As a trans person one of the first things you learn is that there is a chance you will be killed for being trans. I’ve known and understood this fact for some time now. Now, being a white transfeminine person, I also know that I am much less likely to be killed for being trans than a transfeminine person of color. But the threat is always there. You try to minimize it in your head. You try to tell yourself you’re in a safer area. Whatever you tell yourself, in never obscures that singular truth: there is a chance that you will be killed for being trans. And what a chance means is that you don’t know when it’s coming. You don’t know if it will or won’t happen to you. You just don’t know. Which is one of the hardest things.
For me, though, I’m not sure this is the hardest part of being trans. I don’t think it’s what’s stopping me from resuming my previous 8 months of HRT and beginning living life in the way I want so badly to live it, to begin living life the way I was when I was on HRT – fearless, whole, confident. No, I think what’s stopping me, what, for me, is the hardest part of being trans is the palpability of hatred toward trans people. It’s this tangled, snaring mess that starts with disgusted look, mistreatment from a police officer, slurs from drunk frat boys, news stories about bathroom bills, about suicides, about conversion therapy. Bit by bit all those things and more grow out of control and merge as they intertangle until you can’t tell what comes from where. But what you know. What you can feel all around you. What you feel every day of your life is a mounting hatred for who you are and “what” you are. And that’s something that when someone asks you why you’re so scared, because you’re in a progressive area, or whatever, you can’t just explain all the time. Because that feeling doesn’t always have a face.
Well it does now. That’s what this election means to me. It is a statement that all that fear I felt engulfing my pride, my courage, my self-esteem, it wasn’t just a projection of some inner self-hatred. It wasn’t me being overly paranoid or hypervigilant because of some bad experiences I’ve had. No. What this election says to me is there are people all around me that quite literally view my life, the lives of my friends, and the lives of so many others as less than, as not having inherent worth, as inconsequential. That may not translate into more hate crimes against trans people, but it absolutely slaps a face onto that claustrophobic feeling of being hated. It’s the face of Donald Trump. A man that 6 months ago I would have said certainly isn’t a joke anymore, but doesn’t have a chance at the Presidency. I likely would have said that cooler heads will prevail and that this country just can’t be made up of people so willing to brush off the bigotry he spews. I was wrong.