I’m consciously aware that my life is pretty easy at the moment–I mean, relatively. That’s kind of depressing, but I’m speaking of being transgender. At the moment, I still work as a male, and generally just go to stores as a male. I very rarely go into public as a female, and then only to places that I know very well, or that are open to that sort of thing anyway, like a LGBT bar. It won’t always be this easy, though. There will come a time when I can’t pass as a male–my hair will be too long and feminine, my facial features (which are already changing subtly) will have changed too much, and I’ll have boobs that will be impossible to hide.
No matter what, there must come a day when the transgender person must cast aside the old shell and step back into the world. That will be difficult no matter what part of the country one is in, and I would certainly say that it will be substantially harder in Mississippi, but it’s never easy. In so many ways, it would have been easier to do this in high school, but I didn’t have that luxury. I envy those who did.
I regularly stop by a gas station and am on excellent terms with the people who work there. It’s one of those ones owned by Middle Eastern people, which means they’re probably Muslims and have much the same position on transgenderism that Christians have. I see these people as my male self every single day. What am I to do that morning when I wake, and it’s That Day–That Day when the shell has been shattered beyond repair, leaving the facade that was my male persona rotting in the past? Must I simply walk away from that store, never again to see those people? No amount of time could pass that they wouldn’t recognize me–people remember me. They always have.
I live just a few minutes from a general store that I go to a few times each week for miscellaneous things that I don’t get elsewhere. When I wake up That Day, will I simply never go to that store again? How could I? With the cashiers staring, their mouths agape, speechless and all of them thinking the same thing:
“What… the… fuck… Do we… Do we call the police?”
I have not yet had the luxury of even going clothes shopping. How can I, when my voice still needs so much work? How would the cashier at Rue21 react when I replied to her greeting, with my masculine voice that clearly marks me as “not quite simply a woman”? I’ve done most of my clothes shopping online, or with friends–then I have the excuse that the clothes aren’t for me, but for my friends. But there must come a day when I go to Rue21 as myself, or to TJ Maxx as myself–what shall I do on That Day?
That’s undoubtedly the hardest part, and I’m afraid–of course I’m afraid. Even if this wasn’t Mississippi, I would be afraid. I once made the analogy that it’s a bit like going to school after getting a new haircut, and the anxiety one feels the night before, totally convinced that other kids are going to laugh and say that it looks stupid. And they might–it’s always a real possibility that the haircut does look stupid. But this isn’t high school, and this is so much more than a haircut.
One day I will think nothing of it as I leave my house, get into my car, go to the store, and do everything I need to do as Aria. That day must come; that day is coming. It is, perhaps, approaching faster than I thought it would. But before I can do that–before that day comes that I am simply comfortable doing what I must do–the penny must drop. It is something I have put off–understandably so, as I’ve said, because it’s simply not reasonable to do such a thing until I have progressed further along this voice issue.
But I am not known for being a coward. Neither will I put that day off one sunrise longer than necessary.
But I will be afraid.