Wearing It On My Sleeve

When I first decide I wanted to do something about my gender, I made a bracelet out of those plastic pony beads kids and ravers use. It was the colors of the genderfluid flag, because that’s what I thought I might be. And I wore that bracelet every day and every night for over a year. It broke and I fixed it at least three times. But whenever anyone asked what it meant, I would just say nothing, I liked the colors. But really, it meant alot. 
I was wearing my identity on my wrist, reminding myself to be who I was. Who I wanted to be. Reminding myself that it was okay to feel like a girl, even if nobody else knew then. The only one who knew what that bracelet meant was my ex. She had seen me throw it across the room when I was frustrated with being me more than once, and had played with it as we sat next to each other in bed. So when I came out publicly as trans, I slid it onto her wrist, and told her I didn’t need it anymore. 
I debate over whether I want people to know I’m trans or not once or if I have the luxury of looking cis. On one hand, I’m not ashamed of being trans because it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And if someone has a problem with it, you can tell pretty fast usually. Then I know who I don’t want to talk to. But on the other hand, it’s nobody’s business. Nobody can treat you differently if they don’t know anything. Nobody can target you for a hate crime if you don’t “look trans.” When I came out I was so glad to not have that huge secret anymore. So do I really want to start hiding what I am again? Is that even what it would be? It’s a hard decision when you have to think about balancing safety, and activism, and everything else that goes with that choice. 
Until I get to that point, I’ll wear my identity on my sleeve. I don’t hide my pride tattoo. I won’t sugarcoat my opinions on trans issues and trans news stories when they come up. And I won’t ever try to blend in as a boy again. I’m going to be me, whatever that entails. If you don’t like that, it’s your problem, not mine. I’m not ashamed of what I am, even if I’m still working out the details. I’m going to fight like a grrrl whether I blend perfectly or stick out like a sore thumb. You do you. I’m going to do me. 
-Natalie 

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