Do I ever feel like I’m “not trans enough”?Posted: August 17, 2015 Filed under: coming out | Tags: androgyny, coming out, gender, gender identity, genderqueer, lgbtq, non-binary, queer, society, trans, transgender, transition, work 5 Comments
In some specific ways, and not at all in other ways. No one has ever told me that I’m not trans enough, but if they did, that just wouldn’t resonate at all. No one should be policing others’ lived experiences in any way. Being trans doesn’t mean you have to fulfill A, B, and C. If you identify as trans, you get to identify as trans!
The first time I really seriously considered that I was trans was in January of 2002. I went to an event at my college, and wrote in my journal afterward,
“Tonight I went to a presentation on transgender rights, mainly because I barely know what transgender means let alone the politics of the subject.
This would be the entry where I write about how I liked being called Tough Guy by drunk people, and how I liked it when this drunk guy mumbled that I look like a boy.
I guess … I am trans.
Apparently, transgender is much broader than I thought, and there are many cases of discrimination that I was not aware of. I’d like to learn more about this.”
After that, I never really looked back, re-evaluated my identity, or hesitated to call myself trans. Even when some friends around me started to shift from identifying as “genderqueer,” to identifying as “FTM” and started transitioning. Even when I was the only one in this support group who was not actively transitioning or planning to ASAP. Even when I attended a social group called “Guys’ Night Out” despite not being sure I was “one of the guys.” They were all trans, and I also was (am) trans.
I’ve gone to a handful of local trans-related events, some political, some social, and some creative. I haven’t walked away feeling an affinity with the people in the space, but that really has nothing to do with gender identity. My inability to connect with other trans people in real life is not because I’m not trans enough. It’s because I’m not social enough. I wish I could connect more, but I’m not pushing myself right now.
I am very secure in my transhood.
However, when you throw societal views into the mix, it gets tricky (sticky, icky). The biggest example of this for me is work. If I were trans enough, I would be out at work, and I would transition. It would be difficult, but it’d be relatively straightforward. Since I’m in this in-between land (which I strongly feel is where I fit), I’m in this limbo at work (and out in public as well). I have come out to the principal of my school (workplace), but have made no further efforts. Because I do not feel trans enough to ask for changes.
I just feel like typing that again – I do not feel trans enough to ask for changes, at work or in public. No one at work uses my preferred name or pronouns. I haven’t asked them to. My friends and community are behind me 100% – everyone has been amazing with my recent social name change. Family is trickier, but they all do know. What do I do about work though? Maybe I wait till I have legally changed my name. Maybe I talk further with the principal to figure out a plan. I do feel she would support me. As of now, I’m doing nothing, indefinitely…
Every day at work, I talk in a relatively high pitch (for me). Then I get in my car and talk to myself or sing in my (newer) lower register. Why don’t I talk that way at work? I can’t really answer that.
Not everyone is as supportive or knowledgeable as my friends and community. I went to a meeting recently, and we all went around and introduced ourselves. I included my preferred pronouns in my introduction. The person across from me scoffed. I felt not trans enough. Not trans enough for mainstream society, at this time.
I wonder will this change in my lifetime? And if not really, can I at least contribute in some really small ways to small changes around me? Can I at least get everyone in all the bubbles I occupy (this means work and out and about in public) on board? I think that I can, but it’s going to take me a lot longer than I’d like.
Augh. I definitely feel like work is a “final frontier” of sorts for outness. It’s really, really tricky to decide whether it’s safe. I’m lucky enough to live somewhere that it’s technically illegal to discriminate against trans people, but I’m also in a fairly unstable work situation (contract-to-contract) and will likely continue to be for at least a few years, so I doubt I will be asking proplr to use the right pronouns at work any time soon
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking your time, but also I totally understand the internal tension of kind of wanting to get it over with so it’s not still an item on the to-do list hanging over your head.
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I think that you capture some of the complexities and ambiguities of trans-ness here.
There is a sense in a which a person cannot be “trans enough” without adopting stereotypes of gender … but of course, for many of us, being trans is at least partly about breaking free of these stereotypes.
For myself, I am a feminist first. If I am not trans enough, then that is too bad.
Other people do not decide who you are. It is an easy thing to say, but when confronted by the task of sticking up for yourself, or of a scoffer, it is more complicated.
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You just described me about two years ago…. I didn’t want to ask for changes because I didn’t feel I warranted them enough, I didn’t deserve to ask.
Part of the solution (for me) was accepting that the world was going to see me as masculine / male / ftm / cis man, and that it was ok, it was more than enough, and it was much better than what I was living already, even if it wasn’t the whole truth.
I think for me, the world doesn’t quite see me as male / ftm / cis man, and that’s where it feels tricky. I think I’m heading in that direction, if I can tip that scale just barely…