Being trans is never easy. Whether we’re still questioning, in the closet, transitioning or fully-transitioned, just being transgender in our culture is inherently difficult. My very existence puts me at odds with some of our most basic and deeply-held beliefs. Granted, there are worse places in the world to be trans than the USA. In some countries, I’d be killed on sight. When I let that thought rattle around in my mind for a while, it makes being a pawn of the American political machine and being denied access to public toilets seem perfectly acceptable.
It’s a simple matter of perspective, I suppose.
I’d spent my entire life in the closet. I never even heard the term “transgender” until about 2012. I reached the point where I could no longer live in my manufactured male persona and almost committed suicide. I chose instead to live and decided to transition from male-to-female. It was the hardest decision of my life, but I was so happy and excited to start the journey of becoming my true self.
Caitlyn Jenner came out as a trans woman. It felt like a door had been opened, so I came out to my closest friends and family. I felt liberated in ways I can’t even describe. Most were supportive, others less so. Suddenly, trans people were everywhere; in the news, politics, TV and movies, etc. I thought the media’s overexposure of trans people would make us old news quickly. I was wrong.
Conservative America had been frothing at the mouth for eight years. To help fire up their constituents prior to the Presidential election, conservative politicians began exploiting lies and misconceptions about trans people (particularly trans women); the basic message being Democrats want to allow men in dresses to use the bathroom with your wives and daughters! The witch hunt was on. Politicians, hate groups, states and municipalities began proposing laws and initiatives meant to strip trans people of our rights. People with petitions in-hand popped up at Walmarts and other stores warning unsuspecting shoppers that voting Democrat will put your mothers and daughters at risk. Democrats adopted our fight and took us under their wings, hoping the threat of us losing our civil rights might help win swing votes.
I don’t know which is worse; being called a man in a dress, or knowing that strangers who know nothing about trans people are using us to stir up fear, hate, sympathy, and gain political capital.
When Hillary lost the 2016 Presidential election, and Emperor Trump became leader of the free world, Democrats blamed trans people for it. We never asked to be political hacky sacks. Pushing a platform of trans rights onto people who don’t even acknowledge our existence was very shortsighted indeed. Democrats are to blame for Trump, not trans people.
Despite living in a "blue" state, I'm a little afraid every time I go out.
My spouse's employer (a public school district with a lengthy non-discrimination statement) advised that she not take me to any extra-curricular school events as her wife for fear we might offend the community. She was later non-renewed, and we were forced to relocate.
I'm terrified of public restrooms. I'll dehydrate myself for hours on end to avoid using them.
I shudder every time Trump opens his mouth or sends a tweet. His administration has sought to eradicate trans people from the military, from Title IX protections, and is allowing insurance companies to deny us healthcare. So-called "Freedom" bills have all but condoned discrimination against trans people.
Being a transgender American in the Trump Era?
Two words; I'm scared.