Being transgendered is like being blessed with the most wonderful gift in the entire world, yet simultaneously condemned by an incredible curse.
It’s a blessing because transgendered men and women see the world from a perspective which no one else can. It’s a curse because to be who we know we are, we’re forced to subject ourselves to the cruelest forms of hypocrisy, persecution and prejudice, and face the distinct possibility that we will become victims of the most insidious hate crimes anyone could possibly imagine.
We risk losing our families, friends and jobs, and we even face the possibility of attempting suicide due to an inability to deal with the sheer loneliness we endure as each day dawns.
In 2016, The National Transgender Descrimination Survey (NTDS) was produced, and it indicated that 41% of 6,415 transgendered individuals said they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
Citation: Tanis J. (2016). The power of 41%: A glimpse into the life of a statistic. The American journal of orthopsychiatry, 86(4), 373–377. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000200
In this day and age, in a country which considers itself civilized, this could be considered a sheer travesty. What else can we expect, though, from people who have been taught that anything outside the expected norm is unacceptable?
Many years ago, I often said, “Sit with me, speak with me and get to know who I am. You’ll find that you like who I am, and we will all have made a new friend in the process.”
Those people who took the time to get to know me discovered the kindness of my heart and soul, and just how much I love being who I am. It’s this side of my entire persona that makes me who I am, and if I ever were to lose it, I would face a terrifying demise worse than death itself.
To understand why this is so essential to my own personal well-being, I submit this poem I wrote long ago to paint a vivid portrait for you.
“Reflection In The Mirror”
The mirror casts an eerie reflection upon my troubled brow, an ominous shadow as I cross it’s path, beckoning me, halt, behold the Demon of your torment, raise thine eyes unto its own, that it may bleed thy life away further still, feasting upon the innermost recesses of your heart and soul.
Body trembling, my eyes slowly ascend, fixating themselves upon the ghastly reflection that follows me to and fro, relentless in pursuit, Its bone ridden, clawed hands, feverishly grasping yet another dagger, awaiting a brief moment of inattention, that it may once again lunge forward and carve yet another piece from my heart, my soul, and devour it before my very eyes.
Those eyes, those cold, inhuman, heartless eyes; so dark, empty of feeling, totally void of emotion, glaring at me while that hideous, evil, gargled laugh mocks me to no end, filling my soul with an ominous feeling of dread and doom.
Why won’t you leave me alone?
Why must you always fade away, teasing me with a few brief moments of peace, while you lurk in the darkness of the shadows, only to pounce on me once again?
Tears, oh, the tears rake over my cheeks, a torrential flood of emotion I’m helpless to detain any longer.
For the pain, the excruciating, unbearable pain is once again inflicted upon me, sheer terror as I clutch my chest just as the dagger is extracted with yet another piece of my heart.
And as my head slowly raises, I gasp one final cry, for my nemesis has struck once more, from a Reflection in the mirror………
© Nichole Letitia, September 23, 1997
I cry profusely every time I read this poem, because the character I portray in the mirror every day isn’t me, but rather a Demon who holds me captive, imprisoned within his outer shell.
In the time since I wrote this poem, I’ve realized that the gentleness, kindness, and sheer beauty of my spirit has given me the strength I need each day to look beyond the image I see, and replace it with the real me. Looking at the few photos I have of my true self brings a smile to my face and spirit, and this is where I need to direct my concentration every day of my life.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? How do you handle the emotional distress that results when the reflection doesn’t match how you feel inside? I would really like to know.
All of my love to you and yours….