If you are trans, the odds are high that the most important thing you consider when you get dressed in the morning is how you can be well enough defended to walk through the world.
You see, if a non-trans person goes into the world dressed less than perfectly, some might think them sloppy or without taste.
But if a trans person goes into the world dressed less than perfectly, some might consider that a reason to deny them their gender.
There are lots of ways to dress for defense.
Some make it clear that their outfit is a costume, attempting to defend the normative identity beneath.
Some dress in androgynous ways and don’t expect to be gendered. They avoid gendered choices so those choices can’t be considered as wrong, and also to avoid the gaze that potent gender expression can bring.
Some work very hard to conceal their biology and history, dressing to hide rather than to project.
Some just put on a magical talisman, and let the amulet protect them.
Ms. Rachelle says that in her early days, when she didn’t pass she felt like a failed transsexual. After all, can’t a true transsexual always pass as being born female?
It’s this notion that passing is the mark of a true transsexual that becomes so challenging. It can feel like people want to rate our truthfulness by our believability, and only if we can be believably female-imitating are we really transsexual. This, I suspect, is why many transsexuals go to extreme lengths to alter their body, because every procedure they pay for and submit to makes them more credible, at least in their own minds.
I have real issues with the idea that the more doctors who stitch their name into your body, the more credible and truthful you are. My truthfulness, I fear, comes from acknowledging my biology and history as well as expressing my nature and spirit.
I just wish others always saw it that way.
When I get dressed, it’s very easy for me to get immersed in concealment too. Heck, I want to be female bodied, too, want it do bad I prayed for it every night of my youth. It’s just that I don’t believe that being altered to appear female by doctors actually does make you female, even though I damn well wish it would.
I understand how to dress for work. That’s simple. But if I don’t have a work appointment, well, jeans, shirt and fleece are jeans shirt and fleece, right?
To close doors, though, is to open them. Yet closing doors means being exposed, and too often I see transpeople whose exposure leads them to defense, a closing off of their own vulnerability. After all, it’s not everyday we feel powerful and divine enough to suffer more slings and arrows than absolutely necessary.
We get up in the morning and we get dressed. And we wonder how to be both true to ourselves and blended into society today, again, one more day.
We hide and expose, reveal and conceal, trying to make that balance, every time we get dressed.