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Category Archives: Editorial

Another Trans Celebrity? … Crap. Well, That’s Just Great

CelebrityMy spouse, an ardent follower of celebrity gossip, forwarded me a blind item the other day. By blind I don’t mean the person mentioned was blind, but that the name of the person is currently being withheld by the person writing the story, presumably either for liability or complete fabrication reasons. Anyway, as the story goes, the lead singer from an uber-popular band with a boatload of hits in the 90’s, who is married to a super model/ actress or actress/ model, is undergoing gender transition and making a documentary of it along the way. My immediate reaction was a little sour. Great, now I’m going to be bumped down one to being the 24,753rd most influential trans person. Just fucking wonderful. My chances of getting a Wikipedia entry just became a bit more slim. So, let’s dish about trans celebrities, as I gnaw on my bitter bone of discontent.

I think none of us has failed to notice the sudden rise in individuals of full blown, or at least quasi, celebrity status undergoing gender transition. I mean, sure, it’s not exactly unheard of, what with Alexis Arquette, Calpernia Addams, and Andrea James bouncing around since the late 90’s/ early 00’s, but in spite of some amazing talent in that mix, they weren’t exactly making headlines. Then the teens hit and it’s a full blown eruption. Chaz Bono, Laura Jane Grace, Janet Mock, Lana Wachowski, and Chelsea Manning. OK, the celebrity thing is a stretch with Chelsea, but she was still a household name before she came out after the conviction. It’s a wonderful thing, right? A massive injection of trans awareness into the public sphere; bold inoculation against full blown ignorance and demographic degradation.

Here’s the thing that makes me just a tiny bit nervous. Since 1954, I don’t think one parent ever leaned over to their child looking wide eyed up at the movie screen and said, “See those people up there child? You do whatever you can to find out what they do, and dad-gum, you do the same thing.” Famous people hold our fascination almost completely for the train-wreck factor. The tabloids make billions off of the meltdowns of young starlets and crushing indiscretions. Amanda Bynes will always trump the juicy bit that Ron Pearlman likes to make his own quilts with hand ticking on Friday nights. Nobody cares about the good stuff; just those wacky zany antics. DUIs, domestic assaults, head shavings, gender transitions… I think you see my point.

Now, I’m not saying that the general public is going to suddenly think that being transgender is just another crazy trend sweeping Hollywood. I am worried, however, that people are going to get a bit of a misrepresentation. I’m sure serious practitioners of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism were not super excited when Madonna and other celebs jumped on board and made a very old, deep and rich quest for spiritual understanding look like a fashion trend. Not exactly the same thing, but you get my point. Suddenly years of focused study, prayer and meditation appear to be replaced with slapping on a red string bracelet and everyone is equal.

I’m not saying being transgender is not tremendously difficult for anyone; Hollywood, one-percenters (the rich ones, not the crank fueled hog rider ones), and others. The same crushing fear, emotional difficulties, and painful coming out process definitely applies. The problem is that the general audience doesn’t really see all that. Unlike movies where we get a nice montage set to ominous music when someone is struggling with a seemingly insurmountable issue, the real anguish is off stage and in the back somewhere. In spite of tearful Oprah interviews, the main perception is that so-and-so was a dude and now appears to be a chick. Good for them. Go so-and-so! You can barely tell he… I mean she… used to be a dude! It sure doesn’t hurt to have ample funds, private doctors and surgeons, and at-will time off  to manage these huge changes. I pretty much see this ship docking in the port of, “Everyone and their brother is changing genders, Michelle. Doesn’t seem to be a thing to it, so what the hell have you been crabbing about?”

So… yeah. I think it’s good that transgender people who live in the public limelight are demonstrating the tremendous courage it takes to embrace their true selves. They are our sisters and brothers just as all trans people are, and any one of them would be very welcome at one of my meetings; not as a celebrity, but a trans person just like the rest of us seeking community. At the same time I wish they would acknowledge and promote the fact that while their inner difficulties are the same, that it might be just a little harder if they also had to worry about becoming unemployable or unable to fund any of the treatment they need in order to feel like a complete person. They helped the world understand that transgender is a real thing, but now I would love it if they expanded the message that it is also a hard thing.

By the way, I’m very much hoping that the person referenced in the first paragraph turns out to be John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls. He’s official Buffalo NY Royalty and we sure could use him (or her?) on the team. I mean, who could pen a song like ‘Iris’ without a female spirit? Maybe he’d even play at our annual holiday party to his smallest ever audience of 8 to 11 people. I can dream, can’t I?

Tribe Trans: Live Together or Die Alone

Live together or die aloneNo, today’s post is not about ‘Lost’, though I freely admit that I still miss that show and unlike most, I loved the series finale. Look, you knew I was weird before you set out to read this. Recent events, however, brought me back to thinking about the first season when Jack (played by Charlie from ‘Party of 5’) said to Charlie (formerly a hobbit or something – see, this is why people found the show confusing) that the castaways had to decide whether to live together or die alone. What is bothering me is that the trans community, at least here in Buffalo, seems to be leaning toward the latter. I think this is a problem. By the way, thanks all for bearing with me in my absence – the event that inspired this post helped me procrastinate writing, but I’m back now.

On the second Friday of every month, we all come together to meet, share our experiences, ask each other questions, and bask in an environment where the inner drive and resultant anguish and triumphs are assumed and understood. I think the reason people are willing to give up a Friday evening (other than the fact that the ABC TGIF lineup bites since ‘Perfect Strangers’ was cancelled) is to enjoy the company of others who get us. People who we don’t have to explain much to. People for whom the primary self-identifying factor of gender isn’t a thing. With these people we seek common goals in self-protection and betterment to put us on equal footing with an expensive and socially debilitating gender issue. These understandings, paired with shared obstacles when it comes to employment, housing, medical care, and socialization, are fundamental enough to our collective well being to classify us as a tribe.

A tribe, as I see it, is a collective that takes care of its own. Like a family, we are not individuals who necessarily have anything in common but this one characteristic Like blood, it is fundamental enough to supersede all the other little quirks and rivalries that bring internal strife. We don’t have to be friends, or even like each other, but in choosing to come together in community, we show our colors in unity instead of taking the lonesome road that many others choose instead. What does it mean though to come together as a tribe? How are we supposed to behave toward each other? What does being part of this tribe really do for us? I’m beginning to think very few are even aware. Let’s talk about that.

The Bedouin, one of the few remaining tribal cultures, have a saying. “I against my brothers; my brothers and I against our cousins; I and my cousins against the tribe; the tribe against all.” It sounds pretty harsh, especially since it’s pretty exclusively masculine, but sets up an order of precedence in priority. Looking at it that way, it’s kind of a no brainer. Take care of yourself, those closest to you, and then your tribe. They are your refuge against the whole rest of the world. Whereas ‘Tribe Trans’ isn’t really looking to make a move against the other tribes out there, we have come together under the assumption that no matter what, this is where they have to take you. Much like the old definition of ‘home’ before it became untrue for so many in the Trans community.

Are we doing this? Are those of us who chose to become part of a recognized tribe making the effort to make this home for ourselves and our sisters and brothers? Are we truly here to support each other and give help and encouragement when the needs of a member arise, all the while knowing it will be us eventually? It makes sense, right? After all, if we are not here for that, why be part of a tribe at all? If we don’t come out for community, support, and advancement of the tribe, why are we even trying? After all, there is nothing else to be gained. No power, no fame, no wealth or status. If support and compassion are also absent, isn’t maybe better to stay home and see if Balki Bartokomous has returned to the Friday night lineup?

No one says we have to get along or even like each other. Individual disputes are inevitable; after all, we are still just people. If, however, the tribe fails to come together to support one of its own in need, then it really is no tribe. It is the compassion we show to each other that builds our strength. It’s our focus on our own in need that builds the tribe that can provide hope and encouragement to each one of us when our need comes. And it will. The great truth about being trans is that you will doubt your ability to go on, and probably more than once. Given the choices, I’d rather live together.

Tolerated, Accepted or Supported?

SupportWhen announcing a huge ass decision such as undergoing gender transition, many people around you will declare in loud voices that they totally support you. Many of them, as you will come to discover, are filthy disgusting liars, which honestly, is kind of what they think of you. The topic for today is the difference between being supported, being accepted, and being tolerated. As I’m sure you have guessed by now, they are not at all the same thing. They are, however, better than being disparaged, abhorred, or killed, so we are really talking positives here, as thin as some of them may seem.

Many of the people who come out to say they support you in fact only tolerate you. There are two types of tolerance really – by choice, or enforced. Enforced tolerance is the kind you may expect to see at work. Because they are without options that won’t land them in the HR office hearing about what a huge dick they are being, they continue working with you, though may be visibly unhappy about it. This type also can apply to family. If the acknowledged head of the family is favorable to your transition, almost everyone else feels the need to toe the line, siblings often being the exception. By the way, I’ve noticed that negative reactions from siblings are very common and always wondered why. Either way, they stand to win, and you if you have siblings, you know good and damn well that there is a hierarchy there. If you were the golden child, your siblings should be ecstatic about your fall from grace and be bending backwards to assist you. If you were the black sheep, this only cements their standing. This should be really good news for them regardless.

The other kind of tolerance is by choice and generally occurs when they have no skin in the game. Your transition doesn’t really affect them in any appreciable way and they don’t have any strong prejudices about it. These are people who aren’t going to decline social engagements because they hear you are going to be there, but they also aren’t going to invite you to anything either. This will apply to the vast majority of people who know you. It is wise to understand who these people are, because they are certainly the ones who don’t want to hear the gory details of your electrolysis, breast growth, or GRS, especially if male. One might be tempted to amp up the tragic nature of transition, but this is a big mistake. Chances are, they view what you are doing is a lifestyle decision and any whining can quickly turn tolerance into scorn.

Better than being tolerated is being accepted. Generally this applies to friends, family, and other individuals who do actually have skin in the game. At some point they had to make a decision as whether the personal feeling they have about this is a deal breaker in the relationship. They can either walk away or come to the decision that they can accept what is going on here, even if they feel you were a deceitful scumbag for most of your life. The biggest mistake people tend to make in regards to people who accept them is that they are willing to help you. Most of the time, they are not. They can understand that you needed to do something here, but they certainly aren’t very excited to be a part of it. It is also worthwhile to note that people who accept you probably also resent you at the same time. They still like you as you, but are less than thrilled to lose a poker buddy, romantic partner, or heir to the family name.

The rarest class is those who support you. Often times, these are folks with a lot of skin in the game of you and are willing to put their money where their mouth is and step in and help. These folks are willing hear your stories, may come to your support meetings, or even help facilitate aspects of your transition. If you are smart, you will do whatever is necessary to keep such people in your life because they are pure gold in terms of helping you to feel all right about yourself. Transition is a horribly selfish process and many of us suffer from more than a little guilt about the perceived wake of destruction left in your path to happiness. There is a good chance that supporters were caught in that wave and probably have some feelings about it as their lives were irrevocably changed and in some cases temporarily ruined. Accepting that responsibility is a good idea because as crappy as it feels sometimes, they payback is well worth it.

Transition is a high risk venture, and everyone who doesn’t oppose you should be appreciated whether they stand on the sidelines, decide you are the world’s greatest asshole but their asshole, or are willing to travel hundreds of miles just to drive you from the hospital to a GRS recovery location. It may not be all you were hoping for, but be grateful for what and who you have.

Trans Fatalism and Bradley Manning

FatalismWas everyone here aware that US Army soldier Bradley Manning, the person who made Wikileaks a household name (prior to this I assumed it was some sort of ‘golden showers’ thing and kept my distance) may be transgender? No one tells me anything. Seriously, we could be marked for extermination, packed into trains, and I’d think we were all just going for ice cream until someone elbowed me in the ribs and clued me in. Regardless, it came as a surprise to me. Kind of.

Here’s the part where I go off on a tangent for a spell, so feel free to skip ahead to the main point if you are one of those baffling people who reads the last page of a book first. So, before getting to my point, I want to say that this is not so good for the trans. It’s hard enough for us to regain the trust of those around us, and society in general, after skulking around for so many years as the wrong gender without significant acts of high treason, or at least the perception thereof. “First you lured me in with the pretense that you were a man, and next thing I know you’ll be priority mailing the Mrs Field’s cookie recipe to Kim Jong Un!’ Don’t laugh; with delicious gooey cookies in supply, he can keep that poor population in line for the next few decades. Seriously though, ‘trans = traitor’ is just not the kind of two and two that does us a whole lot of good.

From what I read, Bradley did what they did (giving the benefit of the doubt here pronoun-wise) out of a sense of correcting what they saw as a great wrong, and did so with a sense of fatalism. Bradley allegedly contemplated a life in prison as a result of their actions prior to taking them. Unfortunately, that sense of fatalism is something endemic to the trans population. Now that I’m getting to the main subject, let’s talk about that for a minute. To be clear though, I’m not going to directly address suicide here. Trans suicide is a very serious topic that I don’t have the right background or experience to tackle without the risk of causing harm, so I won’t do it. I consider myself very fortunate for being part of an all too small subset that never contemplated this, but believe in showing the utmost compassion and empathy for those who have.

Fatalism, however, is another story. I think that prior to full self-awareness and willingness to address the problem, many trans often have a certain sense of doom when it comes to contemplating the rest of our lives. It springs from the dawning realization that these feelings just don’t seem to be going away, no matter what actions we take to try to correct or heal ourselves. In fact, they just keep getting worse, and the world becomes a bleak and scary place with the walls closing in with almost imperceptible slowness. This fatalism is really just the expression of a loss of hope, that everything is not going to turn out OK, and that hard work and perseverance aren’t going to mean a damn thing. It’s not necessarily true, but those of you reading this who are trans might be able to understand where I’m coming from.

The real piss of it is that launching oneself into transition doesn’t always cure this sense, and many of us turn into big negative Nellies as a result. The reason is that transition doesn’t cure all of one’s problems, just one, while introducing a big hoary host of others in the process. The loss of relationships, loss of regard of peers, loss of employment, loss of anonymity, and even lost of self-esteem are common, and generally weighed against the benefits of transition in the hopes that a clear winner will be made clear and tell us what to do. It also comes with the sudden realization that the completion of transition is not life’s endgame. I’ve just come to this one myself. While October is a huge milestone in my overall existence and the capstone of my transition, I have to start planning my life for after that time. It’s a strange feeling when the final barrier comes close enough to understand there are lots and lots of them after that. No worries; I’m ready. At least that will be behind me and I’ll be a bit wiser for it.

Back to Bradley. Bradley’s sense of fatalism brought them to a place where the consequence of action probably seemed vague and meaningless; just another possible bleak future in an already bleak existence. As a result, Bradley will probably spend most of the remainder of their life in prison and I find that very sad. Whether you consider Bradley a hero of villain for doing what they did is immaterial. Bradley will likely not have the opportunity to make other difficult roads we here are more familiar with, or at least not for a long time. Because of this, and so many others like Bradley, I think we are behooved to keep in mind that being transgender is not an insurmountable problem, and that transition in and of itself only solves so much, but pushing forward is like opening oysters. It’s going to be hard, you might get cut, you might find a pearl, and at the very least, you get to eat oysters.

Finally, I want to once again reiterate, especially to anyone who stumbles on here doing some shady research. Being transgender in no way, shape, or form predisposes someone to being more likely to commit acts of high treason, or really any type of activity that can be considered unethical according to government or industry standards. Seriously, most of us are trying to shake the whole ‘deceptive’ label all together and really didn’t need this sort of thing.

When ‘Two-Point-You’ Feels Like Windows 8

Windows 8Michelle is great and all, but boy, we sure do miss Mike sometimes. This doesn’t get said aloud all that often, but it’s pretty apparent when people are thinking it, right? Welcome to Windows 8, the new roll out years and years in the making at unimaginable cost, but yet so awkward and clunky, and no one really seems to know how to interface with it. I mean you. Anyone who is undergoing, or has undergone gender transition should know exactly what I’m talking about.

There is bound to be a radical perception shift between what people always thought you were, and what you actually are now. We tell everyone that we are the exact same person inside, but now the outside just matches the inside a bit more. Nothing more than that, right? Ugh, not even close. I didn’t understand that before, but I’m finding it manifesting often enough that I finally have to admit that it’s true. My looks have changed, but so has so much more and it is bound to color the relationships I have with others. Sometimes in good ways, but in others we can’t blame people for having liked the old us just a tiny bit more.

Two weeks ago I had my mid-year performance review with my boss, and although it was generally favorable, I found myself getting emotionally defensive about one minor detail, and then as I attempted to explain, the tears started. Fuck. I can’t tell you how much that truly, truly sucked. Moreso because I was stuck in another hour long meeting with him and 3 other people directly after while sitting in the same chair I humiliated myself in moments before. Ironically, back when I was going by Mike, I used to brag that as a man, no one at work had the power to make me cry. It was true at the time, but oh how the mighty have fallen. It also occurred to me that my boss was thinking the exact same thing. Mike would have taken some constructive feedback with a big smile, a thank you, and plan to put it into action. It’s OK, I laugh about it now.

While going from stoic to emotionally volatile has changed some perceptions, some of the changes have been very positive. Believe it or not, some people actually like Windows 8 and feel it’s getting a bum rap. My relationship with other woman has changed for the most part for the better. I’m now forming friendships that are no longer tainted by the specter of that annoying opposite gender, sexual tension thing that used to make it so difficult. It’s not that I don’t still treasure my guy friends (with whom, thankfully, that awkward sexual tension thing failed to manifest), but there is only so much interest I can feign in sports, Shark Week, or “inaccuracies” in the new Superman movie. It’s nice to be treated as a female friend with no concerns that it is anything but that.

Getting down to the brass tacks, it’s OK to admit to both ourselves and others that maybe we are not still the exact same person inside. While most of the characteristics we had before certainly remain the same, our expressions of them can undergo changes. Parts of our personalities, our interests, and how we interact with others are bound to transform. Maybe not so very much, but a little, and it’s enough to be noticeable. If we can be OK with this being true, it’s a little easier to come to terms with the fact that others are going to notice as well and that some might not be overjoyed.

In the beginning of all this, so many moons ago now, I took all perceived rejections hard. I assumed immediately that some of the cooling of relations had to do with inherent prejudice of what I am; a hardening toward the same person in different clothes. I’m sure there was some of that. I’m also sure there are some who just liked me as ‘Mike’ a little better. I am different, I have grown, my focus has changed, as have some aspects of my personality. Fortunately my sense of humor hasn’t, but it’s just not enough to maintain some of the more shallow friendships. All of this is OK though, because even if some preferred the old, I’m  so much happier and contented being who I am now, and that is going to have to be enough.

So We Have Some “Trans-generational” Differences

GenerationsIt seems to be a lot easier to transition between genders than it is to transition between generations. I had a question posed to me by a reader the other day that got me thinking on the subject. Her concern was that the younger trans in her tribe generally neglected to invite her out, and she was attributing that to reasons of passability. My thought was that it had way more to do with the fact that they were decades younger and may have not wanted ‘mom’ or ‘grandma’ along as a big buzz kill. It got me thinking about the whole ‘trans-generational’ thing, so let’s talk about that for a minute.

Having crossed the dreadful line of 40, I acknowledge that I am now considered to be closing in on ancient to many of the younger folks. Whether this is true of not is relative, but I will admit that my cultural IQ does not do me any favors. I can’t name one song by the Jonas Brothers, Justin Beaver, or The Kardashian’s. I don’t know how to use my Twitter account. I just found out about ‘Rickrolling’ through CNN but don’t get the joke; I love that song. I still find ‘The Simpson’s’ fresh, edgy, and in your face. I really don’t know why I’m telling all of you this, it’s not like I don’t get made fun of enough. Regardless, there is a significant cultural divide between trans people my age and older, and those damn kids who pierce their ears with poker chips and won’t stay off my lawn.

In strictly trans terms, I think the biggest difference is that kids are now transitioning in their teens and early twenties and comparing themselves to those of us who spent decades cowering in terror that someone would find out our deep dark secret. Just to be clear, I think it is awesome that they have the opportunity to do this in a kinder, gentler atmosphere. Not that it’s necessarily easy, but the chances of being committed to an asylum or being legally charged under some arcane law have gone down considerably.

I have heard some of the younger set pile some derision on we ‘later in life’ transsexuals, salting their language with peppy little terms like ‘denial’ and ‘scaredy pants’. It’s difficult for them to understand trying to achieve self-awareness in the pre-internet days. The closest we often got to understanding people like us actually existed was spotting something in adult shops that not only were we too afraid to purchase, but really painted a grotesque picture of what our lives would be like if this ever got out. So we buried it deep within, and now paying the price of all the efforts we undertook to try to fix ourselves. It’s very much my hope that those days are quickly diminishing the rear view mirror.

At the same time, we who are so fortunate to transition well into the 21st century are having a very different experience than those who had to do so well before the turn of the millennium. Back when we were simply known as ‘she-males’, there were only a handful of medical and mental health professionals in the country who had an inkling we existed, and the only career choices were living petrified half-lives, working in the sex industry, or going destitute. These grand ladies, those of whom are gracious enough to share their stories, paint a very bleak and depressing picture of what enduring life really meant, if one was so brave as to choose to live through it.

The point of course is that it is too our advantage to appreciate while everyone’s transition experience is unique, there is also a generational component that flavors those experiences in yet another way. Rather than disdaining new, young, millennial trans as having it so easy, it’s better to appreciate the progress that has been made and that the cubs of our own tribe are here to receive the benefits of progress. There is equal value in appreciating what I hope is becoming an endangered species; the trans who lived decades in fearful silence. Finally it is most important to value the efforts for everyone who has walked this path before us, knowing it was considerably harder, but that the footfalls of countless unknown trans tramped the way smooth and forced channels through all the debris. In time we will all be a slice of history highlighting the rapid ascent from darkness into the light of society in general, and it’s so much more of a compelling story if we know each other in the here and now.

What I Think ‘Going Stealth’ Really Means

Face-off illegal personIf you are an ardent aficionado of crafty military technology, I promise you can keep on walking. Seriously, you are going to hate this. OK, now that he’s gone, I’ll clarify and say I’m talking about the whole concept of trans stealth. This is hardly original because over on Transadvocate they had a whole big Stealth Week. I found it as gripping as Shark Week, even though no seals were eaten. Though I was not specifically invited to participate, I decided to horn in on their gig and regale my disenchanted readers with my own thoughts on the matter.

For those of you who might not be familiar, going stealth commonly refers to trans people who have successfully transitioned and who have chosen to integrate fully into the right gender without being super up front about their past in another life. Attractive idea, yes? Over on TA, a lot of great thoughts on this were floated, most of which concluded this concept being a terrible idea. I wrote a few pieces on the subject myself in the past and decided it was time to kind of hone the concept in my own direction.

Some say stealth, and implied 100% passability are the ultimate goals for anyone undergoing gender transition. This is the holy or wholly grail of clean and clear authenticity. No one else needs to know because it was simply a matter of a personal medical condition that common sense suggests should not be advertised any more than a wicked case of the crabs long since eradicated. Others claim that living an authentic life means acknowledging the whole of that life, even the decades one wishes were better spent. We have a moral duty to our friends and lovers to let them know, not to mention to the trans tribe at large. Hiding ourselves behind a fabricated past is less palatable than feeling a wet spot next to the toilet absorb through your sock. You can pretend it’s something else while you are stuck sitting there, but deep down you know it’s piss.

For me stealth means something else, and passability isn’t even a factor. Stealth is achieved when we embrace a sense of self-assuredness and comfort with ourselves that allows us to interact with individuals, groups, and society at large where the apparent degree of our trans-ness is no longer a factor. Be clear, however, this does not mean that strangers will no longer stare, certain people will no longer treat us like shit, or that all dangers associated with being trans will disappear; more on that in a second. It does mean that being able to insert ourselves into personal relationships and social constructs where our being trans is not a defining factor. In this model a trans woman, comfortable in her female identity and successfully projecting that is able to relate to people and groups ideally as human to human, or at least woman to man/ woman/ child. This is what cisgender people do, aside from self-created ethno-religious categorization, but that is another ball of wax.

Here’s why I think that is the best model for the concept of stealth. There is a good chance that is the best we are going to do. I’m not convinced that there are many amongst us that are 100% passable. We may be to most people, but there always seem to be some who have that extra sensitive radar that at the very least invites questions. I also agree with some of the assessments over on TA that there is risk involved of being discovered, which in turn puts one right back in ‘living a life of deception’ mode, and really, I would think everyone would be sick and tired of that already. I know I am.

Just to clarify further, I’m not advising that it’s a good idea to lead off a dinner party conversation with a detailed blow by blow of your SRS (see note at the end), or walk into a ladies room and shout, “I used to have a wang, y’all!” You are going to have to use your best common sense judgment of where the line is between TMI and intentional denial of identity. We are trans, we will always be trans, and no matter what we do, if someone is determined enough, they can conclusively prove we are trans. Instead, our blending an assimilation into wider cis society is determined on who we are, how comfortable we are with ourselves, and what we say and do.

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