At times, the dominant narrative of what it’s like to be trans in this world seems very alien to me. Whether it is through any of the support groups that I participate in, through mainstream media, or more explicitly through the many, many online platforms where my trans sisters and brothers congregate, the dominant tone is one of lament.
There is a bit of victim narrative at play, and because I had not yet experienced anything overtly discriminatory, the experiences were alien. I have not felt physically in danger. I have not experienced overt discrimination in the workplace. I’d say that the only place, or person, who has utterly tossed me aside for my coming out is my soon-to-be-ex-wife.
The victim narrative is very unattractive. A lovely trans woman I met recently, and who I subsequently discovered is a superlative kisser, wears the victim narrative almost as a badge of honour. It is an almost militant stance. In my world, what you put out is also what comes back. And as a result, she is very often in situations, which very much make her the victim. And while I sympathise and help, I am not drawn to her in the way that she wants me to be, because somehow that victim narrative makes someone weak. And isn’t that cruel?
People are victims and then they really need help, support, etc. Is this equivalent to saying that victims asked for it? Is there a fine line? Or is it a thick line? Can the way we think about the world ultimately become a self-fulfilling prophecy? I think so. That is not to excuse the perpetrators. Not at all. If anything, they are even worse for preying upon people at a low-energy ebb.
I once lived in a very black, quite poor area of New York. I shared my apartment with one other white man and one black woman. The white man in question was very white, if you know what I mean. He got mugged several times. In the years that I lived there, I was only accosted once. It was by a gang. They surrounded me, and no doubt, I was headed for trouble, only it didn’t occur to me, and we just ended up talking, and establishing mutual respect. It was only after that I realised they had intended to jump me. But I couldn’t help but thinking that it has to do with our energy.
Recently I got a taste of an uglier reality. That taste is gradually percolating through me, and is likely to bring about some changes. For one, I will take martial arts, as I now see that being able to protect myself when walking alone is no longer something I can take for granted.
I took my children out to dinner. I have written about how wonderful, understanding, and supportive they have been since I came out to them. They have repeatedly reassured me that they are not troubled by my transition, but that the divorce is weighing on them. After dinner, I offered to walk them home, and the answer was ‘no’. The reason? They were likely to bump into friends, and they didn’t want them to know. They were concerned that they would be teased or bullied if their friends found out. In other words, they were ashamed.
And that was quite jarring for me, saddening even. They wanted to walk me, which was touching in a way, but really they just wanted to make sure I was gone. Part of me, political me, wanted to push it. The father in me could not.
There is no doubt in my mind that our energy fields have a huge influence on how the world swirls around us. My normal mode of existence is very full, powerful even, energetic projection. But on this night, I felt somewhat forlorn for the interaction.
As I walked to my car a few blocks from the restaurant, I felt something hit my boot. I was wearing lovely black high-heeled boots, black tights, a dark blue skirt, long black sweater, and black coat with fringe. It was lovely, but it was also unmistakably female clothing. And I am unmistakably at least part male. I heard some male voices behind me and figured they dropped a waffle.
I kept going and then heard and felt a waffle wizzle past me. I decided to turn and look. Two tall and fairly large off-white men, part of the vast sea of Eastern immigrants that fill Britain’s streets, where giggling, jostling each other, and munching on waffles.
I strode back to them.
“Were you throwing food at me?” As I looked at them I processed them as Balkan, Albanian, Muslim. That may be my prejudice, but I have had much contact in the region for various reasons, so would not be far off. In other words, people with reasons to be angry at society, living with repressed sexuality, and likely to be resentful of my freedom.
I repeated myself as I got right into the face of the smaller of the two. “Is one of you throwing things at me?”
A woman walked past, head down. They were almost as tall as I was. The bigger of the two said of the other, “he did, that’s why he doesn’t have any waffle anymore,” and then turned around and play-hit his friend.
“What’s your problem?” I asked. I was feeling very chippy. I contemplated head-butting one of them or breaking his nose. Gosh, vestigial male aggression?
As I stood there, the ‘smaller’ one continued to giggle nervously while the larger one kept play-hitting his friend, saying things like “how could you do that?” and “bad. Don’t do that.”
We were near the train station, but it was late, no police, otherwise I might have created more of a fuss. After a few more lame attempts to hit his friend, we parted.
It made me realise that it isn’t safe to assume that I will always be safe. People hate or aggress even when they don’t understand. Re-channelled rage.
That’s why I will take up Aikido, which fits with my more general desire to be more spiritual in all aspects of life.
Over that same weekend, I was also rejected from an AirBnB because I am trans. The owner said, “I have nothing against your gender, but my other guests will.” I haven’t reported her, as shit, life’s too short. Instead, I ended up staying with a truly magical person who is likely to become a very long-term friend. An absolute of a person. So much so that we even ended up going out together. Another story.