In 2007, I posted The Impossible Human, where I discussed a bit how transpeople continually are forced to assert the reality of their existence – to assert that they themselves actually are people.
…to be called unreal and to have that call, as it were, institutionalized as a form of differential treatment, is to become the other against whom (or against which) the human is made. It is the inhuman, the beyond the human, the less than human, the border that secures the human in its ostensible reality.
The people with whom I interact all tend to treat me well. It’s not because I ‘pass’ as a woman – or because I pass as a ‘man’. I currently dress in a somewhat androgynous manner: knit tops and sweaters, some makeup, earrings and other jewelry… At work everyone knows me by my ‘boy’ name so there is no deception at play here. But what I have managed to do (both at my previous and current jobs) is demonstrate to people that I am in fact a ‘normal’ person.
When I first began to deal with being trans, I put forth the idea that I was just like everyone else: I go to work, pay my mortgage, provide for my family – pretty much what everyone else does. I was told (by a friend to whom I owe much for helping me out) that I was not like everyone else, and that I need to understand and accept that. She was (is) right and I needed to hear that in order to focus on working through my issues. The problem here is that by internalizing this idea that we are somehow apart from everyone else, we reinforce the idea expressed in Judith Butler’s quote above: we enable the ‘differential treatment’.
When I talk to people, being trans is usually the last thing to be discussed – if at all. I talk about my daughters – or my work – or my other interests. At work I am a techie and easily hold my own amongst what is a predominantly male peer group. With my female friends there (to some of whom I have come out) conversations that might seem odd for a ‘guy’ to have are matter of fact now. Yes, they can be stereotyped as ‘girl talk’, but they accept that this is who I am and it’s just a part of the natural flow now.
The point is that by engaging people and not calling attention to being trans (because its not like they cannot see it) it has become something secondary. I have demonstrated that the line separating me from them is all but nonexistent – to the point where we have more in common than there are differences between us.
I have come to see being trans not as defining who I am, but as being only one aspect of who I am. Far from ‘impossible’, I am very much ‘possible’ – and dare I say, quite real as well.