Apparently, I come off as scary.
Now, I’m not a big guy. At 5’8″ I’m on the shorter side of average, and I’m not ripped (though maybe if I actually started working out…) At the time, my hair wasn’t spike, I wasn’t wearing any particularly “strange” or fun clothing, hell, I wasn’t even wearing black. I was in a polo and jeans, and yet somehow I still came off as scary.
Why? Because I’m quiet.
I write a lot. Some of it ends up in this blog, some goes other places, but even when I’m not typing at a computer, or scribbling on whatever paper I find, I’m writing in my head. I compose letters to friends, write elaborate stories for myself, and these thoughts are put together in my head as if they were written. I compose sentences, work on poetry, and am so often engaging with, manipulating, and otherwise toying with language that I sometimes forget how little I actually say.
I’m a quiet person, and apparently this can be scary.
People don’t know what goes on in my head. Often, this is a good thing. I am constantly thinking a ton of different things at once, most of which are completely useless and boring. “That color of red would be better if the light was slightly more amber and less yellow,” “Sex?” “Oh look, a penny,” “Should I eat now, later, or both?” and so on. But I’m also thinking about how Edward Said is rolling over in his grave at a video on porn I saw yesterday, that implied all Africans (as in the continent) are savages, forced by their conditions to not use the higher functions of their brain. Actually, I was thinking about how I didn’t even need to have read a lot of post-colonial theory to be incredibly offended at that, but that Bhabha, Said, Spivak and Fanon all gave me so many more ways to dissect the offensiveness. (If you are interested, I’d highly recommend reading Spivak. She is very difficult, but reading her is like reading great poetry… and just as hard.)
A bit ago, when I was in DC with S and visiting with her family, me and her sister went out for frozen yogurt. After, S asked how it went, what we talked about. Except, we didn’t talk about all that much. We were both very quiet people, even with me pushing myself to talk more because I knew said sister was another quiet person. S had no clue how this kind of thing goes, because she has never been a quiet person.
I will sit around my room, quietly typing away, and not think to go downstairs to where people are being social. I’ve been described as enigmatic, mysterious, and a conundrum. I don’t see these things really.
I try not to take up space. Apparently, I succeeded but it made me scary. Before I presented as a guy I never heard that comment. Since, it has come up in a few ways, but nothing quite as explicit as this: someone being afraid of me because I don’t talk much, and so they don’t know what I am thinking. Does it have something to do with the fact I’m seen as a guy who isn’t taking up audible space? Because if the result of my attempts to not take space end up with me being scary, that isn’t a really viable solution.
People look at me differently now, treat me differently now. I am hyper aware of when I’m in a room full of women, that I am trans, that I have rejected that association, that I must be incredibly careful that my deep-voiced, newly-acquired male privilege does not alter the tone of the room. Because even though I don’t want that presence, until I really know another person, they tend to write it onto me.
It’s hard to attempt to use myself as a subversion, as transgression… because I’m always feeling like no matter what I do it is a lose-lose situation. I keep looking for the win. Maybe it’s inside that muffin. I guess I’ll have to eat it to find out.
This entry is for the Hack Gender project I found online. Wish I could remember who I found it through, but my browsing history sadly doesn’t tell me that.
The other night, I was walking down the street in my midwestern hometown with some friends, both old and new. We were a group of four guys and a girl. Or, to paint a more explicit picture, four FtMs and a MtF, but why would that matter? We were just hanging out, in the “alternative” part of town, when a group of girls walks up to us to play the gender-guessing game.
What, you’ve never played this? Good for you!
For those of you who have not played, on either side, here are the rules- A group of ignorant idiots walks up to an individual or group of people with non-traditional gender presentation. Maybe they’re gay, like some hot butch dyke, or maybe they’re like me and a giant genderfucking transrocking individual. Then the group ignorant idiots proceeds to guess the gender(s) of the non-traditionally presented person(s), and usually in a very rude way. They will get up in your face, stare at your neck, demand you to turn around, take off your hat, and generally make themselves unwelcome.
They finally decided, “Girl, girl, girl, boy… I don’t know what the fuck you are!”
I was the lone boy. We all loved that he got them completely confused, but as we were standing there, listening to this, hearing them not question me, hearing how I passed like that felt great. And then I promptly felt like shit. Yes, I want to pass, but I should have spoken up, maybe added to their confusion, or at least told them that they could take their ignorance and shove it up their asses because we are damn proud of who we are. I should have broken their assumptions and said I am proud of my cunt, I don’t want a dick that I can’t strap on… or off. I should have spoken up, and I didn’t.
Part of it was safety. When I’m back in the midwest, I don’t speak up because I don’t feel safe enough to speak up. Except how can we ever change society if people like me don’t speak up?
We were standing there, and my friends tattoos were staring me in the face from his wrists- “If not me, then who?” and “If not now, then when?”
I passed. I fucking passed. In the last few weeks, I haven’t been feeling it. Despite the T, I have not been feeling like I’ve been passing, like my face is any different, like my voice is low enough, any of it. It was the ego boast I needed, and came right about when I needed it most. It felt amazing, and seeing my friend who has been on T a year shows me how much more I have to look forward to. My voice passed, my face passed, they had no questions about me, hell they weren’t even really playing the guessing game with me because they saw no need to. My friends though, weren’t all so lucky. They were labeled by other people, labels that were not theirs, placed onto them without their consent.
It was a moment for a celebration, but rather than use the confidence generated from passing to help stand up for my own thoughts and beliefs, I stood still and silent.
Yet, the next night I was hanging out in another group of fabulous queers and maybe the flirtations of a friend had paid off, or maybe it was the passing of the night before, but suddenly I had the confidence to talk to someone and dispel their ignorance. We talked about everything from violet wands to SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) and RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). No, she wasn’t playing the hateful guessing game. Instead, we were in a long discussion where I was talking about BDSM to her; yes, I was talking to her. It was a clear line of information, but the main difference between her ignorance and the idiots of the night before was her willingness to learn. The night before we were approached, taunted, verbally poked and prodded to determine “what” we were, what kind of freaks were standing there. This night though, her mind was open and we were engaging together. The information flowed one way, but the communication was multidirectional.
She didn’t label me, and I didn’t assume she was stupid. That conversation, was consensual.
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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