by primarily realizing I had as much of a right to be a woman as the next person. As with every other female I had earned my socialization rights. I can't stress enough how difficult the process was for me. My deep seated paranoia (from childhood) that somehow living as my chosen gender was wrong took almost as long for me to completely overcome it.  But I did and these days my primary response to impostor syndrome is to get over it. Especially if I encounter any out spoken gender bigots.

Friday, November 20, 2020

TDOR

 If you didn't know, "TDOR" stands for Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day set aside to remember all the tragic, senseless killings of transgender women and men around the world. 

Here is a statement from the day's founder:

"Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people -- sometimes in the most brutal ways possible -- it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice."
- Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith

It's always important to note also the great majority of transgender deaths in the U.S. are trans women of color. 

It's also important to remember on this day, we all have to be careful and do the basics to protect ourselves. 



Cha-ch Changes

  Vote BLUE! After many years of keeping the blog title the same, I have decided to modernize it to reflect the name I adopted as my legal m...