Years ago, while wandering a college bookstore during a summer camp, I came across Dykes to Watch Out For, which really helped me deal with things like “that girl is hot” or the more terrifying version “my roommate is hot.”
In the second book, before it gets into the storyline involving the recurring character that are delightful even in their stereotypes, there are a few ‘random’ strips. One is about internalized homophobia, a lesbian haunted by anti-feminist/misogynistic/sexist thoughts in the form of a “total woman with a pitchfork.”
I don’t have a total woman with a pitchfork in my head, but I understand the sentiment.
And it is damn tiring to wake up every morning and have a 50% chance of a glance in the mirror focusing in on my hips with the thought “why won’t they go away?” It is tiring to glance down at my chest and know that though everyone else sees me bound so well, to me my chest sticks out. Internalized oppressions suck. Probably an obvious statement, but somehow I’m usually seen as not having any. I have opened up to a few friends about those incessant thoughts, like that being trans makes me completely undesirable to other people. I don’t very often, because in part I don’t like to complain but also when I know what it is, for me it ends up perpetuating the internalization by speaking it out loud and giving it that voice, that power. And it is damn tiring to have that constant drone of internalization.
But what is worse is that I’m so tired from arguing with my own issues that I don’t call people out nearly as much as I should. Like last weekend, sitting at a gathering at my friend’s place, some guys (who I just met that night) started saying some unfortunate things about mental illness. They had zero clue they were being offensive, but suddenly the light hearted party had me very guarded. My friend looked at me and quietly asked if I wanted her to say something, and I shook my head. Maybe I wasn’t the only person there who had an issue with what was said, and maybe if I hadn’t been there to shake my head, my friend would have said something. But I was just too tired to engage in that conversation at that time, or even be around it. Too tired of fighting my own personal demons to try to educate another person.
It isn’t always like this. Some days I’m soap boxing and nuking like the best of them. I’ll correct the friends who try asking me my birth name, and explain why it is insensitive, and call people out for their misuse of language. But after a while, explaining for the umpteenth time that I don’t ID as a man, I do not want to be a man, and my taking testosterone does not make me a man, and that my experience is only mine not no one else’s so for the last time stop placing another identity on me… all that, just isn’t worth it quite often.
A friend once said of me, “Don’t know how he identifies, but pronouns as a dude.” I always liked that, pronouns as a dude. No terminology like male or man in there. Just dude, and not declaring me one, but saying pronouns as a dude. Simile rather than equaling.
I just can’t figure out how to convey an existence of greys and colors to a black and white world without always calling others out, without always correcting people and talking about it all the time. Because I’ve got battles to fight in my own head too.
This blog contains sexually explicit material, so please be of legal reading age for your location. Any questions, concerns, or things you don't want to leave in a comment, feel free to email me at xmechbeyond AT gmail.com
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