“Maybe I should have said something, but at that moment, just getting out of there unnoticed and safely seemed most important…”
Being openly transgender in this current political climate is not only difficult, but dangerous. For many, it’s a daily battle. From grappling with a new identity to gaining social acceptance and navigating dating and relationships; the struggle, whilst often invisible to cisgender folk, is oh-so-real.
Here, 13 transgender people share some of the hurdles they’ve had to face, simply as a result of their gender identity. Their moving accounts, as shared on Reddit, highlight the very real need for greater public tolerance and understanding.
1. Feeling unsafe in public
I was at a gas station and there was a guy ahead of me, who appeared to be friends with the cashier, and they were talking about “those transgenderds”.
They said a lot of things in a not very jokey way, about how all of them should be put in institutions, and not be allowed to be in public, that they shouldn’t have to look at them, and finally that they can’t wait for the furnaces to get fired up (a joke obviously but there’s always truth behind it when people say things like this).
Maybe I should have said something, but at that moment, just getting out of there unnoticed and safely seemed most important.
2. Family conflict
When I told my grandmother I was trans, she had an absolute fit and told me I wasn’t her granddaughter anymore. She started ranting and yelling about how I was doomed to burn in hell. She ended up throwing a plate at me. I still have scars on my cheek from where the shards cut me.
3. Being intimate
I’m told that, when I put on a wig, the makeup, padded bra, the boots with the heels, the top with the belt, and so on, that I look pretty.
I’m only a few months into hormones. I’m terrified of someone unwrapping this package only to be disappointed with what’s underneath. I’m straight up honest about being trans with potential romantic interests, but I stop things short because of my massive body insecurity. If things get hot and heavy, a wig will not save you and that bra is going to come off. Let’s not even think about “the morning after”.
If I let myself be vulnerable enough to be intimate with someone, I’m basically putting myself at their mercy. A well-crafted insult could destroy my fragile psyche. A rejection at that stage would be very unhealthy for me.
4. Legal discrimination
While attempting to apply for a legal name and gender change the county clerk refused to accept my paperwork. All of my papers, doctors letters and necessary paperwork were properly filled out and approved by my lawyer. They wouldn’t take my paperwork until I finally got the transgender law center involved and threatened to sue them.
5. Male public toilets
Once I had a rather drunk older man go on a full-blown rant when I tried to use the men’s toilets. He started going off about how it’s for real men not “in-betweens” and told me I should “get back in the womens where I belong” (even though I’d probably get a similar response there).
6. Female public toilets
I was too terrified of the boys’ bathroom to even try, but when I attempted to walk into the girls’ room I was met with glares from every girl inside. One started to shout at me, saying things like “I thought you were a boy? What the fuck are you doing in here you dyke bitch?” and started shoving me while the other girls egged her on. After a particularly hard shove, my head bounced off the concrete wall behind me. I was in so much pain and distress I called my mom to come to get me.
7. Finding a Job
I am applying for jobs using my chosen name and, when I get to the interview, end up being misgendered quite a bit. Despite this, the interviews have gone very well until I let them know that I’m transitioning and, if they choose to hire me, my legal name is different than what I am applying under. I am highly qualified for the positions I am applying for and have had great interviews, but nothing sticks and I know, in my gut, it is because of my transition.
8. Accepting your new name
I’m struggling with still deadnaming myself and seeing myself as masculine. I’ve picked out a name that I really like and am excited about but I still feel like I haven’t “earned it” yet, I guess. I still present completely masculine and I’m just having a hard time reconciling what I see in the mirror with what I feel like and it’s really hard to convince myself to go ahead and adopt the new name and pronouns despite presenting masculine.
9. Drug Side Effects
On estrogen, my hair went from thick, robust and hydrated to string-like, light in weight and a spiderweb consistency. People would ask me “What the hell happened to you?” or tell me “You look like shit”. I looked extremely dehydrated, gaunt with a severe sunken in face. Especially my eyes and under my cheekbones, giving me a false drug junky appearance. It really sucks because it took away from the feminization effects I had gotten.
10. Staying calm when your old self comes back
Today I was in a meeting and I lost myself. I had to run out of work and go home cause the pain was too much to take. I didn’t feel my true self at all and basically went to remission that I’ll never be who I am inside. It was like a nightmare.
11. Finding your voice
I just sat in a work call with my microphone muted because I was too afraid to talk in my feminine voice. I was also worried that if I used my male voice she would think I lied to her or be forced to out myself.
I just said that I was really self-conscious about my voice and communicated by typing. I was mad at myself because it was a chance for some people to only ever know me as a girl.
12. Workplace Discrimination
I told my boss that I am transgender, and I always worry that people at work may have an issue with that. He interrupted and yelled, “Why are you telling me this!? What makes you think I want to know that!?”
He basically acted like I was going into detail about my genitals or something. I was as calm as could be, told him that I wasn’t trying to accuse anyone of anything, but rather that I have insecurities that make me struggle in the workplace. Mind you, he has run a background check on me, so I figured he had seen my former legal name.
My boss said, at one point, that it’s my own problem that I’m transgender (he kept calling it transvestite and transsexual) and that it isn’t something I should be sharing at work. A lot of the time, he would start a statement with, “Now, don’t get me wrong – I am surprised…” – and then he would say something completely inappropriate.
I’m on OkCupid and it’s not what I thought it would be. I get that dating in general blows but I didn’t think it’d be this bad. There’s barely any trans people in my area, the men are just old and perverted or chasers (someone who view trans people as something exotic and a way to live out a fetish) and there just seems to be an overall skanky/psychotic vibe with everyone.
Quotes via Reddit. Quotes have been edited for length and clarity. Image via tumblr.
Tahlia is a hopeless romantic and Tinder success story. She is a good vegetarian and a bad bike rider. Follow Tahlia on Instagram.