My dear friends,
Today I came out to you as trans*, and I watched your faces shift. You have been good friends to me, these past few months, but always, you have been friends with a person you thought to be wholly female, and have treated me as such. In efforts that I’m not sure were in any way intentional or planned, you ignored or brushed aside the hints I dropped about my own gender and gender as I see it in general. My words of discontent towards my breasts, my knowledge and unblinking acceptance of the existence of trans* issues on the topic of a trans acquaintance of yours, my hatred of skirts, the short hair, the domineering attitude which flared with my own gender shifts. All of these were puzzle pieces you ignored, or simply refused to see as parts of a puzzle.
And then I saw the doubt cross your eyes, though I gave no sign of it, and knew you meant to conceal it. ~She’s not she? But, she said she’s not completely he! What does that even mean? Does this mean we have to stop talking to her about periods? Is she on hormones? How do we treat her now? Do we call her, him?~
I understand, my friends, that you can’t know my journey, because it’s a journey I’ve had to take alone. And really, how could I expect you to accompany me? You are cisgendered, if not confident in your body, than at least trusting it to tell the truth, to you and others. You accept the periods, the breasts and hips, you shave your legs because it feels nice, I believe, to women, to have clean shaven legs. (I assume, because I am not a woman, and I haven’t shaved in five months, because I threw my razors away on a night when I wanted to cut skin instead of hair.) Still, a companion, or someone to mention the way my binder makes my breasts ache even more than the PMS, would not have gone amiss.
You will treat me differently, after this, even though I have not changed at all. I am the person you met, and believe it or not, I thrilled inside when I heard of your trans acquaintance. Brother, I thought! These people, they will not be surprised that I exist, should I tell them! Nonetheless, you will check your words. You will think you treat me the same, and that your treatment shows how little difference my identity makes in the measure of my personhood. But we will all know.
I will know, when you go to make a comment about what girls do or think, and pause and rephrase it to exclude me out of respect for my gender. I will wave it away, say that it’s fine, it doesn’t matter, everyone calls me a girl. It will still ache that you have to carve a special place for me in your view of society, because there is no pre-prepared place for me to fit.
You will know, when I reach under my shirt at my shoulder, that it’s my binder instead of a bra I’m adjusting, even though you’d not even have noticed the gesture before. You’ll notice me stretching my back and neck to pop them, and know that it’s the strain of elastic and nylon on my bones that causes my discomfort.
I don’t fit in your box-lunch world of straight Catholic girls and boys. I’m rough edges where there should be round ones, curves instead of angles, in all the wrong places in your mind. We will drift apart, because the inherent safety of my girlhood to you will be gone from your mind. If I’m lucky, you will at least see me as a man instead of some freaky, unpredictable creature who may or may not suddenly want to rape you. And because of societal ignorance, at some point, you’ll wonder how I got a penis, or how they’ll attach one when I, you assume, someday undergo the singular sex-change operation.
My friends, I do not blame you. I will not hold this against you. In fact, in all honesty, you will probably never see this. The ache in my chest that has nothing to do with breasts will sharpen and grow claws, and you will never know. I will feel somewhat freer for having told you, and somehow more confined, in my expression of myself and others. I’ll question if I even should have told you at all.
We will lose touch, and I will let it happen, and so will you. You all will tuck my memory in the back of your minds, bury it in the detritus and gummy lining of your minds. You’ll move on to husbands, children, houses, mortgages, and leave behind the person who left you first.
One day, there will be no one left to talk to, and I’ll be alone in a hovel or apartment, staring at a wall, dreams crushed. I won’t have a spouse, and I won’t have children. I will have myself, and that’s it. I pray, I pray to dear God and all the angels, that when I stop running, the person I am is enough.