Partly Invisible, December 2017


There is a podcast I’ve heard that is hosted by the mother of a little trans girl who is now in elementary school.  They live in a progressive community in San Francisco.  She was reflecting recently on how easy she has had it compared to some other parents of trans kids who live in red states.

She had one mom in particular in mind, whom she profiled in the piece, who lives in the Bible Belt. This woman had been very open about her life and the life of her daughter. It has cost her most of her adult friends, some of whom will cross the street to avoid her. She was forced to leave her church. Her husband, who is a doctor, lost half his patients.

Worst of all,  this poor family learned first hand that there are cockroaches out there who threaten to murder trans children and mean it.

This woman, who has been quite an advocate, who has given speeches,  now tells parents with trans kids that if they are not already public figures—too late for her—they should try for invisibility.

So while I do some work for my community—among other things, I’m going to be facilitating a support group next year–when I’m off duty I keep my mouth shut and just get on with my life.

It can be difficult. Last Sunday I found myself chatting with a very nice, polite, well-educated, funny, about-my-age, not-bad-looking man after church. We really hit if off.

He asked me out. To be specific, he wanted to take me to dinner and then dancing.

I love dancing! I love to get dolled up and go out. (Yes, I am pretty darned femme.) And I liked him. A lot. I wanted to accept. God, I wanted to accept!

But I didn’t want to out myself right there because it would change the whole dynamic of what was happening in that delightful moment. I didn’t want to spoil having just been told I was sweet and pretty. That is beyond catnip for someone like me! On the other hand, I didn’t want the possibility of some awkward scene if I got clocked down the road. I did not want to embarrass or hurt this lovely person.

Outing myself might do that. I think he would be fine about it–or as least as fine as a straight, cisgender man could be under those circumstances–but in a public space you never know who is listening.

So I made clumsy excuses that I’m pretty sure he didn’t buy and left.  I’ve probably burnt bridges. Oh, well.

The picture is taken from Wikicommons, and the author is listed as  Tirthajyoti.