It is dangerous to be a transgender woman. Always. That thought has found a way to haunt me everyday of my life. It comes to me at the oddest of times in between thoughts of what to eat for dinner and what show to binge next on Netflix. Women like me make a sort of uneasy peace, an acceptance of bad shit can and will happen to you because of who you are. And your identity , your life , your essence is the cause and the outcome of whatever fucked up thing should happen to you.
But in the meantime, I try my best to still try to live. To persist as I dwell on all that is unknown. My therapist would tell me I deserve to have my needs and wants met. It’s a sentiment I aspire to hold always but I confess that it’s hard to imagine a world where this is so. I’m too stuck on there seems to be a million ways to get fucked up in this world and so few where I can actually thrive. That same therapist once asked me would I ever admit to being afraid, would I ever admit to owning fears. And the Harlem kid in me dripping in bravado wants to say “Fuck outta here, I only fear God. But the reality is that fear does pervade much of my life experiences. I have seen too much and know too much about what it means to be me in this world. How I invite incessant surveillance, how by not following the scripts set for trans girls, Big , Black trans girls to be someone so bold, incessantly confident, to be my fiercest self, to move about with an intense ferocity and effortless swagger. I am supposed to be some cis woman’s loud friend who makes her laugh and who is always ready to go off on somebody. I am supposed to be approachable and apologetic. I am supposed to be talented with hair or makeup. I am supposed to be decked in labels and have a million surgeries and wear long weaves and talk in the softest voice ever, to the point of sounding like a toy. There is no space to exist depressed, anxious, anti -social, hateful, resentful, ready to beat someone’s ass, ready to be a bitch. Cause in life one is posed to strive in spite of their circumstances. One is posed to take all those hits and all those rotten lemons and make Lemon meringue. You’re never supposed to wear the weight of being afraid and being tired and being over it.
But who knows ? Maybe I’m an anomaly. Maybe I view things through a fucked up lens, maybe I don’t focus on the bright side enough. There is a tragic beauty in being a transwoman. On one hand it’s so amazing to live your t everyday. To feel pretty. To feel beautiful, to feel strong and secure in my mannerisms, my style, to not have my feminine parts perceived as false, to be a natural woman. And to take that in the world with you. But on the same time it is being acutely aware of how small of spaces you can be yourself in. It’s dealing with the validation of men who flirt and catcall, who acknowledge you as the woman you are in the world and those same men on finding out you’re not cis, insulting you, treating you like you’re the most vile thing they ever seen. In that moment you’re like less than human to them. It’s the discomfort felt in women’s spaces, lack of contribution to talks about periods and ovulating and children and men too. Our experiences with men can be similar but also vastly different in the levels of privilege cis women have. The amount of options that they have, the myriad ways they can be, the ignorance of being rejected just on the strength of what you are. It’s hard at times to not be envious. That’s something I’m not posed to admit, it’s at the heart of their frequent charge that trans women are just jealous of and want to be them.
I read about my sisters’ murders . I read articles about this jack ass politician or this state that wants to pass some law restricting trans rights to be. I read about the bathrooms and the athletes who face their struggles in striving to be apart of exploitative systems. I realized that you know all the struggles faced by many different groups. Everyone wants inclusion in systems inherently designed to be exclusive. Everyone wants to be part of the oppressors. No one wants to be oppressed. It sounds like a no brainer but I think that there is immense loss of identity when marginalized people aspire to be like those with advantages.
I’d like to stay alive a little while longer. I have so many places I want to travel to . I have so many ideas of foods I want to cook and eat. I want to see many more seasons of snow. I want to find my piece, my place, my foothold within the world. I want to live for Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and the other transwomen at Stonewall who fought so that women like me could be treated as people. I want to live for all the other ancestors of trans experience known and unknown who existed therefore validating my life and the lives all other transwomen. We aren’t disposable or trash. We do not need to apologize or explain our existences. We will fight to survive and we will keep on “tranning” our best lives. We will inspire awe and disbelief at what we manage to accomplish and create and produce and look damn good doing it.