I’ve had it in my head for a little while now to write about this. I’ve hesitated because I don’t want it to sound accusatory or generalizing. Every situation and every person is unique. What I’ve found though is that sometimes things need to be put out there cause they happened. And when they happened to you, it exists as the why and how you move about the world. In this case, my Mary incident sets up my relationship with cis women.
One day when I was about 8, I was playing with some new kids who happened to be on my block. There were two boys whose names I’ve forgotten and a girl named Mary. We probably played a mixture of tag and hide n go seek . I remember having fun . I remember me and Mary spending more time with each other than with the two boys. And sometime over the course of the afternoon ,all of us kids got together probably tired of running. And Mary told one of the boys I had said I wanted to kiss him. I denied it because of course I had said no such thing. I denied it with tears in my eyes and pleas in my voice . The boy , future thug in training asked if it was true. Asked if I was a faggot. And then in my copping pleas and not wanting to fight but also not wanting people in the building to hear those accusations caught a hard punch to my face. Our fun playful afternoon had come to an end. I remember Mary laughing, I remember the boys walking off and I remember hating all of them including myself for not standing up for myself. There’s so much about this incident that as I write makes me cringe a bit not only for all of us as kids but the community and the norms in which we grew up under. Kids under 10 in the hood were already trained to weed out gender and sexual deviation. They were already conditioned to hate and reward the violators with violence if need be. It says a lot about the people who raised us and I say us cause I too was given those same lessons. Gay was wrong and needed to be beat outta them was common dogma when I was growing up. If you were gay you were seen as literally asking for an ass whupping. There was no permission for gay kids to just be kids. Instead we were made into predators. It’s so funny when people protest LGBT anything they always , ALWAYS make it a point to mention the kids. Their so called concern and wanting /needing to shield their kids from our “lifestyle”. And little do they acknowledge, how kids have already absorbed and analyzed culture’s dominant perceptions on sexuality, gender and norms. And how kids themselves as representatives of their oh so concerned parents do enough gatekeeping on their own.
A hallmark of my Mary episode was that it made me look at cis girls by and large as fair weather type of friends. It made me much more guarded around cis girls and made me understand that instead of being able to let all of me be seen ,I had to not share those parts for fear of being attacked. The overwhelming majority of my friends growing up were cis Black girls from my immediate area. My very best friend was a cis straight black girl. But still and all I continued to on some levels retain a very fundamental belief that our friendship is to a point. And I feel like as a transwoman, I am never really accepted by cis women en masse. My invite to the women’s event will always be up for debate. Cis women have their own levels of homophobia and transphobia that doesn’t get as much traction as those offenses committed by cis men. I think perhaps it has to do with lesser physical violence but I look at both as equal opportunity offenders. I can’t count how many times I’ve been out and about and pass a group and there’s always some loud ass cis woman who has to yell out ” that’s a man”. As if she’s seen a rodent she must call out. Many times it’s a group of guys nearby as well and I have to wonder if Im’a have a Mary moment.
I can imagine there will be people who say shit like not judging folks on the actions of one as a child, people who will provide their own disclaimer as an ally and the overwhelming majority who don’t give a fuck because we’ve all experienced trauma as kids. But Mary sticks to me as a reminder to never think I can blindly seek solace or understanding in that womanhood umbrella. Its’ keepers can and will use me against me. In some pit, in her mind she will always see me as a man. It makes all of our interactions shrouded in a superficiality at best, at worst, a kind indifference.