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Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a day every year where we remember the names of those who were murdered simply for being transgender. The vast majority of these people are always trans women. More specifically, trans women of color.

This year, the list is 226 names long. That may not seem like a lot considering there are seven billion people on this planet, until you start doing the math. I’m not going to break down a bunch of numbers and statistics here for you. Partly because that wouldn’t be super important at the moment and partly because I’d prefer not to reduce trans people down to a bunch of numbers. We’re actual people. The important thing to know is we are just .3% of the population, yet we are murdered at a rate higher than any other group of people. Even just looking at anti-LGBT violence, a very disproportionately high number of attacks are against the T. And, again, it’s even worse for trans women of color. A trans person is reported murdered every 32 hours in the world. Why? Because we live in a culture that sees trans people as, at best, a punchline for a joke and, at worst, inhuman.

Anyway, I’m actually going to hold up right there and keep this short. There are a lot of people out there writing much better things than I could ever hope to write. Take some time to check out the hashtags on Twitter and Tumblr.

It’s scary out there. The other day, my coworker asked me how I even leave the house every day. I didn’t have an answer.

10

2014 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon – 2:09:40

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon starting line

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon has been a race my wife and I have had our eyes on for a while, but since it falls outside of our normal Disney schedule it’s taken us a few years to finally get around to it.. Typically, we head down in January for Marathon Weekend and do the Goofy Challenge (as we are in two months), but a race centered around food and drinking? Perfect! So this year, we skipped the January trip and saved it for November.

Before the race

Wine and Dine is a nighttime race, it starts at 10pm, so it’s a bit different than most other races out there. We had gotten down to Disney on Thursday evening and gone right to the parks and then spent Friday and Saturday in the parks as well so we were already kind of tired from constantly being on our feet. Though, that’s the best thing about runDisney races, we just have fun, we don’t care about times. There’s no pressure to push yourself hard.

We had lunch at the 50s Prime Time Cafe at 2:45 and then went straight back to the resort to rest and get ready for the race. The wife took an hour and a half nap or so, but I just laid in bed and opted for a short 20 minute nap. Once we were up and ready to go, we headed off the to the bus stop for our ride over to ESPN Wide World of Sports. We were on the early side so, by the time we got there, we had a ton of time to chill out. I had been tweeting with some folks who were looking to meet up so we grabbed a spot near the bag drop-off and relaxed. Not long after that, I spotted Krissy and our new friend Patrick walking by. I shouted over to them and they joined us. The always-thinking Krissy had a throwaway tablecloth on her to use as a picnic blanket so we all hung out and relaxed some more while we worried about the impending rain.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Ready to go!

Over the course of the next hour, our group grew to include some of my favorite #runchat buddies and twitter friends Lauren, Nathan, and Heather and a quick hello from Ashley. But before we knew it, it was time to head over to the corrals.

We were in corral A with Krissy so we headed over there together and staked out a nice spot in the middle right in front of the little announcer stage. While hanging out, an older gentleman came up to my wife and asked what she was looking to run since her bib number was near his. He seemed a tad ticked off when she replied that she wasn’t thinking about time and just looking to have fun instead of going for “a 1:35″ finish like he was. “Oh, you’re not taking it seriously.” Shortly after that, we were joined by new friends Audrey and Patrick again.

As we got closer to race time, the rain we were all worried about finally joined us. We’d all been checking the forecast furiously in the days leading up to the race and hoping the rain would hold off, but as the chance of precipitation climbed to 100% just around the start time, we knew the score. Luckily, the rain at least stayed light until the race started…for those of us in the earlier corrals anyway. I’m sure it was bit more of a miserable start for those further back.

The race

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Typical me

After a good 45 minutes of hanging out in the corral, the race was finally off with the obligatory runDisney fireworks. We all took off a bit faster than I had planned to run given my current state of running, but it was a pace that felt good at the time and was at least doable for a while. Krissy and Patrick took off even faster after about a quarter mile and were gone, leaving Audrey, my wife, and myself to hold down the fort at our current pace.

As the first couple miles went by, the rain started to pick up, but we had warmed up so it wasn’t too bad. We hit a few puddles and our shoes got soaked making it your typical rain run. Unfortunately, the rain scared away many of the characters and entertainment from the course so it wasn’t your typical runDisney experience.

Before we knew it, we were making our way into the dark, wet, and animal-less Animal Kingdom. We were having fun running together, though, so it wasn’t too much of a drag. We passed Krissy as she had stopped for a quick photo-op and then she was off again. And just like that, we were back out on the open roads of inter-park Disney purgatory for our trip over to Hollywood Studios, but not before I nearly drowned in a giant puddle I didn’t see until I was already swimming in it.

As we approached the 10k mark, the wife’s IT band issues were starting to creep up so we decided to walk for a bit instead of pushing it and risking it turning into a full-fledged injury. From here on out, we decided to do a bit of a run/walk thing, but the running was still at the same pace we had been running. To be honest, I didn’t mind at all. I was tired and starting to doubt I could keep the faster pace up anyway. While the rain wasn’t so bad when we were running, it was much more of a nuisance while we were walking.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Here I am doing it again

We made our way into Hollywood Studios right around the ninth mile marker and knew, from here on out, we were going to have constant stuff to look at. We rounded by Rockin’ Roller Coaster, down Sunset Blvd, around Sorcerer Mickey’s hat, through part of the recently-defunct Backlot Tour, and right down the middle of the Osbourne lights. It was a great little section there.

Then it was time to make our way out of the park and head down along the river to the Boardwalk. Here, we decided to take another little walk break which got us yelled at by a catty runner who thought she was hot shit telling us we should be walking on the right side of the path. Last I checked, there was no unwritten rule about which side you walk on, you just make sure to get off to the side as quickly as possible without getting in anyone’s way.

Shortly after that little encounter, we picked it up again and made it our personal mission to fly by Ms Catness, which we did with ease. After our little jaunt by the Boardwalk, it was time for Epcot. The route through Epcot was much different than we’re used to from the Marathon Weekend races so it was a nice change of pace. We made our way through Futureworld this time and it was awesome.

We picked up the pace for a nice little finish and were relieved to be done so we could get to some dry clothes.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Toy Story

A short pause to say hi to Buzz and Woody!

We ran a 2:09, which is a little slower than I had planned, but I didn’t mind. Again, I don’t do Disney races for time, I just like to have fun and I DID! Despite the rain, the race was a lot of fun, especially thanks to our new friend Audrey who stuck with us the entire time.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Wife, Audrey, and me!

Post race…the changing tent

I’m putting this as its own section because, well, it was kind of awful. I had packed plenty of dry clothes to change into after the race and had debated waiting until I got into the park to change in a bathroom, but I really wanted out of my cold, wet clothes so I opted for the changing tent. I was really hoping there would be private changing areas inside and was prepared to wait for them.

There were no private changing areas.

Instead, there were just two big open areas. A men’s one and a women’s one. This was absolutely terrifying to me as a trans woman. Having to change in a giant area with other women is not something a women with a penis looks forward to. And it was packed too! With that many people, you know there’s at least a couple transphobes who would make a huge deal out of it if they knew I’m trans.

The worst part was that I had to change my underwear, too, since I was soaked all the way through. Luckily, my wife was there to hold the mylar blanket I’d just gotten at the finish around me and I was able get my bottoms changed without anyone seeing anything that might get me screamed for my existence. Without her there, I wouldn’t have been able to change. I would have had to wait until I got into Epcot to use a bathroom stall. Anyway, once I got the bottom done, I didn’t worry too much about the top, but I wanted out of there as quickly as possible.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon medal

Obligatory bling shot

Post race…the party

With that debacle out of the way, we threw on our ponchos (thanks, Krissy!) and headed into Epcot for the post race party. Of course, it was still raining a bit and I was still wearing my soaked running shoes and socks, but everything was still open. There was a slight bit of misery in the air as you could just feel everyone being cold and wet and not happy about it, but we did a lap around the World Showcase while stopping at numerous Food and Wine Festival huts for various nomming. After our lap, though, we were ready to retire for the evening. We were cold, wet, and tired. It was around 2am already…but there were still people running. :/

Thoughts

Despite the weather being awful, it was still a ton of fun and I’d definitely do the race again, but it’s probably low on my list right now. It’s tough to run a race that starts at 10pm, but all that food afterwards is a nice little reward.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Whoop!

4

One year

Tumblr Halloween party

Tumblr Halloween party

A year ago yesterday, I went to bed at the end of the day knowing it was the end of my last day living a lie. The next day, I woke up no longer living a double life. I was Amelia and that was it.

While my past life sometimes feels so long ago as to almost stop seeming real, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already since I “went live.” Compared to a year ago, I have a totally new job, live in a new city, have a new legal name, am 100% out as transgender to the entire world, have a tattoo, spend 100% less time living a lie, and just understand so much more about the world/life/everything; however, by far, the most remarkable thing about where I am now is how unremarkable everyday life is. It’s boring. It’s…perfect.

Just hanging with my fellow Tumblr ladies and the guys working the Instagram booth

Just hanging with my fellow Tumblr ladies and the guys working the Instagram booth

For a while, transition can be kind of crazy. There are a thousand things to deal with and consider; it can be hard to keep with yourself sometimes, but things have a way of slowing down later on. There’s very little to do anymore except live my normal life. I take some pills everyday and inject myself with estrogen once a week, I get the occasional labs done to check my hormone levels, and that’s really about it. Being trans is becoming less and less of a focal point in my life with each day. I will always be trans and I will always be open about it and talk about it and pretty much wear it on my sleeve as I do. I love being trans (most of the time). However, I spend less time thinking about it and it spends less time controlling my life.

If you’re a regular reader here or you know me in meatspace, you know that I’ve had some emotionally difficult times in the last few months. I even questioned whether this was all worth it. The thing is, when I questioned that, I was really stressed and dealing with a lot of things going on. As I sit here typing this now, there isn’t even a question. Nothing in that post has stopped being true, but it’s easier to clearly see how much better life is and how much less miserable I am. It’s kind of amazing.

Everyday Amelia

Everyday Amelia

All that said, one thing I don’t ever want to lose sight of, though, is how easy I’ve had it. I came out at a job where everyone was super awesome and accepting to the point where it wasn’t even really a thing. Now, I work at a place which is possibly even more accepting and no one even knows my old name or what I looked like or anything about my life before transition. Being trans just isn’t even a thing there. I’m also lucky in that I have a lot of passing privilege. I’ve said it before, but I don’t care about passing. I want people to see me as a woman and it’s really upsetting when I look in the mirror and think I look like a dude, but I have zero interest in trying to “pass” as a cisgender woman. I’m not cis and I don’t want to be cis. I’m trans and I’m proud of that and I am open about that. It’s just that I’m also a woman and I want to be seen as that first. I’m a woman who just so happens to be trans.

Really, I don’t even know what else to say about it. I’ve been “full time” (god, I hate that term) for a year now which seems like a pretty big deal, but it’s mostly boring. I go about my life like any other woman does. It’s routine now. I wouldn’t say “I’m done transitioning” though. I don’t even really know what that would mean. I’m done with a lot of stuff related to transition and it’s no longer a thing I’m actively working on, but to say I’m done transitioning would make it seem so final. It would make it seem as if I’m done growing and learning. I don’t think that could ever be the case. I wouldn’t want it to be. I will always be transitioning in some way. We all are, whether you’re trans or not.

3

Training recap: October 13-26

Yeah, so I’m throwing two weeks of running in here since I didn’t post last week. I was hoping to really get back to things last week, but that didn’t quite happen.

I woke up sick last Sunday and ended up missing running in the first half the week because of that. And then Thursday and Friday were Hackday at work so I didn’t get to run because of that. My plan for the weekend was to make up as much as possible, but I was still feeling my cold enough on Saturday to cut a planned 12-miler down to just eight miles midway through. On Sunday, I got back out there for ten miles. I really had to fight through though. My legs were tired and asked me to stop around mile two and I was nauseous for the first half, but I refused to give up. I needed a running win for the week so I fought on. I got through and had a decent pace, so yay for that!

Two weeks ago, I managed to get up to 25 miles with four runs. I was feeling pretty good about that and thinking it was going to lead into last week being great, but NOPE!

We’ll see how this week goes, but Disney Wine and Dine is coming up next weekend so there’s that to be excited for. After that, I really need to get my shit together and get prepared for Goofy. At this point, best case scenario is that it’s just a tough weekend.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for now, but here’s a pic of me sick in bed with Fry instead of running and going to work.

sick :(

sick :(

2

Training recap: 10/6-10/12

Last week was crazy intense with my trip to the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing (probably more on that soon), but I did manage to get four runs in!

I ran two mornings while away in Phoenix which is what I was hoping to pull off, so I can’t complain. My Wednesday morning run was done on the hotel treadmill which was my first treadmill run since January, I believe. It was sort of torture, but I did my four miles and didn’t entirely want to kill myself! I ended up being too exhausted from everything going on Thursday and Friday to get up and run so I made it up with a run on Saturday morning before catching my flight home. This time, I actually ran outside, though. I didn’t know the area at all since I’ve never been to Phoenix so I just did two laps around the area near the hotel for four miles total, but it was a surprisingly fast run and felt amazing.

Sunday’s long run was planned to be ten miles, I but I didn’t really expect that to happen considering how exhausted I was. I ran seven miles and stopped, but since I was still two miles from home, I decided to at least hit eight miles and cut down on the walk home. I’m not too disappointed by it though, I knew this was likely to be the case.

The good news, though, is that all my fall craziness is over! Mostly. I’ve got nothing but normal life from now until our Disney Wine & Dine racation next month! So I’ve got no excuse to not start pumping up the miles in preparation for the Goofy Challenge in January! I’ve also got no excuses to start blogging more again!

2014 Grace Hopper Celebration  badge

This was a blast!

1

Training recap: 9/29-10/5

Finally, we moved! Last week was CRAZY trying to get everything done and get ourselves to the new place, but we made it and it’s awesome! I didn’t get to run at all during the week, but I’m not too surprised by that, I sort of expected it.

On Saturday, I got up early and knocked out a nice 10-miler in Liberty State Park with the company of the wife and Dori for the first couple of miles. Sadly, this was my longest run in three months, but I’m glad to finally have double-digit mile runs in my life again. After the run, we got ready real quickly and headed down to South Jersey for another wedding. This time it was my ex-girlfriend’s wedding, but it was total blast. We’re still very good friends and I consider her and her family to be family so it was great to celebrate with them. For some of her extended family on her dad’s side, it was the first time I’ve seen them in years, since way before I transitioned, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from them, but it was a complete non-thing at all. It didn’t even really come up. Everyone just treated me the same as they did before. It was really nice.

College radio kids all grown up...sort of.

College radio kids all grown up…sort of.

Sunday morning we drove back home and tried to do some more unpacking before going out for a five-miler. I told myself it had to be a recovery run since my legs were really feeling the ten-miles and hours of dancing, but my legs had other plans. I ended up doing more of a tempo pace, but I felt good.

I’m starting to think my legs are getting ready to start pushing the training again. I hope so. I want to run fast again! This week I’m away at the Grace Hopper Celebration, a conference for women in tech, so it’s going to be another crazy week, but things should be calming down after this and life should be closer to some sort of normal again. Maybe.

NYC skyline from Jersey City

Gotta respect this view of from my new running route!

2

Training recap: 9/22-9/28

Yeah, last week didn’t quite go how I had hoped with running. My weekday runs went according to plan, but the weekend was a bit of a disaster.

I was supposed to get up early as hell on Saturday to knock out ten miles and then get ready to go to a wedding, but when the alarm went off at 5:30, I decided a three-hour snooze-a-thon would be a better idea. No run happened, but my body was definitely telling me I needed some sleep and I listened. The wedding was a blast though!

On Sunday, we got up early to head home and get back to work with packing since we’re loading up the truck tonight and then we have to be out tomorrow. I also found out my new insurance doesn’t cover injectable estradiol, which is a bit of a problem for me. Just another thing on the list of shit I’ve got to get sorted out. Luckily, the day was very productive otherwise. I was able to squeeze in a five-miler in the evening, but it was anything but a good run. Oh well.

I closed out the week with just three runs for seventeen miles. Unfortunately, this week won’t be any better thanks to the move.

Couple o' hotties right here

Couple o’ hotties right here

Hanging on the bus

Hanging on the bus

Mustache time!

Mustache time!

8

Has it been worth it?

This has been a rough week emotionally. Like, just brutal. I’m just starting to really recover from Monday, but it’s left me with a lot of lingering feelings. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about transition’s affect on me. Has it really been a net positive on my life? I think the answer is yes, but it’s not firm and clear-cut answer.

Much of my dysphoria is gone and I’m happier with who I am and my ability to be something closer to “myself.” I don’t hate myself anymore and my time spent thinking about suicide is greatly decreased–though, not erased. There is much less disconnect between me and who I present myself as and it’s continuing to decrease every day. I am finally happy with my gender. I no longer feel alien to myself. I’m a happier me.

But that’s only part of the story. My life is harder now. One gigantic problem in my life has now been replaced by many much smaller onesMy marriage is still in existence and solid, but it has taken a massive beating. I’m noticeably less able to handle high-stress situations or many problems at all once. I now feel emotionally fragile in many ways. The source of general unhappiness is no longer within me, but it’s external, from how I am treated by others. I’ve relinquished some control over my mood and emotions to the outside world. This is still something I’m struggling with.

I, surprisingly, spend more time feeling alienated from others and generally out of place. Not only do I feel constantly judged, but I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I feel awkward around groups of women, as I am constantly in fear that they don’t really see me as one of them. And I, obviously, don’t fit in around men. I used to be able to fake it enough around groups of guys to feel accepted (ish), but I can’t do that anymore. I don’t even want to. In mixed company, I feel like I have no idea where I stand.

I actually don’t even really trust many men at all. If I’m being honest, my default is to hate all men and find them entirely untrustworthy. Most of this stems from knowing how men are and what they say when they don’t think any women are around. I essentially lived as a spy behind enemy lines for three decades and what I learned, saw, and experienced is horrifying to me. No, it’s “not all men,” but it’s enough that I have to start with this mindset and require men to prove themselves otherwise. Either way, it’s a lot of added complication in life.

This is really just the start of it, I could go on and on forever, but these are the things on my mind this week. 

While the net effect, positive or negative, is not a black and white answer, whether transitioning was the right decision is an unquestionable yes. I am hopeful that, over time, some of these smaller problems will either fade away or be able to be fixed with a little effort. However, in the meantime, I am at the mercy of the society around me. People repeatedly try to tell me I’m strong or brave or whatever the fuck, but I don’t think I’m brave at all and my strength is more survival than anything else. I have limits and they’re different than they were pre-transition. I’m still learning what they are.

But the thing about all of this is, my overall feeling on it all fluctuates regularly. After a super awesome good week, none of the negatives register with me. During those weeks, I am better, life is better, everything is better. Obviously, though, that’s not the problem. It’s weeks like this one that are the struggle. All I can focus on is the negative.

About how I feel this week.

About how I feel this week.

6

When being assaulted isn’t even the worst part of your day

If you follow me on Twitter, you briefly saw some of this last night, but I didn’t include any details. So let me tell you about my day yesterday…

I’ll start at the beginning of my day. As many of you are aware, my wife and I are moving soon and trying to get all ready for that. Part of this has involved many phone calls. Almost without exception, using the phone is a high anxiety thing for me. I’ve never much liked the phone, it just makes me really uncomfortable, but since transitioning it’s a whole new level of torture…panic-attack inducing, even. Because of my voice, I get misgendered almost 100% of the time. Even after correcting the person on the other end of the line, they often still can’t grasp calling me “ma’am” instead of “sir.” You’d think knowing my name is Amelia would be enough, but it never seems to be.

Like I said, I’ve had to make a ton of phone calls for things like closing our utility accounts here, opening accounts there, parking permits, the moving truck, and all that other fun stuff that comes with moving. All of the accounts here are in my name and I generally manage our finances so it makes sense to keep them that way. Unfortunately, that means I have to be the one to call and, even more unfortunately, the accounts I’m closing are all under my birth name since they were opened prior to transitioning. So this requires having to pretend to be old me and put up with the misgendering.

Yesterday morning, I had to make about six different phone calls in the morning and it took a lot out of me emotionally to have to deal with it it all. By the end of the day, I was just barely starting to shake it off, but I was having a serious “I look like a dude” kind of day so I still wasn’t in the best of shape. I left work a few minutes early so I could catch an earlier train and I made it just in time to grab a seat on what became a standing-room only train.

Sitting on the train, already hating myself and feeling like I really stood out as a freak (which is not how I typically feel), I took out my phone to entertain myself, as I normally do. I caught up on Twitter and then moved over to Tumblr before finally getting to Facebook. As I was scrolling through Facebook, I got to some photos from my friend’s wedding shower last month. There were a good 200 of them, but I was running low on stuff to look at so I decided to flick through them all. Of the 200, only a handful had me in them, which is a good thing, but as I got to each photo I was in, I felt more and more horrible about myself. I know I’m not very photogenic–before you decide to tell me otherwise, realize that the selfies I post are usually the result of more than a dozen takes, editing in two different apps, and then double-filtered–but these were exceptionally bad. As I looked at them, I couldn’t see a woman in there at all. The only thing I could see was “the man I used to be.” This piled onto how I already felt about myself for the day and really kicked me in the ladyballs. I felt hideous and freakish and horribly dysphoric. I wanted to curl up in a ball and die. The whole thing put me into a nice suicidally depressed state.

The next part requires a little backstory…most days, my wife drops me off at the train station closest to our house. There isn’t really a good parking option for that station so it just makes sense to do it this way. Less headaches. However, my wife had a work trip followed by a personal trip that resulted in her not being able to drive me for the last four days, leaving me to have to drive myself to the station. Since the parking isn’t great there, I drove up to the next station where there is parking…sort of. For about a half mile radius around the train station, the streets are all resident-only parking and permits are required. However, if you’re willing to walk, there are no permits required beyond that. These are all residential streets so you’re awkwardly parking in front of random houses, but people do it. I don’t make a habit of it because I know I would be highly annoyed about people doing it if I lived there, but my options were limited and it was just for four days. The first three days were completely fine and there were no issues other than getting a serious death stare from the guy who lives in the first house outside of the permit zone.

Yesterday was different though. I got off the train, feeling nearly suicidally depressed, dysphoric, and self-hating, but I was still in enough control of my emotions to know it’d pass and I’d be fine. Barely. As I got close to my car, I saw an old Chinese man yelling at a young man. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I could figure it out. The younger man was parked in front of the same house as I was, two cars up. I figured “great, now this guy is going to fuck with me.” I was right.

As I got up to my car, the old man came over to me and started screaming at me about parking there. He was obviously very upset, but he was also clearly a first-generation American and spoke very little English. If I could guess, his vocabulary must have been only a couple hundred words. I felt a bit bad for him, at first, with how much he was struggling to communicate and that he couldn’t understand what I was saying.

I didn’t want to get into it with him. I’m a transgender woman and it was dark out now and I was alone. While I consider the area to be reasonably safe, I was already in a very compromised emotional state and red flags for my safety started going up as I quickly thought of all the bad places this could end up going.

I ignored him and got in my car. I already had my keys in my hand so I started up and tried to make a quick getaway. Unfortunately, he crossed right in front of my car and wouldn’t move. He leaned up against my car while screaming at me and blocked any attempt for me to leave. I tried to back up, but there wasn’t enough room to back out of the spot.

I rolled down the window and screamed at him to get off of my car and let me leave, but he refused and continued to lean up against it and pound his hand on it.

I was being kept there against my will and being verbally assaulted. I felt terrified and alone.

He screamed that he was going to call the police and report me for parking there. I tried to explain to him that this street was not a permit parking street and anyone could park there. I also tried to explain that I understood where he was coming from, but I had done nothing wrong. He couldn’t understand me, but got in my face screaming at me and continued to physically block my ability to leave. I then tried to explain to him that what he was doing was assault and the police, which he had called, were going to arrest him and I would press charges. He didn’t seem to fully understand and was undeterred.

At this point, the younger man he was originally yelling at came back. He had moved his car down the street so the older man couldn’t block him and then walked back up to try to help me.

At first, I was glad that he was back to help. But then, he started with the misgendering. He kept calling me “man” and “he” even after I asked him not to. Eventually, after the fourth or fifth time, I took a stand against him and said “stop calling me he and man. I am a woman.”

Now, I felt even more scared. I had this younger man who was trying to help me, but was actually attacking me verbally without even realizing it. All I wanted was to go home and escape this, but I was being physically blocked from moving my car and stuck standing between the two of them. I had one man screaming at me about my car and the other one stripping me of my identity with no real way to escape. I knew if I just walked or ran away, the younger man wouldn’t stop me, but I couldn’t even do that. At this point, my car was half in the middle the street and couldn’t be left where it was. If it was, it would have been towed for blocking the street. And I couldn’t risk possibly running over this older man. Any action on my part could have only made my situation even worse.

At one point, some neighbors came out and tried to reason with the man, he wouldn’t listen. They quickly gave up after telling him he was going to get arrested, but I feared other neighbors who might turn on me coming out as well.

There was nothing I could do except wait for the cops to get there, which was yet another terrifying element of this. The police are rarely kind to trans folk. In most cases, they cannot be trusted to treat us with respect and humanity. In the worst cases, they assault us even further. There is good reason why trans people don’t trust the police and often don’t report things to them. It’s actually safer not to.

I had no idea what was going to happen with the police. I knew I was not, in any way, in the wrong, but there was no way for me to know if the police were going to essentially punish me for being trans.

The younger man asked me if I wanted him to stay and, despite being repeatedly misgendered by him, that seemed like the better option. He didn’t quite seem to understand my level of being upset and tried to calm me down a little. Eventually, knowing he was not a threat to my physical safety, I said “look, you don’t understand how terrifying it is to be kept somewhere against your will, especially as a transgender women.” I immediately regretted saying that last part. I wanted to somehow convey why this was such a big deal to me and why I was not able to keep my cool, but I wish I hadn’t.

This is where things became invasive. He asked me if this is my real voice. I said it was and he followed up asking me if I had some sort of a procedure done on it. I was mortified. What? Why was he asking about my voice?! Then it hit me, he thought I was a transgender man and was questioning how my voice was so deep. He thought I was “born a woman and wanted to be a man,” to use the words he ended up saying a few seconds later. I corrected him with my standard “when I was born, the doctor said ‘it’s a boy!’ I disagree.”

He sort of half apologized, but then started asking me more questions about my being trans and said things like “you think and feel like you’re a woman, okay. I get it.” This felt like the only part of my day I could push back against so I stood firm here. I said “I don’t think I am a woman. I AM a woman.” I asked him to tell me what makes him a man without mentioning anything physical. When he replied with basically “I don’t know, I just am,” I quickly said “that’s how I feel about being a woman. I just am.” He finally seemed to get it and the tensions dropped a bit on that front. He asked my name and, after I told him, he said it was his sister’s name. I felt like I had at least won one of my battles for the day, but I wasn’t unscathed by it. It’s kind of like a “you should see the other guy” situation.

Meanwhile, the older man is still blocking my car and yelling at me about the cops coming. I was still being held there against my will. I was still terrified of other neighbors who may end up being violent against me for being transgender. And I was still scared of what was going to happen when the police got there.

Eventually, the cops showed up. I was relieved to see it was two female cops. This doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be okay, but it’s a big step in the safer direction. The younger man walked over and quickly explained what happened and the cops told us both to leave and called the older man over to explain that he was wrong and couldn’t do what he was doing.

I could have stayed and decided to press charges against the older man and, despite the fact that he was an upset old man who didn’t speak English, I probably should have. But I needed to get out of that situation as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to deal with the cops. I didn’t want to risk it getting worse for me.

I cried most of the way home. When I walked into the house, I went straight upstairs and curled up in a ball on the bed…which had no sheets on it and had just been sprayed with flea killer stuff.

This could have been a lot worse. I wasn’t physically hit, no hands were placed upon me. The assault part had nothing to do with me being trans. I was able to eventually leave physically unharmed.

But my day yesterday is a perfect example of how our society is not trans-friendly. Being trans means being constantly under attack from every angle. Right from the beginning yesterday, my very identity was under attack. I had my gender and who I am stripped from me. I was forced to explain my very existence to a stranger. I tore myself down to a near suicidal level simply because I’ve been conditioned by our society to pick apart my appearance. And it’s not just the way all women pick themselves apart because of the unfair standards placed on us. That‘s a good day for me. This was picking apart a large and important part of who I am. It wasn’t “am I pretty enough,” it was “do I even look like a woman?”

Misgendering someone is an assault on them. It’s emotionally and mentally destroying. On its own, being held against my will wasn’t the worst part of my day. Without all the other stuff, if I wasn’t trans, I could have handled this situation much better. I wouldn’t have feared for my safety. I wouldn’t have feared the cops. I wouldn’t have gone home in tears and felt violated. But, as a trans person, this was my nightmare. I had no real escape plan. The control over my safety and my situation was taken from me, along with my identity, at a time when my emotional and mental state was already compromised.

Under normal circumstances, I don’t allow myself into situations where my safety is at risk with no clear exit plan. I am constantly aware of my surroundings and how to escape if needed. When I walk down the street alone, I am unapproachable. I make myself cold and uninviting. I keep a straight face with no emotion. I keep my stare focused and aimed down the street. Sometimes, I keep headphones on with either no music or the volume low so as to discourage interaction with me. But I am always listening to everything going on around me. I am watching everything.

The simple state of being transgender and being oneself means a being constantly under attack and constantly torn down. It is terrifying.