Today is the trans day of visibility, 2016.
Let’s talk about being trans and visible–but let’s also talk about being trans and invisible.
Let me talk about being trans–let me be visible–but let me talk about being invisible.
Like a soul, she is shining like a soul.
Being alone is hard. Visibility, representation, conversation, these things help.
I hope I can help, with this.
So, today is complicated for me. Last year on this day, I celebrated it.
At the time, I had a severe eating disorder. I had posted a selfie out of pride that I had starved myself to the point that, even in a dress, my boobs just weren’t there. I hadn’t cut my hair at the time, so it was longer than it is now, more girly. My body looks all wrong, when I look at the picture now–hair too large, body too small–but at the time it had looked finally, finally acceptable, finally I could look in the mirror and see things other than too much hair and too much chest and too much, too much, too much. I could see myself: not a girl.
I sent it to all the friends I had come out to: look! I crowed to them, I can be myself!
A stranger reblogged it, tagging #look at kit! #that’s such a great dress #!!! #trans day of visibility
A friend replied: yaaaas you go girl
They always tell people with eating disorders “what you see in the mirror is distorted; other people see you better than you see yourself!”
What was I supposed to think when my friends–the ones who were supposed to think the best of me–saw me as a girl, the very thing I was trying my hardest to run from?
Kit: uuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggggh emma just called me ‘herself’
Kit: and ma’am
Kit: whoops she just saw this
Mollie: I’m gonna fight her
Mollie: TELL EMMA IM GOING TO FIGHT HER
Mollie: LET ME AT HER
Emma: i USE MA’AM FOR EVERY FEMININE BEING! Sorry if I’m a more visual person! I try! I FUCKING TRY! Also, Mollie, you can’t take me in a fight. Stop fooling yourself.
Mollie: YOU CANNOT USE MA’AM FOR KIT. THIS IS JUST A FACT.
Mollie: AND DONT CALL KIT A FEMININE BEING. THATS NOT HOW THEY WANNA BE VIEWED. EMMA I WILL FIGHT YOU.
Emma: Does they look like a fucking boy?! I do this visually! I try! I fuckling try!
Emma: Also, she looks like afemale! Not a fucking male! Visual, Mollie! Fucking visual!
Scene: joking with a friend, testing the waters for coming out, walking down the stairs to our next class.
“If we just did our homework then we could be inspiring and motivating ladies.”
“Well, too bad I’m none of those.”
“You’re not a lady? Are you a fucking shemale or something?”
My ex-girlfriend used my pronouns for a week over text; when we got together in person for a week, she misgendered me 57 times; I tried to correct her, she said “pronouns don’t matter to me!”; I cried; she broke up with me an hour later.
Girl like if silence speaks louder than words then why can’t anyone hear me, like why the fuck does the caged bird sing, it ain’t that fun and they owe no one nothing
Girl like not even a fucking girl
Girl like no one
Scene: in the car with my mom; I have had the courage to fill out an anonymous survey honestly; she saw it.
“So… I flipped through that survey you filled out, and I couldn’t help but notice that you circled ‘other’ instead of ‘boy’ or ‘girl’. You know you’re a girl right?
Like, you’re female. That’s just a biological fact.”
“…Yeah, I know.”
“And why do you use they for people? It’s plural! Don’t you care about grammar?”
“It’s a generational thing, I think. It doesn’t have anything to do with gender, don’t worry. I’m a girl, I know that.”
I remember when I told Hannah that I was non-binary and multiple: eighth grade. I told her over skype, late at night, confessional. She told me she supported me for who I was; she didn’t use my pronouns until one and a half years later, the night I got into that fateful fight with my ex-girlfriend.
I made a group for my queer friends. It consisted of “The Sexuali-bees”, “The Romantic Antics”, “The Gender Fears”, “Boring Cis Ppl”, and “Weak Str8s”. No heterosexuals were included–and the “weak str8s” was seen as a joke. People took offence to the “Boring Cis Ppl”. They said, if that’s a joke, why not make you into the joke instead? Haha, my pronouns are God, is that boring? Haha, isn’t it so great how I can make this into a joke that I can just take off when it gets too inconvenient?
Kit: i mean, hannah’s on the list, sofia’s on the list, its not a personal judgement, its just. if i want to call cis ppl boring i fucking will, they call me a damn girl like 24/7
Kiki: yeah i feel
Kit: like ugh i know this is new to her but
Kiki: …Is she being serious..?
Kit: u know what this reminds me of tbh? the time that ‘binging and purging’ was a card played on cards against humanity and i had to listen to the scifi club laugh at that while pretending that my head hadn’t been in the damn toilet a month earlier. bc its like. this isnt a joke. this is real
Kiki: ahh yeah i feel you and im sorry
Kiki: do you still want to vent?
Kit: sort of
Kit: i just
Kiki: dont know how to say it?
Kit: and the anger is beginning to fade
Kit: but only starting to
Kit: and tbh i think id rather be angry
Kit: bc when i stop being angry i start being sad
Kit: i just
Kit: it hurts, to be reminded that im a fucking joke to everyone
Kit: and my friend group is where i go to get away from that, for the most part
Kiki: youre not a joke to everyone
Kiki: youre not a joke to the people that fucking matter
Kiki: she’ll will come around
Kiki: she doesnt get it; but she will
Kit: where they dont fucking LAUGH at eating disorders, and trans people, and gay people. where psychotic ppl and multiple personalities can be serious discussions and not just fucking serial killers or JOKES
Kit: and then just this little thing happens
Kit: and from anyone else it would be FINE
Kit: because you know, whatever, im used to it
Kiki: and the safety is ruined?
Kit: i shouldnt be but i AM
Kit: but when its a group specificially for queer ppl
Kit: its supposed to be SAFE
Kiki: ugghhh she will come around but im sorry you had to deal with that
Kit: and now im APOLOGIZING to her and its just like, i shouldnt have to fucking apologize, but i do, over and over, and so do my friends, and its just for being OURSELVES, and the people who make us feel unsafe? they dont have to apologize
Kit: im just
Kit: why couldnt i just have been cis?
Kit: and straight, and neurotypical, and maybe even fucking NORMAL for a change
In history class, my teacher asks for our pronouns. I sit next to two republicans, one of whom runs an anti-sjw blog, the other who threatened to leave the country when gay marriage was legalized. I heard them to my left, making fun of it: joking about how duh, obviously I’m a boy, what else would I be, a cactus? a tranny?
I have a panic attack, but I do this–
I write down two words: they/them.
I come out.
So here I am. I get to be the cliche: young, white, teenage, assigned-female, knew since I was six that I was neither girl nor boy. I can’t tell the story for all of us. But I can tell the story for me, and maybe that’s enough.
My current girlfriend calls me enby and doodles Kit on her hand without care for my birth name.
Emma calls me they even when my mom glares at her for it.
Hannah helps me write this, even the part that’s mean to her (“I was a butt to you,” she says, and we laugh).
I can finally see a future for myself, after years of suicidality and I’ll probably die by the time I’m 16. I read #RealLiveTransAdult stories with a kind of awe.
My friend who called me a shemale now blogs about trans activism and calls me only by nicknames so she has plausible deniability about avoiding my deadname.
Things do, in the end, get better.
They do not get good, not yet. My parents call me “she”. My boobs still, undeniably, exist. I come out to my teacher, and she calls me “they”, but she also calls me “ma’am”. Leelah Alcorn dies, and the president vows to make her death mean something. For every two steps forward, there is one step back. And for all the violence that comes with being visible, the slurs and the laughs and the threats, I will always prefer it to the violence that comes from being invisible–from knowing that you’re wrong, that your body’s wrong, that people call you a girl and it is wrong, it feels wrong, factually, on a deep level, but also those feelings themselves are wrong wrong wrong because of those years of brainwashing by a society that hates people like you. From not even knowing what’s wrong, just that everything’s wrong, and it’s all too much to grasp. And then you find words, you find people, out there, people like you who stopped being invisible, and you know.
We are here. We’ve been invisible for so long, but we are finally, finally becoming visible.
We are winning.
When I was invisible, I thought I didn’t deserve to be seen. I thought the best I could hope for was a disappearing act: to make myself smaller, quieter, to not bother people with my existence, to cry at night and wear layers so that nobody can see me.
But here I am, performing instead an appearing act: after so many years of being invisible, after so many years trying to be unseen, I am claiming myself, my space, my community: my gender.
I am not Casey.
I am not she.
I am not a girl, a female, a shemale, a tranny.
I am Kit.
I’m trans. I’m visible, for today.
It’s nice to finally meet you.
Kiki: you know why your life SUCKS ASS?
Kit: im sorry
Kiki: because other peoples do too
Kit: i know
Kiki: no dont apologize
Kit: im sorry
Kiki: thats not what im saying
Kiki: im saying
Kiki: other people have the same issues
Kiki: and you have to stand up for them
Kiki: the ones that are gone
Kit: yes i know i shouldnt be making this all about me im sorry
Kiki: the ones who arent here yet
Kiki: no thats not at all what im saying
Kiki: MAKE IT ABOUT YOU
Kiki: SCREAM ABOUT YOU
Kiki: make other people SCREAM about themselves
Kiki: make them realize its OKAY to be about you!
Kiki: that you dont HAVE to worry about other fucking people all the time!!!
Kiki: make everyone DEMAND equality for themselves by demanding it for yourself first
Kiki: start a fucking movement, because other people sure as hell arent
Here I am, for the trans day of visibility: loud. visible. trans.
I hope other people see me.