Today I started to work through something I have been feeling for a while: When cisgender men approach me on the street I can’t tell if they want to kiss me, punch me, or be me.
The reactions of these men are varied, but what links them is a shared sense of recognition: they *know* me.
They may not have the words for me, they may not have the frameworks to understand me, but at some deep and intimate level they *know* me.
They know me the same way they still remember the feminine parts of themselves that they had to suppress and maybe even to destroy in order to get by. They know me the way they recall different life paths, different choices, different possibilities, that they could not and would not explore. Words like “prejudice,” and “transphobia,” and “discrimination,” don’t capture this because it’s less about a disdain for “me” as it is about a rejection of some part of themselves.
When I started to present as I do what I began to feel was a sense of being minoritized — of being regarded as “exceptional” and “different" as if there were only a few of us in the world.
But here’s the thing: I think the reason we don’t see many gender non-conforming people out there is not because we are a “minority,” but because (trans)misogny in this world is so real and so violent that people have to disappear themselves, have to make impossible choices to prioritize safety over authenticity, are recruited by the stability afforded to masculinity.
I don’t know if trans people are minorities because i don’t know what a world would look like where we could present without fear of violence. I'm not sure trans people are minorities because almost every system was set up to enforce the gender binary and people are not given space, permission, and encouragement to question, probe, try. Who knows what we would all look like, how we would all desire, how we would we relate and emote in a world without the gender binary?
support the author