I know how to walk in the world invisibly. I just slam on my camouflage — jeans, polo, fleece, cap — and I’m off, usually in a corner.
But when I walk in the world as a visibly trans person, well, I don’t know how to be invisible doing that.
That’s good, of course. My trans expression is my expression, how I become present and visible in the world. My work clothes are clothes that reveal me, that in concealing the expected parts of me expose the parts so many would prefer stay hidden, the parts that boldly show the heart & the nature my creator placed in me.
“In cultures where gender is rigidly bi-polar, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity,” Anne Bolin said so many years ago, and that reminder is still a challenging wakeup call to those who need to believe in separation to feel secure.
Problem is, of course, I have grown to like separation too. Unless I can hear my own voice, unless I can observe without being unduly acted upon, it’s hard for me to stay in my center. Otherwise I feel like a shuttlecock, battered this way and that by the fears of others.
Walking in the world as a trans woman, well, it mostly means walking in the world with your heart and your nature exposed, naked to the world.
This is, of course, the dream and the fear of every human. We all want to be seen for who we know ourselves to be, and we all fear that others will see us and fear us, separating from us. We all want to be embraced by others for who we are inside, and we all fear that others will end up playing out their own stuff on us, projecting on us and then acting out on those projections, the ones they think they need to stay defended.
For a trans woman, there really is no simple place to duck and hide, protected behind a nice, conventional gender stereotype. We may try to become one of the gang, invisible, but something of our heart is always hanging out because we have had to make it so to not be too far lost to ourselves in our assigned pigeonhole.
You may not know this, but naked people walking in the world, even if it is their nature that is exposed and not their skin, well, they can cause the shit to be stirred a little bit. People who are not comfortable looking at themselves, well they can get a bit crazy seeing what they fear in themselves exposed in others.
Exposed and vulnerable. It is a conceptually good choice, much better than walking in shadow or hiding in the closet, even the closet we carry around with us.
But when naked comes the tranny, it’s not just the people around her who tremble.