In an interview with Elle magazine summarized on HuffPost, Laverne Cox talked about what is potentially the most important part of my trans experience and definitely the one thing I need to work towards to truly love myself as myself. She spoke about the concept of “passing” (when a transgender person looks like a cisgender person) and how for years she tried to attain that goal, but was still misgendered, harassed, and made fun of because she could never seem to “blend in” due to certain physical traits.
This article hit home for me and I immediately bookmarked it to my “health” folder where I keep anything that might benefit my mental or physical health. Her quotations about being mocked and harassed while trying to blend in so vividly mirror the year I spend “full time” and on HRT. All I wanted was for an average person to see me and assume “that’s a woman” like people almost automatically do upon seeing almost anybody. Unfortunately, my stubble was too dark and showed through my foundation, my jaw-bone likely too rigid, my arm hair too dark, and my hair not feminine enough, people referred to me as “sir” if they were being polite… they called me another name if they weren’t. It was this break between what I wanted so badly to achieve and what the reality was that caused me to break down bit by bit, day by day, over the course of that year, before finally going back in the closet because I simply couldn’t take it anymore.
It sounds to me like Laverne Cox went through a similar time. I can’t express to you what it means that someone I see as one of the most beautiful people on the face of the earth, someone I see as one of the most inspirational figures in my life, went through that same kind of struggle that I did. Apart from feeling complete empathy for Laverne because I know how hard that time must have been, it gives me hope. Because if she can do, maybe I can too. And by “doing it” I’m no longer talking about passing. I’m talking about what I realized a while ago needs to be my goal, and what Laverne Cox spoke on as something she has achieved: not seeing myself as beautiful because I look like a cisgender woman, not seeing myself as beautiful despite being trans, but seeing myself as beautiful because I’m trans. Laverne said that she has reached such a place in almost those exact words, and not only does that make me profoundly happy for her, it gives me hope that one day I’ll be saying the same things, and really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, meaning them.