I struggled to breathe as I read AJ Ripley’s weekly blog post this week, because I too want that lightness. I want the lightness of not having to agonise over which gender I look like in this particular outfit today; the lightness of not having to constantly FEEL transgender every time I step out of the house.
Which is why I don’t go out of the house much these days. Those angst-filled nanoseconds of ‘how is this person going to read me and how do I then reciprocate based on that reading?’, re-enacted with everyone who comes into my space, 20-40 times in the space of a 15-minute shopping trip.
At the gym I can own my unbound breasts (they’re just too big) because I’m stronger now and I don’t feel like I have to justify why I’m there. And with my headphones on I don’t have to interact with people, don’t have to be verbally gendered by them in a greeting, so my gender is not an (well, less of an) issue.
Going out socially with friends is heavy because to them I’m Germaine, while to the people around us I’m a guy, and the “I’m sorry, this is awkward, you now have to re-navigate your relationship to me because of my gender, because I’m now read as a guy; I’m sorry I’m transgender; I’m sorry I’m changing; I’m sorry this is awkward” is just too heavy. The fact that, for while at least, I’m not just Germaine anymore, but trans Germaine, is heavy.
I long for the lightness of just being; just being me, without having to agonise over how I’m perceived. But of course the truth is, as a non-binary trans person where ‘male’ is not the destination, learning how to re-navigate the world as that ‘that person from Mars’, the ‘opposite sex’, and for some, ‘the enemy’, that sense of lightness is a ways off, and will be hard fought.