Coming out as trans practically guarantees one a loss of status as a viable person and therefore a loss of respect as a person. We become something ‘unreal’ or ‘impossible’ – we have every aspect of our being called into question – we become ‘incompetent’, no longer able to do tasks or make decisions we always have in the past. We now have to continually prove our worthiness to be called ‘human’ – and even when, in fact, we do manage to make our case, our status as such is called into question and respect still denied.
Is there any acceptable situation wherein a transwoman should be addressed as ‘Mr.’? I can think of none, but that doesn’t stop the people who deny her reality from doing so. Is there a reason that as transpeople, we should be treated as less of a person by our partners now than before? Does our partner’s anger give them the right to do this? Should I have to ‘make a case’ for how I see myself? Should I have to successfully ‘sell transness’ every time I want respect as a person?
Should any of us have to give up being human because we are trans?
I don’t think so – but all too often this is just what happens. And when it happens with our partners, it becomes all the more acute.
I think that part of the reason all of this becomes so contentious is because it is turned into something we are doing to our partners – as if we had been plotting this all along. We are not the enemy. There is no conspiracy here. The reality is that this something which happens to both parties – and neither has an easy time of things. Invariably though, our partners often seem to utter those words: “Why are you doing this to me?” – not understanding what it is we are ‘doing’ to ourselves as well.
Were we to be ‘sick’, there likely wouldn’t be a protracted discussion as to whether we were really sick, or if could we hold off on getting treatment – or perhaps to simply ‘live with it’ as if we weren’t sick at all. In all likelihood, The response would be, “We need to take care of this, now.” But being trans… It just doesn’t register as something real. And instead of “Let’s take care of this”, it becomes “I can’t believe you would do this…” Why is the seriousness of this discounted? Why do we now have to prove / justify this? Where is the respect when we say, in essence, “Please help us” and the answer is, largely, “No.”
How are we to respond to this? How are we to scale the wall now placed in front of us? And how can we be expected to be ‘sympathetic’ to the very real difficulties are partners now face when that same consideration is withheld from us?
This isn’t a blanket statement because there are partners – my wife being one of them – who have been willing to make this work. My wife and I both acknowledge that this is not something easy and that each has good days and bad days with respect to this. It’s not easy, but we keep working with it. I am respected by her and she by me.
But for many others, ‘second class’ would be a step up – and that saddens me greatly.
We are still people – is asking to be treated as such so wrong?