Archive for July, 2016

Waiting

I’d like to think of myself as straight. I know, I know, it’s so boring. Who wants to be straight anyway? But I think I’ve done enough self-examination to know where I stand on this. Perhaps the act of being straight is nice and easy for those of you out there who are (raise your hand, most of you). Actually, it’s pretty straightforward for me too (pun totally intended). Perhaps you’ve never really thought about it, though, so let’s pull apart some of the constructs of heterosexuality for a minute.

Like any social construct it hasn’t been around forever even if we feel like it has. That’s not really the point I’m trying to make, though. When I say heterosexuality, I am talking about attraction to people of the opposite sex. But there, we’ve already made a misstep. Or we haven’t made a misstep but it would be more appropriate to say heterosexual attraction consists of two people from the two opposite sexes that the majority of folks ascribe to. It’s an important distinction. The majority is no more normative than the minority. All variations are normal; some are just composed of more individuals than others. As we use that term, though, even if you’ve never thought about the lexical properties of it, those are properties that are implied therein as most folks use it.

The lexical properties of heterosexuality also imply cisness to many people. It is a limited view and a terrible assumption, but in my personal experience, it’s quite prevalent. I’m not here to extol the virtues of passing (far too much emphasis is placed on it, for the comfort of cis folks, not the well-being of trans folks) but I understand why anyone would want to. It fails to address the underlying problems, but I get not wanting to be misgendered during simple day-to-day transactions. I get not wanting to draw the wrong kind of attention to yourself that may lead to something much worse than being called sir by a bouncer at a bar. It seems like it may make things easier to some degree, but I think that is an illusory sort of comfort. A lot of this is about illusion, after all. It’s the appearance of normalcy so many folks seem to crave. Add to that a rather limited view of masculinity in terms of what is or isn’t acceptable, and it’s not a great world out there for trans women who are attracted to men. Masculinity is such a fragile construct; anything that shatters that illusion is dangerous. Even appearing to be in a relationship with a trans person is a real blow to that construct, especially if you are a cishet man.

At best, I am moving through a world that treats me like a woman. At worst, I am moving through a world that still treats me like a man (trust me, there are not really any ancillary benefits to that. It’s not like I get paid like a man). And sometimes, I am moving through a world that doesn’t quite know how to treat me, that doesn’t really see me as female, but also doesn’t see me as male either. It happens less now, but it still happens. I have no problem being straight as much as it is difficult to find men who accept me as who I am. Which necessarily affects my chances of dating. I am not, and will not be, your secret shame. I am perfectly happy to remain single instead of hidden. I spent far too much of my life hidden to go back into any sort of situation like that. I’ve been on enough first dates to know. I’ve seen the look that says “you should have said something”. I’ve been in conversations that stopped as soon as I say I’m trans. I don’t run from it any more than I grab a megaphone and shout from the hilltops that I am. I shouldn’t have to do either. I am proud to be trans and live openly, but that doesn’t mean I owe any man anything in regard to who I am.

To bring it back to the idea of heterosexuality, in my experience, most men who are willing to being in a relationship with me don’t identify that way. Which isn’t a problem, I honestly think it’s awesome that people find who they are. It just says a lot of men seem to have to break out of the limited constructs of masculinity and heterosexuality before they are comfortable with the idea of a relationship with a trans person. While I personally identify as straight, there’s a good chance anyone open enough to be in a relationship with me may not. Which is funny when you think about it. Or perhaps I just laugh because sometimes it’s better than crying. Within all of this, I wonder if how I identify necessarily affects my chances of meeting folks. But I don’t think that’s it. All I’m trying to be in this world is who I am. And who I am is a straight trans woman waiting for a world to catch up.

 
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