I Won't Apologize For Being Transgender

I Won't Apologize For Being Transgender

Embracing myself and my journey without saying I'm sorry.

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I'm almost 3 years into my transition, and today is the day I've decided I've had enough. No longer will I place myself in the shadows and apologize to others for being transgender. No longer will I be dimming my light to help you see better. No more excusing hateful comments for "being uneducated" on the topic of transitioning. No more trying to see another's perspective on why they're so against others being transgender. It's about time I start living loud, proud, and unapologetically.

It's 2019, being transgender is not breaking news anymore. We see actors, athletes, and famous celebrities who are all transitioning, this is not some new phenomenon. There is no excuse for hatred anymore, we are just people like you. It shouldn't matter what my body looks like underneath my clothes, you're not the one who has to see it, you're not the one I'm romantically involved with, therefore, you don't get to voice your hateful opinion of it to me. Save it. I used to say "oh they just don't agree because they don't know what being transgender truly means" until I realized that I was just making excuses for someone's terrible and ridiculous behaviors. You also shouldn't voice your negative opinions on topics in which you're uneducated.

Maybe you had a negative encounter or experience with a transgender person before. Sorry about it, but don't throw us all in a box and label us the same. Being transgender has absolutely nothing to do with who I am as a person. I am so much more than a transgender male, but if that's all you can see when you look at me then you're missing out terribly. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm a great person, friend, son, lover, you would be lucky to have me on your side. You want to come at me for being transgender? Go for it, but you're going to look silly up against all the wonderful allies I have on my side.

I spent a great deal of my precious time apologizing and warning those involved in my life that they would be prone to hate because of me, my loved ones are automatically guilty by association. I can't apologize for that anymore, because they knew that was something they'd be signing up for when they decided to be in my corner. I'm not going to apologize because someone else has close-minded views and, quite frankly, shitty morals. 99% of the time, the people who have the most to say are the people I've never spoken to before in my life. Our paths have never, and probably never will, cross. My life in no way, shape, or form, effects yours, so why do you get to have an opinion on it? Who made you so high and mighty that you get to dictate what's right and wrong in the way someone lives their life? Especially when this is the first time in all of my almost 22 years of life that I've felt this wave of natural high, that I've been happy to be alive, that I'm finally able to be myself. What satisfaction do you get out of trying to tear me down for that? I want to sit these people down and ask them what they would do if they had a child that came to the realization that they're transgender. For the child's sake, I pray that never happens. "I'll raise my son to be a son." Newsflash buddy, it had absolutely nothing to do with how I was brought up. Good luck.

For a great majority of my transition, especially when things got rough, I asked myself "why me? Why did I have to be transgender?" Lately "why me" has turned into "why not me?" I was strong enough to play the cards I've been dealt, a hand not many people would be able to. I'm mentally strong enough to face unnecessary discrimination, ridicule, and oppression for whom/what I am every day, I've got thick skin, I can handle it, and others cannot. I'm confident enough in myself to not let another's opinion alter my self-image. I've got my own acceptance and approval, I don't need it from anyone else. So why not me? I used to think I wanted to live stealth, and not let anyone know I was a trans male. I didn't want that to shape the way they thought of me. You know what I realized? Who. Cares. This is who I am, and I am damn proud of that, I've never been happier with myself in my entire life. I need to be visible and live authentically for those who can't.

This doesn't just apply to me and being transgender. Before you come at the way someone is living their life and throwing your negative opinions and views in their face, take a deeper look into yours. Why does it bother you so much? What's really wrong? If something as silly as the genitals I have and the way I portray myself as a male really gets you going that much, I think there are some underlying problems you need to deal with. A person and their body should not anger you to such levels. Life, for each of us individually, is hard enough. Don't go adding onto someone's already overwhelming plate. You can disagree with someone and without being an ass about it.

There is something so beautiful about a certain kind of person, you know, the ones who walk in any room like they own it, exuding confidence, radiating positive energy. Someone so comfortable and confident in their own skin, this is now me. I won't apologize for something I truly don't mean, like being proud of the man I am. Dimming myself now will just house resentment towards others I felt I couldn't be authentic around and towards myself for doing so to begin with. It's time I let myself shine without feeling guilty about it, and without saying sorry.

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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To My Girlfriend's Family From Her Trans Boyfriend

All the things I hope you know as the loved ones to my loved one

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Dear loved ones of my loved one,

I'm sure you're experiencing, or have already experienced, a whirlwind of emotions upon discovering your precious daughter, sister, cousin, niece, etc. has become romantically involved with a transman. I'm sure you're shocked and confused, that's okay, let it out. All I ask is that you keep an open mind before shooting the idea down right away. I know your head is flooded with hundreds of questions, concerns, and thoughts.

I want you to know, up front, first and foremost, that I'm sorry. I'm sorry this is something so new and unknown that you now have to face and deal with. I'm sorry if it came as a kick in the gut that knocked the wind out of you or blindsided you in any way. I'm sorry you have to explain who and what I am to those who ask because you know that conversation will happen over and over again. I can't imagine the thoughts, fears, and concerns you are having about your daughter in regards to being romantically involved with someone like me.

I know you're nervous about the whole thing, but I can assure you that I'm working myself up much more than you can imagine. As the people that created, raised, and shaped the remarkable woman I so luckily have the opportunity to share life with, I yearn for your approval. You are the most important and influential people in her life, so no matter what, you will always be important to me as well, regardless of the relationship I share with you.

I know technically speaking, she is an adult and will pursue what she desires (we both know she will, with that stubborn yet determined mindset of hers), but I hope to have your approval anyway. I want you to know I'm an open book and I'm willing to answer any question you could possibly think of and communicate with you to your heart's desire. I'm sure you're wishing the circumstances were different and trust me, I wish that every day as well. I didn't ask for this complicated life and I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy, but these are the cards we've been dealt so let's play them.

She is so much stronger mentally than you could ever give her credit for, and it amazes me every day. Thankfully, this cruel world has not taken away her softness or compassion. When it comes to the scrutiny and ridicule I face due to being transgender, she takes it ten thousand times better than I ever could.

She is the one who keeps me calm and reminds me that those hateful words from others are just that; words. Whenever it comes down to it, she's always the first one to defend me no matter how big the opponent, no hesitation or questions asked. My confidence has skyrocketed with her around. She has shown me unconditional love when I was at my lowest and couldn't love myself, because of her I do love myself again. I can't begin to describe how refreshing it is to have someone who looks at me as a person, as a man, instead of a thing.

When it comes down to it, all background noise aside, I fell in love with your daughter. I couldn't have prevented that if I tried. You and I both know she is without a doubt, the greatest thing to ever grace this Earth. I know you're hesitant and maybe even skeptical about our relationship, but I need to drive it home that she is safe with me. I wish you could see the way I look at her and how I'm completely captivated by every little thing she does. I wish you knew how she single-handedly put all the stars in my sky and how she makes my day every day by just existing. I wish you knew how deeply I care about her and that I'm always keeping her best interests at heart.

She is always my #1 priority and nothing could ever take her place. I wish you knew how much fun we have together and how much I make her laugh with my terrible jokes. Her real, throaty, and slightly obnoxious but somehow still adorable laugh. You know the exact one I'm talking about, you can hear it now; head thrown back, eyes closed and squinted, mouth wide open with her hand on her stomach, that's the one. That beautiful, infectious laugh. I wish you knew how well we go together, and I promise I'm not just saying that. 90% of the time we don't even have to verbally speak to know exactly what the other is thinking or feeling.

She reads my mind and finishes my sentences, she truly is the best friend I've ever had. I wish you knew how happy we make each other, how rarely we fight, and how healthy our relationship is. I wish you knew how I catch my breath every time I look at her, her natural beauty leaves me in awe every time glance I get. I wish you knew how she makes me a better person, more every day than the one before, and how I only hope I do the same for her.

Above all, I want you to know, I need you to know that she's safe. I, myself, would never even think of doing anything in the world that would hurt her or jeopardize losing her. She is such a bright and radiant person, inside and out, I would never do anything to dim her light. Like everyone she's come across, my life is so much better because she is in it, and after tasting the perfection that life can be, I never want to go back to how things were without her around. I hope you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that while she's with me, I'm always doing everything in my power to protect her.

I know this is stomach turning to hear as a parent, especially when the child is their youngest, but I do love her with everything I have in me. It's real, but it's also pure, and I am so lucky to love her. I hope you know she'll never have to face any obstacle or problem alone, no matter how big or small. She's my teammate. I only want the absolute best for her and I promise I'll never let her stray from chasing her dreams.

What I love most about her is her free spirit that runs wild, I'll never try to cage that. The thought of seeing her upset turns my stomach and I would much rather feel any amount of pain myself than for her to have to. She is the light of my life, I will never find another like her, so I can promise you wholeheartedly that I'll do all I can to keep that beautiful smile on her face.

Being transgender in no way, shape, or form, inhibits my ability to love and cherish your daughter with every fiber of my being. If anything, the unconditional love she has shown me despite who I am has only made me more capable of doing so. No matter what body I have, it always has been and always will be her. I'm not trying to take anyone's place, because no one can take your place, that's just that.

But at the end of the day and with all due respect, I love your daughter and I would never dream of leaving her side, I'm not going anywhere. I hope you're damn proud, you did an outstanding job raising such a caring and selfless woman. She is the most beautiful and radiant individual I've ever had the privilege of meeting, right down to her soul. I promise you she's in good hands.

You have given me the greatest gift I could ever receive and so much more, all I can say is thank you.

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