Chrissy, it sounds like we live in similar environments.
The choice to not conform gets even harder when you realize just how common shallower users are, those into using you purely as a kink without any heart and often with more than a little harm.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the market cornered on that. The whole world is full of people who are out to glorify themselves and gender status or presentation makes no difference to them. This is part of why I’m happy to be an introvert.
That said, I do understand what you’re saying here Chrissy. This is why I’m out… not just because I need to be, but it’s my form of advocacy also, in a place where there is no real “community” for us to speak of and I’m surrounded by friendly yokels (they’re usually friendly anyway). I hope that anyone takes some courage or inspiration from that. I get that oftentimes, our individual realities are more complicated, but I wish that we all were as far out as we could get…the world would be a different place. Get out there if you can ladies!!