Today I feel the need to say something about transgender people and more specifically Transgender women. This message covers the entire LGBTQIA+ community but I want to focus on one specific part of the rainbow group. Trans women.
We are who we are. I am who I am! And nobody is going to change who I am. For years I lived the life everyone perceived me to be. I was friendly, and I shared your friendship. I loved you for who you are. We depended on each other. We supported each other on good days and on bad days. We trusted one another with our lives. We fought battles together and we made things work for both of us. Your children spent many days at my house playing with my children. They have been naughty together and they laughed together. We were neighbours for years. We were colleagues for years and most of all we respected each other. You were safe, your partner/wife was safe, your children were safe and your pet was safe. No issues whatsoever.
But me? Inside I was falling apart day by day, year by year. My heart ripped a bit more every day until I couldn’t handle it anymore. I open the closet and I get out, falling apart has been part of my life for so long, but no more. I realised the me you have known and trusted and respected for so many years is not who I am. I wanted to be free and I wanted to smile like it was meant to be. I wanted to feel that happiness I saw around me every day.
You meet the new me. Nothing has changed. Just my packaging has changed, but inside, I’m still the old me. All of a sudden you are in danger, your wife is in danger and more importantly, your children are in danger. Why? I ask myself over and over. Then I realise. It’s not me. It’s you. You’ve known me for so many years and because my clothing changed, you accused me. All of a sudden I am going to do this and do that, but you know what hurts the most? Your attitude that just changed in a second. Where is the trust, the respect, the friendship we had all the time? Just because?
Understand this, I am still the peace-loving neighbour you knew. I am still the same person you knew and trusted and respected and worked with and we partied together. Why, oh why would you after all these years all of a sudden label me as a paedophile, a rapist, a murderer, a fraud or whatever is going on in your mind.
You gave me no chance to talk about it. You did not even try to understand. If you just gave me some time to help you understand who I am and what I want in life. I just want to be me. I don’t ask for your or anyone else’s permission and I’m never going to apologise to anyone for who I am. I am free, I am happy but most of all, I am me.
You can avoid me or you can talk to me. You can be my friend of old times or go your way. You can hate me, but I’ll still love you unconditionally. You see, I can not be biased. I can not be hypocritical. I do not hate and I do not mean harm to anyone. I just want to be me.
Just because one or two clowns use my type of packaging to do bad things, doesn’t mean I am the same. Isolated incidents don’t define me. Isolated incidents don’t define transgender women. There are huge differences between criminality and loveable people. Yes, I say people, because criminality appears in all walks of life, all genders, all races and all walks of life. Don’t use it to judge transgender women because you are looking for a way out or an excuse to hide your bigoted feelings.
Because some clowns want to eradicate us, you adopt their mentality? Look in the mirror. What do you see? The real you. You should not hate because that’s not who you are. You should not reject us because we don’t reject you. We mean you no harm. All we want is to live our lives as we did before, with the difference that we are happier, we are free and we are who we say we are. My packaging has changed, but internally, I am still the same person you have known all the years.
My brain did not have a sudden crash and reboot. I am still as qualified to do what I was always doing. Nothing of that changed.
I am me, You are still my friend and I still love you and your family is perfectly safe around me. Don’t judge me and don’t reject me. Be my friend as always and ask me what you need to know. You’ll learn from the real me and hopefully, you will eventually accept me. Please give me a chance.
I don’t ask for anything else. I am who I am and I am proud of myself!
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A couple of points, but first, congratulations for being yourself. It is not always the easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.
Not all media or press is to blame. Yes, some media/press has an agenda, a large part of it is actually trying to disseminate the truth, and I commend them for that. Unfortunately a large part of conservative media has taken up and anti-LBGTQ+ agenda, and I am disgusted by it. I live in a liberal state and we have few such issues, but we do have our pockets of intolerance, and I can tell which media outlets some of these people listen to by the comments they make. I try to dispel ignorance and mis-information when and where I can.
What upsets me most about the attitudes of the people you describe is their projection of such mis-beliefs about others. Nothing really has changed, other then your outward appearance and yet attitudes and preconceived notions suddenly do change. As more people are exposed to alternate lifestyles they will slow come to learn that we are the same before and after. Attitudes about gays and lesbians began to change when they became more public, and people started to realize that people they knew were gay and yet “normal” people as well. The same will happen, with time, for trans people and CD as well. It will take time, and it will be stressful for the first people out, but the right thing is always the right thing even when it is difficult.
While its true that there have been a few out there that have contributed to the hype made by the press. The good always seem to suffer for or from the bad. Well this is nothing new. The press will sensationalize anything and everything. The more drama that they can weave into the story, the better. Invoking emotions such fear or hatred is what they like to do. That is what the press does in order to get people to read their articles.
There are so many good people out there that just happen to also be trans. Have faith, the press will move on to something else before you know it.
The way things are going though is that the press/medis will write what they can sell. That is the goal- Sensation, sales and ultimately money. They don’t care who they harm as long as there’s money to be made.
I avoid media because of their concocted and twisted lies for the sake of money. Like I always say, never do anything to draw attention to yourself, because what you do, if not right, may attract the wrong attention and cause you more harm than benefits and stand in your way of happiness and acceptance. My classical say is, don’t do your makeup in a way that you look like a christmas tree on steroids! Do it in a way that makes you happy and be comfortable.
My intention is to speak the truth and to help people understand who we are. I can not jump up and down and shout in the streets, that’s not me.
I can however help to make a difference through my pen and paper. I like to talk where people can’t hide, but listen and hope to make a difference. Just remember, the most beautiful flower starts with a little seed that looked like nothing and buried in the dirty soil.
With care and patience, I can make a difference, like that seed changing in the most beautiful flower.
Thank you so much for sharing that. You are a very strong woman indeed.
I get so disheartened sometimes because it seemed like people were becoming more open minded and accepting, in general, througout the world. But suddenly it seems a great many people are pulling back to the dark ages. Or maybe for some reason, those who continued to live in those dark ages are just becoming more vocal.
The thing is misinformation and media that keeps people on the go. I always try to help those with a legit reason for asking questions, to understand who and what I am and who we are.
Many people are willing to listen and learn but find themself in a difficult situation when family or friends are with them. If they want to know, I help them. If they have ulterior motives for asking, then I tell them in a respectful way to take a hike.
I couldn’t be phased by who says what anymore. I live my live authentic. Those who don’t like it knows, they can just build a bridge and get over it.
Oh dear, what a harrowing post, I cant imagine how horrible it must be to be sooo rejected by your neighbours and society. I sometimes forget how lucky I am to live where I live. I’m writing this sitting in a bar after having a meal. I have had a conversation with my neighbouring table about the food here, I have used the ladies WC and have chatted with the staff. Nobody cares that I am en femme, nobody would dare to call me out on it as I am protected by law. The one thing that makes me feel really uncomfortable is I didn’t get my nails done so I have ugly hands…. Luxury problems that I shouldn’t whine about. Education is the only solution, you cant force somebodies ignorance but coercion by changing our societal norms does work, I know because I see it in my country and at grass roots level in my local city. I hope that it filters through instead of this right wing conservatism that grows on that side of the Atlantic.
You were labelled a Paedophile and rapist because the right wing press has told people that’s what ALL trans people are. All over the news, the papers and web sites, trans people are evil and will eat your children. Transwomen will go into a the ladies toilet and instantly try to rape everyone in there, especially any young girls….. This is everywhere, but there is little rebuttal. There can be little rebuttal. The press know this and so they keep spreading their filth and their lies. It makes me sick! For God’s sake, don’t let your neighbour see you drinking a can of Bud Lite 🙂
Personally, I don’t care what the press does because they only write what they can sell.
I do care about the generalisation of it in the press though, but what can we do? I think we will always have this misinformation problem when the press and media are involved.
It does harm us but also looks at the wider picture. These people making XXX-rated movies and videos where trans women are the main actors are the worst instigators that give the press what they want.
Can you blame the actors though? In some ways not really because we don’t know the answers or the circumstances that forced them to make the movies. So, I do not criticise the actors at all because a lot of us lose jobs and families and friends and we find different avenues to put food in our mouths.
A whole vicious circle that starts when you are not accepted, and rejection forms the world that you need to navigate.
A very sad but true post. My own family has in some regards abandoned me. My own brother wont speak to me. The “funny” part is my packaging hasnt even changed as of yet. I still present as a man 90% of the time. Just the idea of being trans has caused them to deny my existence. Its really quite psychopathic. My friend from Myanmar told me in most of Asia nobody cares or blinks an eye really at the idea. It really sucks but you are right, we have to continue to fight and live with courage without reciprocating the hatred. Thanks for this post.
I have learned to just let them be and wear no guilt about who and what I am.
I help them understand me when needed but, other than that, I just live my life as I see fit and what keeps me happy and comfortable. I just let them decide what they want to accept or not, because you can’t change their minds anyway.
Thank you for sharing this. It seems sometimes the personal relationships outside of immediate family aren’t talked about often. More so the close friend(s) relationship that can be affected. I’m sure it’s why some of us stay closeted, I know it’s why I am closeted to everyone I know but my wife. Thank you again for giving this side of relationships a voice.
Your thoughts and experiences is the reason why I stay almost exclusively closeted. Only a few people know, and when I present in public as Philma I am exceedingly careful. I drive more than an hour away (even more now that I have a job that is higher profile) and am very selective about my activities and locations I visit. I am sorry you experienced such bigotry. Unfortunately, there is a lot of media support lately for bigots to have a platform. The pendulum will swing back our way again, but I certainly feel the aggression focused our way in the past few years.
I hope you find some peace and your friends find some understanding in this situation.
Thank you Catherine, all so very true. Last Friday, March 31st, the day you wrote this, was Transgender Day of Visibility, and I was attending a conference about transgender people, with hundreds of trans women and trans men. All you have said was very much on the hearts of all the attendees. Trans people are as common as redheads and left handed people, trans people have always existed, it is not a new fad as the gender critical folks would have you believe. And it was NEVER a choice! We were all born this way. If somebody doesn’t believe that, questions our morality and sanity, then I question why they’re being hate filled bigots and transphobic.
Very well put Catherine. I too am the same person but have been blessed with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues who see that this is the same person they have always known. A couple are uncomfortable with it but have not shown any hate or bad intention towards me needing time to adjust. I have only been rejected by one who just couldn’t face the real me but will still keep contact as their preference was the old vision. I don’t demand acceptance only respect for my decision and to carry on my life, which has been the case.
Despite all the negative press and media I can still feel safe going about my daily life. I would never say that there will be issues as there are still those that cannot accept us but it is so rare as to be something I need not worry. However there are things going on that does catch my attention.
Transgender has been assimilated in a list of many genders, blamed by proxy for those who may have used the term as a convenience, avoid justice, denigrate women and the term woman, to prey on women and a host of untruths that seem to suggest we should be second class citizens, segregated and discriminated against, which is supposed to be against the values of the modern world of human rights, but if you listened to some rhetoric it is frightening should the protagonists get their way.
So far it has not had an effect on my life, the people I know and those I meet on a daily basis who accept me will no doubt accept other transgender in the same way. We are singularly Transgender with only one agenda, to live as a woman.
What a beautiful piece. I wish I was with you to give you a deep hug. Misunderstanding by others is an awful cross. We are good, and loving, and special, and faithful friends, no matter what we wear. Out culture has warped the thinking of so many. Thank you for writing, my dear, sweet girl. My eyes are wet with tears asi read your powerful words. Be well, and be happy! Big hugs, Stephie
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