Coming out is a funny thing. People who don’t have to come out think of it as a one and done. You come out and there it is, a whole new world with the real you. Truth is, when you are queer, you are constantly coming out. You meet new people and find new workplaces, and there it is all over again, when do I come out? How?
The past few times Transgender Day of Visibility has come around, I’ve thought about posting various versions of this post, and every year, I back away. I’m out in many of the communities I live in, but not explicitly in all.
Why do I keep pulling back? I’m tired. I’m tired of answering all those questions cis people have. I’m tired of feeling like I have to justify who I am. I’m tired of being asked to give people a reading list so they can “do their own homework” as if writing the syllabus isn’t work.
The problem is, I kept thinking about writing this for the cis audience and that’s where I got it all wrong. We don’t need visibility to earn your respect. We need visibility to tell those who are questioning that yes, there is a way to live your truth in the world. We need visibility to tell the past versions of ourselves that there is another way.
I wish that when I was growing up, there were more models of people who lived outside the gender binary. Nonbinary is a really broad umbrella term. Some find themselves there because they feel no attachment to gender at all. I choose nonbinary because I want to be free to have it all. I don’t feel trapped by my body and my assigned gender at birth, but I feel free and most myself when I can expand to encompass it all.
The patriarchy isn’t so much a fan of that. When someone they see as male steps outside those rigid confines of toxic masculinity, the backlash is quick, it is cruel, and, far too often, it is violent. Politicians on the right have demonized transgender people to further their culture war. We are being made targets when we are just trying to live our lives.
So this Transgender Day of Visibility, I ask our community to light a bit of the path for those who come after us, and I ask our cis allies to join the fight to push back on those who would deny us our rights to live our lives. Oh, and if you are exploring your gender, let’s grab a coffee and chat.