Meditations on belonging

Belonging is something I’m still working on. I still don’t know how being trans influences belonging. My first inkling I didn’t belong in a group was when I was around four years old.

Most of my neighbors were girls and I used to play indoor and outdoor games with them. The closest neighborhood kid was Natalie, (all names have been changed,) who lived two houses up the street from me. Natalie’s family knew my mom was a working single mom and I think they let me come over to play or watched me while my mom was at work. Up around the corner from Natalie lived Skye, and there was a younger girl whose name I don’t remember and might have been Natalie’s little sister.

I do remember sitting in a circle playing a board game or something in Natalie’s room one day. The conversation took a turn, and Natalie declared, ‘We don’t want to play with you any more because you’re a boy.’

I don’t remember the preamble and I know that’s not a verbatim quote, but the gist was the same. I was a boy thing and because I was this boy thing, something I’d never even thought about before, the girls didn’t want to play with me. I was different but I didn’t know how or why. I didn’t understand. It hurt and I think I went home crying because my friends didn’t want to play with me any more.

Because I didn’t understand the dynamic, this experience repeated several times in grade school. Sometimes it was even the boys who made it happen.

In third or fourth grade, I remember having a good time playing four square and hopscotch with some girls. Some boys came along and started calling me sissy. My older brother called me that and I thought it meant weak.

How was I weak playing four square and hopscotch? It didn’t make any sense to me. Worse, I was asked by the girls not to play with them any more. The girls knew what it mean and didn’t want to be with me because of it or they didn’t want the harassment from the boys. This made me very sad and marked one of the last times I played with the girls.

I played with boys too. It was usually the social misfit crowd. We all belonged together because we didn’t fit in with everyone else. I didn’t feel like I belonged with them in the sense of feeling like they were close friends I could tell secrets to. Some of this was a function of them not sticking around long.

There was a boy in fourth grade who carried a rubber shark with him everywhere and we played astronauts on the monkey bars. He disappeared before the end of the year. There was the black boy in fifth grade who moved from Chicago and didn’t return to my school for sixth grade. There was my friend in sixth grade who parents forbade him to see me because they thought I was a bad influence for reasons I don’t remember. There was the Catholic kid in seventh grade who stopped taking to me halfway though the school year because I told him I didn’t believe in god.

And there were the constellation of boys who crossed my orbit depending on the medications they took or their shenanigan sidekick needs.

When I was asked to play with the boys who seemed to navigate school as a huge pack whose dynamics eluded me, it was usually at their desperate need of a spare body for sports or target practice. Having proved my total incompetence at throwing, catching, and feats of strength during gym, but noted for my speed of running, often from bullies from within that same pack, I fit a useful niche for them.

I would be drafted as running back for touch football, even though I would fuck up the pattern over and over, because when I didn’t drop the ball I could out-sprint most everyone. They loved me for basketball because I was always willing to pass the ball. I was often the unwilling queer in smear the queer when I was just contentedly kicking a ball against a wall by myself.

This was not belonging, it was being used.

I didn’t belong at home because there was hardly anyone else at home when I was there. When my family was there, my brother would often tease and sometimes hit me. My mom often zoned out on the TV and drank wine and smoked until she fell asleep. When my brother left the house to join the military, my mom pulled even further away emotionally. Maybe because she didn’t know what to make of me. Or she was exhausted. Or both.

My grandparents provided stability in my life and were surrogate parents in many ways. There was also an emotional gulf there I was never able to bridge.

This was not belonging, it was existing. I didn’t feel I belonged as much as I felt tolerated because I was family.

Junior high school was hell because it was puberty and was almost constantly bullied. I came close to belonging when I played soccer. We were a good team but I had to quit when I got a growth spurt and developed painful tendonitis in my feet. The only upside to that was being excused from gym for over a year and avoiding some locker room hell.

I didn’t belong anywhere in junior high and I cycled through the punks, the rockers, the new wavers, the nerds, the geeks, and the denizens of shop class. I didn’t feel like I belonged to any of them and if I didn’t drift away I was often pushed away.

I liked listening to the Ramones but wasn’t interested in the spiky hair or safety pins of that crowd so they rejected me like antibodies because I was dull. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath were fun to listen to and the vandalism I got sucked into was thrilling but I realized many of the people I was hanging around in that crowd were tracking to jail. Duran Duran was poppy fun but I didn’t want a side cut and Cyndi Lauper back then drove me up a wall.

Complicating things was my wanting to be but not being able to be a girl. The punk chick with makeup we now called goth. The rocker chick with a leather jacket and skirt, and big hair. The lace like Madonna or a haircut to die for.

And so on and so forth. I didn’t even belong to myself.

In high school I had the inkling of belonging. I was on the chess team, but it was the island of misfit toys in a way. I ran cross county but was solidly junior varsity (JV). The coach didn’t give a shit about JV so I gave up after a year when my best friend didn’t return the next year and I realized I didn’t have other friends on the team.

High school did at least provide a mechanism to interact with girls again through dating and academics.

How I ever ended up with girlfriends in high school is still a bit of a mystery to me given how clueless I was. I must have done something right or at least didn’t do anything too terribly wrong because I had two.

My Renaissance began with talking to girls as friends in class. I looked forward to going to certain classes where I would sit next to the girls who talked me to about class and life. There were shared jokes and confessions, (my favorite was a friend who backed her parents’ car though the closed garage door,) and talk about homework and what we were learning.

We often didn’t communicate outside of class. There might have been the mutual small wave or head nod in the halls, but we never sat together for lunch or went out to do anything together, (excepting friends of one of my girlfriends.) I can only think of a handful of occasions when I spoke with any of them on the phone and they were all about class assignments.

While I felt I belonged in a small way, there were vast gulfs between us due to social expectations I didn’t understand. I would never be and could never be a true girlfriend because I wasn’t seen as a girl. Some guys thought I was gay and those that knew I was attracted to girls didn’t understand these relationships. I hardly understood them myself at the time. Some of the girls probably thought I was gay.

I skimmed belonging like a rock on a pond that skips to the other side.

At university, joining a fraternity in response to family pressure to do so, (my mother, father, grandmother, and two uncles were in the Greek system,) seemed like a way to belong somewhere in the vast ocean of students at the University of Washington. It seemed to work, until it veered wide at sorority mixers and parties.

Those events usually cracked my brain open with what I now know as dysphoria and through that opening I poured copious quantities of alcohol. Back then it was a debilitating envy and sorrow, which the alcohol inflamed to either generalized anger at the world or black despair over my future.

While I did experience camaraderie, it was not belonging. The starkest realization of this was the night before initiation.

Hell week, the week of ritualistically abusing and hazing pledges, was almost over and the last event held the possibility of a last comedic humiliation mixed with a reward. And what reward do you give to 18- or 19-year-old fraternity pledges who’ve put up with a week of shit?

Strippers.

We sat in a large room on chairs arranged in a circle wearing only our underwear. The only light was from a fire blazing in the fireplace. Music from a boombox started and two women in their early to mid-twenties wearing lingerie and high heels came strutting into the middle of the circle.

Guys, I’ve observed, generally do one of two things when around strippers. Either their higher brain functions are short-circuited and they think only with their dicks and they think they’re about to get off and it seems they’re on the edge of going berserk, or they mentally step back to an objectification remove like predators looking at prey.

That moment was terrifying and beyond uncomfortable for me.

It was easy enough for me to feign visual interest because I’m attracted to women, but the whole berserker/predator-prey vibe made me want to bolt. I felt fear for the women even though I knew their bouncers were standing in the shadows. While I knew it was their job, I still felt embarrassed for them. As I watched them move around the circle, I studied the guys hoping I’d be able to mimic the expected rapt attention I was expected to have on my face when it was my turn.

I can only imagine my then-unknown, closeted gay pledge brothers were also having a moment.

I suffered through, all the while being pulled with envy towards the beauty of the women and repelled by fear with the secret knowledge I carried within me.

I did not belong there. At all.

The experiences of feeling like I belonged with the girls and not with the boys carried on up to transition. Post-transition, I’ve noticed a curious thing.

When I’m just being me and doing my thing, I feel like I belong for the first time in my life. Since I haven’t had this feeling much in the past, imposter syndrome hovers in the background making me question if I deserve to belong.

Of course I do!—it’s an absurd question.

When I’m self-aware or self-conscious about being trans, it’s easy for me to feel like I don’t belong in the world I walked through hell to get to. On bad days, rejection slithers into my brain and constricts me to my singular world. It hisses I only belong with myself.

But I tried that. It didn’t work. And now I’m free to find where I belong.


©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by sharing it with others with attribution and linking back or buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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The shifting sands of dysphoria

My experience with gender dysphoria has changed over the years. It first expressed itself in childhood as a diffuse desire to be like my grandmother and mother with regards to social roles. As puberty hit, it changed to an intense desire to have a different body than the one I had.

When I learned about transgender people around the same time, it provided a framework to understand my feelings and desires. While it partly answered the what and why of me, there was no how or when. It was a black box, impossible to see within from the suburban 1980s. How could a man enter and then leave a woman almost instantaneously?

The more I learned, the more I discovered gender transition is a process. I also learned my experience of being trans and how I experienced dysphoria was different than others. In the 1990s, most trans women transition models were to be femme, attracted to men, and want your penis to be gone, gone, gone. That last bit made me feel not trans enough for a long while.

My original factory equipment provided some fun and memorable experiences over the years. If anything, I was, (and still am,) ambivalent about it going away. Wanting a vagina but not hating my penis left me feeling half-trans, a fraud. This contributed to my wavering around transition in the 1990s and early 2000s.

I’ve since learned I’m not alone in these feelings and it doesn’t make me or them any less trans. Learning in the 2010s most trans women don’t have surgery for reasons ranging from financial limitations to a lack of desire for surgery out of fear or not caring was a big thing for me to internalize. The expressions of being trans had shifted so far from the 1980s/1990s as to be almost unrecognizable to me when I reconnected with the community a few years back.

What also shifted for me was how I experienced my dysphoria.

Others might be different but I could never trust it would stay the same in order for me to create an effective long-term coping strategy. I found it an impossible task adjusting to gender dysphoria that changed day-to-day or even hour-to-hour.

It swung from generalized and ambivalent desires for physical changes and a diffuse desire for a different social role to an intense psychic ache from longing, loss, and despair of my situation in life. The ache and despair would flare when I encountered women I found attractive or who I imagined I might look like had I been born a girl.

My degrading ability to bear the pain of my previous life’s lot is what led me to transition. Proving transition solves for gender dysphoria, I no longer have extreme psychic pain.

Today my dysphoria is more mundane and at the level of irritating. It’s the dress that doesn’t quite fall the way I want when I try it on because my bust isn’t proportional to my waist. It’s the tuck that won’t stay put. It’s the annoyance of having an outie flopping around when I’d rather have an innie.

But I feel my irritation growing. It’s a sense of incompleteness, a feeling like I’m still in the middle of a process instead of at the end. Then there are the pinprick pains of catching a bad reflection or being misgendered. Those are repetitive experiences, which I have developed a strategy to manage.

My biggest takeaway on dysphoria is that I don’t have to feel the intensity of it all the time in order to self-identify as trans or to do something about it. Even in the weeks leading up to my transition I’d put on my guy clothes in the morning, go to work, and not give it a second thought. But then the days would come where I had trouble leaving my literal closet wearing those same guy clothes.

Now I just worry my outfit doesn’t flatter me. It’s a good trade.


©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by sharing it with others with attribution and linking back or buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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Jumper cables

I get in the car, turn the key, and nothing happens. I’d only gone into the grocery store for maybe thirty minutes after a 75-mile drive without a stop. I’ve never had trouble with my car starting before, so I try it a few more times after shifting the gears out of and then back into park, thinking maybe the starter interlock switch didn’t engage property. No luck.

I review my options and a jump-start seems like the best place to start. If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to call a tow truck and have the starter examined. I keep jumper cables in the car and fish them out of the spare tire area along with my leather gloves. I drop the cables on the ground next to the car and open up the hood and start looking around for someone who might be willing to help.

A woman approaches the car next to me and I ask her if she’d give me a jump. She looks hesitant and reluctantly agrees to help, qualifying it with, ‘I’ve never done it before.’

Having driven pieces of shit in my twenties that constantly needed attention, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve used jumper cables. ‘It’s okay, we’ll figure it out.’

She begins to load her groceries into her car and while I’m untangling the cables, a man in a big, red truck with his family drives by and offers me a jump. Since he’s with his family, he seems safe enough so I agree, thank the woman for her willingness, and she drives off while the man manuevers his truck into place.

As I’m untangling the cables, another man in a truck on the other side of my car offers to help and I politely decline as the red truck pulls up close. The man whose help I didn’t need goes back to rearranging the groceries in the back of his truck.

Red truck man pops his hood and I’m ready, handing him the cables while he looks around for where to attach them. I point to a battery I can see and he says that’s his secondary battery as he seats the cables on the primary. While he finishes doing that, I pick up the other ends and as I’m turning towards the engine compartment, he pops over with hands open to take the cables from me. I seat the red cable on my battery terminal and the black to the mounting bracket by the alternator.

He appears surprised. ‘Oh, you’re done this before.’

‘A few times,’ I mumble. He seems impressed.

I hop in my car and it starts right up. I wonder if I need a new battery or if I developed a short somewhere. We unhook the cables, I thank him, and he drives off while I put the cables away.

Back in my car, I realize it’s the first time I didn’t have to hunt for someone to help. It begins to sink in that woman in a parking lot with her hood up and jumper cables on the ground will draw men like moths to a bright light.

I drive off, satisfied that if I need another jump it won’t be hard to find a volunteer.


©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by sharing my work with others or buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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The aperture of happiness

There was no light for parts of my gender journey. Darkness closed in around me as I struggled to figure out what to do. I felt my way along in the dark, bruising my shins and falling down hard a few times. Happiness and hope would have been light, but none shone. My aperture of happiness was closed.

It wasn’t until I decided I had to transition that the faintest glimmer began to peek through. As I moved forward with my plans, things in the past that had closed it began to open it.

The fear of being left by my wife shifted to anticipation for living by myself again and not having to worry about an intoxicated spouse who hated who I was. Now, I relish not having someone I loved spread the irritant of their resentment on me.

The fear of being a single parent changed to me enjoying my kids in a more focused way. The first few months felt like I had been tossed in the deep end of a pond with mud sucking at my feet to keep me underwater. Now, parenting my kids solo brings me a joy I didn’t know I could have.

The fear of social ostracism for transitioning turned out to be my brain jumping at shadows. I’m sure luck and privilege have much to do with the very low frequency of hassles I get for being trans. Now, I am just another woman who’s accepted or rejected for the type of person I am instead of what I am.

The fear of being single and alone for the rest of my life was simple negativity and a relationship I had last year put that and took me to bed last year. Now, I get to find someone who wants me for me and we get to discover each other.

I wouldn’t say the aperture of my happiness is fully open yet, but it’s close. The best part is with it open, the possibilities for happiness increase because the vista is larger.

When it was just starting to open, I could only see one happiness at a time through the pinhole. With it open much wider, I’m having to remind myself to look around at all the possible happiness I could have because it’s just laying there, waiting for me to find it.

I’m happier than I was before transition by a country mile. I have moments of joy and contentment. Happy comes and goes, but at least I can see it now because I’m open to it.


©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by sharing my work with others or buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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On intimate loneliness

Lonely_phonebooth

Intimate loneliness gnaws at my bones like a starving dog worrying for marrow. The frisson of desire and the pleasures of rubbing flesh are easy enough to sate–there are many people who find trans women desirable, but they are the sugary and saturated fats of snack-food relationships. I’m craving the protein in the banquet of intimate companionship to truly quiet my hunger.

I have friends who call, text, and tweet, and others who I meet in person for a movie, dinner, drinks, and talk, and they fill my life with camaraderie and joy. They’ve been there for me through the disintegration of marriages and the gender I used to live as. They’ve supported me by seeing me as me, and advocate for me and trans people in general. Now that much of the Sturm und Drang of my transition is behind me, we just hang out. They’re awesome.

But there’s no one in my life now to spoon me at night when existential dread settles and sprouts on me like mold spores. There’s no one I can roll my eyes to when a checker at a store is failing very hard to pretend I’m not trans. There’s no one to argue with about what to watch on Netflix. There’s no one to cook dinner for or pamper with a massage. No one to find that special gift for.

For many trans people like me, those who lost a long-term committed relationship due to transition, this is a normal phase and part of the arc of transition. After seeing dozens of trans women go through this phase and seeing that some have yet to exit it, even after years, I bide my time.

I fill my life with my kids, my writing, my music, and my current job of closing my mom’s estate. I run, I hike, I read, I binge-watch Star Trek. I visit with friends and talk politics and life. I plan my garden, spend time in my workshop, and pull weeds. I think about getting involved doing more things with other people I don’t know.

I send stars and hearts and write messages, doing my best to flirt online. I have dates here and there while navigating the new-to-me world of dating as a woman. I wonder when the magic moment will come, offering to end my loneliness, and hope I don’t miss it.


©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by sharing my work with others or buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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The ivy is choking you – week 180

English ivy is a noxious weed where I live and I hate it. It’s also a perfect fucking metaphor for gender dysphoria.

Left alone to grow, its leaf cover and epiphytic roots will choke trees and understory plants and take years or decades off their lifespans by making them more susceptible to pests and toppling in windstorms.

Besides creating shoots to creep along the ground, it sends vines up trees to reproduce. At first, it’s just a few shoots here and there. It’s easy to peel off the strands when they’re thin, but the roots will leave little marks on the bark. If you let it go a season or more, the vines grow thicker and require real effort to remove, often with small sections of bark.

If ignored for years or decades the vines turn into woody cables thicker than your wrist, requiring a saw to cut through and a crowbar to remove. The mat of roots to support these cables will pull everything along with them if you’re not careful, leaving gaping wounds on the trunk. At this point, there’s also a thick carpet of it on the ground and few, if any, other species are able to grow with it, and ripping it out often leaves bare dirt where a whole ecology used to thrive.

Left to their own devices, the vines spread to the tops of trees, flower, and berry out. Birds eat the berries and scatter the seeds in their droppings to repeat the cycle on the next vertical surface the shoots can find.

I let mine go for decades, and the sawing and prying I went through to un-strangle myself left me exhilarated and exhausted when finished. There are a few shoots here and there I missed and pull out from time to time, but that’s nothing compared to the previous work.

The removal left me with a barren patch of ground around me and scars on my side. Sometimes when the sun shines, I see my shadow and I swear I’m still covered in ivy and I wonder why I went through all that work when it seems I’ll never be rid of it.

But then I look closer and I see ferns, moss, and salal starting to grow about my feet and realize the ivy leaves I see are all dead. They drop from me one by one to the ground as I sway in the wind.

It will take years for them all to blow away and the vines that snake like scars up to my crown may not fall off before I fall over. It’s a small price to pay for being able to be free of the leaves that hid me. Now I spread my branches, soak in the sun, bud out, and grow again.

Before, the thirst of entire limbs went un-slaked in the struggle for a sip of the rain before the parasite covering me could soak it all up. I shed them as the dried, dead appendages they slowly become. Now my roots soak the water in by the gallon and my heart pumps it to every twig.

And the best thing? It’s that everyone can see the type of tree I’ve been all along.

When you grow up with dysphoria, it grows up with you, obscuring you. Other people see the ivy wrapped around you, hiding what you are. You might not even realize you’re covered until fully grown and the berries are raining down amongst your mature feet.

That ‘ah-ha’ moment always comes though, and it can threaten to topple you. The weight and life-sucking taproots of the ivy you didn’t know were there before feel like immense burdens and worms burrowing into you.

Some of us immediately start ripping vines off to reveal ourselves as fast as possible. Others may not have the energy to begin or fear damaging themselves too much in the process, and put it off and put it off until we are either felled by time or the ivy, or realize we can’t go on wrapped in something sucking our vitality out and finally start removal.

Sometimes we start and stop removal, many times over. Sometimes we remove it all and then let it all grow back when we realize we’re the ivy, not the tree. Sometimes we realize we’re not either and are our own species.

It used to bug me when I saw people post-transition encouraging people to transition. How dare they cheerlead when they had no idea the soil or climate I was rooted in? I now understand the subtle, unspoken directions left out of, ‘You have an ivy infestation and should remove it as soon as you can.’

‘As soon as you can,’ really means: ‘As soon as you can and check the gardening book for the best time and method to remove it and proper species identification. I’m also not going to pretend to tell you when and how you can make time to garden in your already busy life unless you ask’.

Get rid of that weed, people. You have an ivy infestation and should remove it as soon as you can.

It’s choking out the flowers you could be planting about you.


©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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Meditations on transmisogyny – Week 179

As a trans woman, having my humanity denied, debated, or outright denigrated can be hard to tease apart from baseline cultural misogyny. It might even be a unique offshoot of it. Around the world women struggle to be heard, to be seen, to live.

We often to defer to men for safety, for advancement, for peace, even as we seethe inside. We see the ridiculousness of sometimes playing weak in order to be strong. We have to be hyper-competent to even be considered for promotion and are judged incompetent for slight mistakes. We walk away when we want to fight, choosing our battles in what seems like a hopeless war.

We are seen as sexual objects for men to use as they see fit and blend into the background when judged unattractive. We are viewed as safe receptacles for men to dump their feelings into like trash cans on the corner. We are the objects acted upon, not the verbing subjects.

But when we are strong, when we fight, when we disagree, when we exercise our own agency, we are treated as animals to be subjugated or put down. We are treated as children. We are told we can’t, we shouldn’t, that we ask for too much.

And trans women we are told we are less human than cis women, though we already struggle for our humanity on that front and trans women are women. We are treated as aberrations and more disposable than cis women because we are seen as failed men. And nothing draws the ire of men more than failed men because they fear them like they fear a contagion.

Failed men are fallen, defective humans in cultural milieus around the world. Women scorn them because they can no longer be their protectors from other men seeking to utilize them as objects. Other men use them as punching bags to bolster their masculinity. Sitting next to one, being seen with one, or sleeping with one bends back around to being seen as that singular inhuman object of ‘a pussy’.

Most trans women don’t even have that to fall back upon as one of the oldest appeasement methods of deflecting male aggression, which often further enrages them. Objects that don’t work as expected or sap cultural power are discarded, often violently.

So I re-affirm my humanity to myself over and over and over, just to live. It’s agitating for myself when being obviously ignored. It’s having to explain and justify myself over and over. It’s dealing with the emotions of exclusion, rejection, and loneliness. It’s struggling to value myself when so many others devalue me.

I do this by living my life when so many others want me dead at worst or invisible at best. I struggle with this and I know others do, too. When you’re bombarded by the world telling you that you don’t matter or that your relative uniqueness isn’t worth protecting, it can be hard to get motivated to get out of bed some days.

Pre-transition I read about trans women who rarely left the house. Most of these women were portrayed as vain beauties who had completed surgeries, including facial feminization, and felt they weren’t pretty enough to pass in public. It’s an easy narrative to believe because it fits nicely into the misogynistic trope of women being vain and the transmisogynistic trope of trans women putting passing above all else.

Now that I’m past the big hump of social transition, I wonder if the truth is closer to many (most?) of us simply feeling reluctant to leave the house out of an exhaustion of having to continually defend our humanity. I know I feel the seductive call of hiding away on many days and by dint of race and class, I have the privilege of doing so. Many others don’t.

It is much easier to be trans in public now than it was even ten years ago, but we still pay a psychic cost when visibly trans and experiencing subtle or overt discrimination or having things go sideways when we pass until we don’t.

There are no easy solutions here and many solutions are out of our hands. We can demand equality and respect, but until all women are equal and respected, we will be on the short end of the stick. We can tell the world what we need to feel valued, but until cis allies lobby and change the minds of other cis people, we will be denied our place with the rest of Homo sapiens sapiens.


©Heather Coldstream

Please consider supporting my writing by buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition

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