Since I started wearing skirts in public, I have become a connoisseur of strange looks from straight people. Here are my favorites.
The Silent Walleye
The “I’m Not Staring”
The “I’m Confused”
The Eager Ally
The Abrupt Silence
The Nervous Smile
I wear it around my waist. It billows around my legs. It is my skirt, and it is fantastic.
I need to get more skirts, more leggings. I want to wear them every goddamn day. Not because I look amazing in them, although when I wear them sometimes I catch a glimpse of a life that might have been out of the corner of my eye, but because they’re a goddamn statement.
Yes, I am an exotic superqueer doublefag (or “tranny” if you prefer to be laconic). Yes, I work here too. And if you ask, yes, my stats are better than yours. I will correct your pronoun use. I will repeat my name loudly, because I am April like the month! and I will do this as long as it takes. My hair is pulled back by my scrunchy of doom, and sometimes I’m even wearing makeup (although you wouldn’t notice because you’d expect me to look like a goddamn circus clown).
Here’s the thing about flying your colors: people notice, and they react. There are a few people here who used to speak to me a lot who don’t speak to me anymore. There are a few people who never spoke, but never noticed, who now notice, mostly to grimace in that way that says “I am deeply uncomfortable with you being here, but I’m going to pretend I’m okay.” There are people who talk to me just as much as before, either by choice or because we share a cubicle and I ain’t going nowhere.
I haven’t won any friends doing this. But I know the ones I’ve kept are good. And I feel safer, like every day I do this without incident proves there’s nothing to be scared of. Someday, I hope to not be scared to use the bathroom.
One day, we will win. Nobody will be forced to suffer through the wrong puberty, and those of us who realize too late we were on the wrong path will be given all help necessary to correct our course as soon as possible. There will be no stimga, no shame. It will be a thing of healing and celebration. We will be loved.
One day, our culture will all have a coming of age process that involves some deep thinking about what gender we are. Everyone will be encouraged to think it over and make their decision, and it will be respected. Children will not be asked to articulate the reasoning behind their choice. Nobody will be forced to choose before they are ready; and everyone will be allowed to change their mind.
One day, we will be safe. We will not live in fear of being clocked for trans. We will be assured that, even if we are visibly queer, we will be no less respected for it. Our careers will not suffer. Our families will not be considered weird, unless we want them to be and make a point of eccentricity.
We will win. The realities of today will be a horrifying warning from the past. We will win.
“Thank you for calling [large, famous corporation] Networking Support, my name is April, how may I help you today?”
“What’s your name?”
“No sir, April. Like the month.”
“Oh. Um, I can’t connect to [famous online gaming service].”
“Of course you can’t, you fucking idiot, because you have the mental agility of a chimp with Alzheimer’s.”
Okay, so maybe that last part didn’t happen.
As I promised last year (holy shit, last year!) I am celebrating Trans Unity Day again. Those of you who have your own blogs, I encourage you to write your own posts on this as well.
Last year was an amazing year for us. We made smashing progress on all fronts, and are more visible to the general population than ever. And while most people think of us as some kind of exotic super-queer double-fags, lots of cis (gay and straight) folks nod politely when we’re in the room, but wouldn’t invite us and never fuck us, and nobody wants their kids to grow up to be one of us…most people don’t want the government discriminating against us. Or employers. Or landlords.
A solid majority of Americans, including 93% of Catholics(!) and 86% of Republicans(!!) think we should have the same basic legal protections and rights as anyone else. This is stunning. Up to 75% of Americans support workplace discrimination protections, and large majorities can give essentially accurate descriptions of what the word transgender means.
This is better news than I could have ever believed was possible. It means that we’re winning. It means that people are making the jump, realizing that we’re human, just like them. It means that we have to keep fighting, because we need to solidify our gains before the backlash starts.
So today I urge you all to re-dedicate yourselves to the cause of gender equity in all forms. Male, female, other, nongendered; cis, trans, gay, straight. None of us are free from gender stigma until all of our gender configurations are considered legitimate and of equal worth to anyone else’s.
Separatism is not the way. Division holds us back. We’re all worthwhile. Last year I wrote about how transsexual separatists undermine the cause for equality. I’d like to this to grow beyond that spat, and make this a day for all people to celebrate their gender, find joy in who they are, and reaffirm their commitment to justice in all forms. We embrace each other and celebrate our diversity and our unity, and we will make a world safe for the kids who come behind us.
I’ll be writing about this next year, and every year. We will win.
I don’t need them. I don’t want them. If you call yourself an ally, good for you. Gold star. Please fuck off.
What I need are friends, and I have those. I’m always willing to make more. But I choose them. They do not appoint themselves. When I see people call themselves allies, I shrink away. Only recently have I been able to put my finger on why.
It’s fucking demeaning to have a stranger walk up and declare themselves your ally. Even in the best of intentions, it hurts. It presumes that I can’t find my own people to watch my back, that I need self-proclamed allies to help me. It erases my chioce to have, or not have, a relationship with you, because you have declared the shape our relationship from the outset, without negotiations, on the basis of me being queer alone.
And I fucking hate you for it.
Don’t be an ally. Be a friend. I know, I know, being a friend is harder; you have to see me as a person. Or maybe we don’t click. Maybe you can’t stand me. That’s fine. Sometimes people don’t work together. You don’t have to be a Friend to All Trannies. What you can do instead is just try not to be an asshole. Vote for our rights when they’re on the chopping block. And for fuck’s sake, don’t out us to your friends to show how open minded you are for hanging out with trans people.
Just…just don’t be a shithead. Seriously. That’s all I want. That’s all I need.