IS THERE A SECRET QUEER HANDSHAKE I DON'T KNOW ABOUT?
I’ve been perseverating pretty hard on something since getting back from the Bahamas Royal Bahamian last week. (I can’t even believe it was just last week!)
I can’t get it out of my head. Out of my heart.
The Bahamas is the first place I’ve been in a long time for more than a few hours at a time where I wasn’t visibly out as trans.
Yes, I was shirtless with top surgery scars, but as I said in my instagram post last week, I was really the only person concerned with those it seemed. Instead I was just this guy, who had some sort of accident or surgery or something. Maybe a guy who got the very shitty luck of breast cancer who knows.
But literally in a conversation with this amazing awesome Lesbian couple who was there on their honeymoon, they told me, “Oh I don’t know why, we just didn’t put two and two together, I didn’t know you were trans”
This blew my mind.
Sure I knew that when I was fully clothed and out for dinner that people didn’t necessarily clock me as trans but I never imagined that when I was mostly naked, even amongst others in the LGBTQ+ community that they wouldn’t see what I thought was my tell tale sign of top surgery scars and lack of nipples as a giant billboard of my Transgender Identity.
And then something happened that I never expected. I was filled with sadness.
My whole life I just wanted to fit in.
I wanted to be like every other guy.
Many parts of me still do. Mostly the part of me without a penis.
But now there is this other part of me too.
There is a a part of me who is proud of who I am.
The part that’s proud to be Transgender. The part who is grateful to have birthed my babies and know what is like to be socialized as female, and be kept small by the patriarchy. And that part of me, it keeps getting bigger and louder and bolder and surprising even me.
It’s quite the shift for me. This running around telling everyone I’m trans, and hoping they notice my scars rather than hoping they don’t.
When I started this journey I sat teary eyed with my therapist and my wife and I said “But I don’t want to be an advocate! I don’t want to have to be. I just want to be a guy who loves his kids, and his wife and just get’s to be a person.”
I didn’t want the rainbow stickers or to wear a pronoun pin.
I wanted to blend in.
Until blending in took away so many of my life’s most important experiences.
Now I look for ways to be seen, and to be heard, because I am brave enough to stand out, and maybe if I keep being brave, it will be safer, and easier for all of us to stand out. Maybe we won’t have that desire just to be like everyone else and just fit in, because transgender people will be just as mainstream as your friendly neighbourhood red head.
Until then I’m wondering is there a “Hi, I’m trans wanna be friends” secret handshake out there that I don’t know about?
P.S. Fun fact currently there are approximately the same number of red heads in the population as there are transgender people. Realistically because there are so many of us who are not safely out, we probably outnumber the beautiful gingers two to one. But research is flawed because you have to be out, and have access to the census’