I work as a laboratorian for a major Minnesota healthcare company in both the hospital and clinical settings. I don’t want to mention their name here, but I will say they have a wonderful and proven track record when it comes to recognizing the rights of Trans* people. I also have the benefit of generally working with professional and open minded people, most of us in the lab are generally college educated, with an associates degree at minimum.
I have come out to a few nurses, and my laboratory colleagues in the hospital setting, however I have remained in the closet in the clinical setting. Up until recently, there have really only been 2 issues I’ve considered in regards to fully coming out and transitioning.
1. When I’m working in the clinical setting, it is a float. I don’t have a home clinic, I simply float from clinic to clinic, and there are 60+ clinics in this particular system. While I do enjoy the people I work with, I don’t have the same connection with them as I have forged with my colleagues over 14 years in the hospital setting.
2. I have frequent patient interaction, as phlebotomy is part of the clinical setting requirements. I find myself worrying about how patients would react to having a trans*person performing a sometimes painful procedure.
At a recent clinic visit however, I encountered something I hadn’t experienced yet at work. Transphobia from coworkers. A small clinic, in a very affluent part of the Twin Cities, and a clinic site I had been floating to for a couple weeks. I thought I knew these coworkers, I thought they would open and understanding. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It was an innocent conversation on a slow work day, The girls had made a comment regarding what kind of purses they had, and I let it slip I had gotten a great deal on my pink Coach wallet when my wife had picked up her Coach purse. I tried to play it off as I was kidding, but I wasn’t convincing. For the rest of the work day I was harassed.
I know this is a step along the journey of transitioning. I know that I’m taking these punches so that future generations won’t have to. However it still hurts, and that’s why I’m posting here, because I know that you’ll understand.
And that’s where I’m ending this post. I just wanted to vent. I just needed to tell someone who would understand. Will process this, and eventually grow because of it. I just wish the processing and growing were easier.
I have cute shiny pink coach wallet that I picked up on Labor Day (see above). I love my new wallet, I love it so much that I take it everywhere, and then frequently leave it in the car.
That’s right, I frequently leave it in my car, taking out the card(s) or cash I’ll need.
Perhaps you think less of me. Or, perhaps you find yourself in similar situations. You’re not passable, perhaps you even aren’t even trying to pass on a given day, and the last think you want to deal with are the stares, the stress, and the intolerance of those around you.
Typically I do this at a bowling alley, a bar, or somewhere else where I am fearful of intolerance. There are of course days where I don’t care, where I can put up with looks, or where I understand that my perception isn’t always the same as reality. It’s that last part I think is the most important.
I had teenagers, so the every day drama of mistakenly believing the world revolves around you and is constantly worried about what you’re doing and what you’re wearing isn’t new to me. I understand in the vast majority of cases, people take one look at me, pigeon-hole me into the “freak” or “one of those” categories, and move on with their own lives. There are also those more progressive minded thinkers who see me and are grateful I am on the front lines of tearing down gender divides, knocking down gender barriers, and making the public more aware of the gender diversity in our culture, and the world at large.
Which group do I live for? Which group should I live for?
The answer, as you no doubt already know, is neither. I shouldn’t live for either group because both groups are simply pigeon-holing me into a stereotype that I’m not. I should live for me, I should grab my wallet, and take it into the blowing alley. I should be always be myself, unless my safety is at stake.
Of course, the reality is, I will probably leave my wallet in the car this Tuesday when I bowl.
Instead of letting this bring me down, I’ll instead view it as a goal, a small attainable goal, that will one day lead to being able to not be worried about how the world sees me. A wallet with more than cash and cards, a wallet with an identification that I choose to make, not an identification the world has chosen for me.
“Excuse me, is that your wallet?”
“Yes, yes that is.”
When I began this blog a few months ago, the intention was to have a website for the TransAtheist Podcast. We now have our first episode recorded, and on the web. We’re in the iTunes library, the Xbox Store, Pocket Casts for Android, will shortly be available for Stitcher. What I discovered, though, in the interim between the first blog posting and the posting of the first podcast episode, is that I still love to write.
What I love about writing, is that even more than speaking into a microphone, I can distance myself from the audience in such a way that enables me to think clearly and form thoughts. I can make a nuanced argument, without fear of you interrupting me. I can take my time to really think about what I want to say, and then after I say it, unlike in real life, I can use the backspace button – because I realized it just came out wrong. I love writing, regardless of how well you the reader love my writing.
This is exactly how I feel about my gender and sexuality.
I love to dress as the woman most days I feel I am. When free from stares and mirrors, I begin to feel transformed, I feel “normal”, happy, and forget which gender my body thinks I am. Alternately there are days when I am grateful I don’t have to deal with a sweaty bra, or when at a baseball game I’m grateful my bathroom line moves more quickly. I don’t always mind the male parts of my psyche or anatomy. I want to delve deeper into this gender dichotomy, and plan on discussing it further in either a future podcast or blog posting, or more likely, both.
What I am starting to discover on this personal journey of self discovery, is the labels I’ve used to identify myself for a lifetime, should remain just those, labels, and they should be easily peeled off. Instead of being labeled, perhaps I would rather be post-it noted. This is who I am right now, but in a few minutes, hours, or days, I will be different again, and require a new label.
I don’t want to be all things to all people, I just want to be all of me.
Thanks for reading, listening, or both. I’m setting a goal for myself to put out two blog posts a week. One more of a personal diary of my road to discovering who I am as a person in relation to gender and sexuality. I also want to continue tossing my two cents in when it comes to discrimination and pseudoscience, especially when it comes to transgender discrimination issues and pseudoscientific healthcare claims.
However, as a girl who has a problem with deadlines, I’m not promising anything, except that I will continue to write as long as I find it enjoyable.