I always remark that I am never sure about how I’m read in the world. It’s something that I never rid myself of, wondering. Wondering how I’m being perceived , am I being spooked, what will I deal with as a result or not of being known. It’s such an enormous load of rubbish at the end of the day. It’s built on the backs of tons of residuals superficial markers bound to be interpreted in millions of different ways by millions of pairs of eyes and experiences. In short, passing and being read or spooked is very individual experience baked into a collective psyche. That said there are moments and with people that I have been acutely aware of not being read as trans. And it has been fascinating to be aware of that fact. When someone doesn’t know and you don’t have to wear that ready made armor of needing to defend or explain your womanhood and your adjoining personhood. It’s when you’re around a bunch of straight men laughing and talking shit totally non p.c. and the moments when you’re around some cis woman and she’s giving you the t as if ya’ ll on the same cycle. It’s in experiences when the person who isn’t trans is themselves not on guard and not monitoring all of their language, when they let you glimpse the realness of who they are. In contrast ,when it’s established that you’re trans I find people much more watchful, much more conscious of language, topic and level of relating with you. I find less of an inquiry into you as a person and they ask less questions because you become that weirdo that they have to watch out for. Those straight men won’t laugh and talk shit with you and that cis woman or women won’t kick it with you like any other woman. Any trans person who has any level of privilege , who has been stealth , who knows what it’s like when it doesn’t come up can relate. You’re acutely aware that the way you’re treated would be different if all your cards were on the table.
The thing I’ve realized about this privilege is that eventually it hurts. On one hand you love not fielding your gender all day , not needing to be actively aware of your variance but on the other you realize that whole life experiences and norms and feelings and truths aren’t allowed the time or space to be out in the world. People never really get to know you all the way. You lose the ability to speak and exist without a gnawing anxiety that it’s all gon go to shit and any feeble attempts made to just be an individual will get lost. I can imagine that I paint such a shit view of cis Hets in relation to trans people. But I’m just being real. For most people, a nice neat alignment is the only thing their brain is able to handle. When that alignment ceases to be or is no longer as nice as once thought, disbelief and a feeling of betrayal arises. I had a homegirl who once said she doesn’t tell men off the rip that she is trans. That she wants them to get to know her, that she is more than being trans. And I understand because I want the same thing. And I understand cause I too have let myself have those ciswoman experiences without disclosure. But what I know and what she knew but wouldn’t acknowledge was how rough that road is. How hard it is to keep yourself hidden and how futile an effort it is cause if he’s only able to see woman as one thing , then what chance in hell do you think you’ll have if you’re different? I write as a hypocrite and an offender but it sure is good to touch those cis privilege experiences sometimes.