Coming Out Day or Something Like It

coming out is a process

coming out is a defense mechanism to protect us from your cis-heteronormative view

coming out is choosing between physical danger and emotional anguish-every day

coming out is colonized 

coming out is gate kept

coming out is not pretty or easy

coming out is as often as not, not at all empowering

coming out is not the answer for all our woes 

coming out is a laundry list

 • diamoric bisexual

 • nonbinary transmasculine

 • aro/ace spectrum

coming out is virtue signaling

coming out is bullshit

coming out is never done

coming out is ignored

coming out is erased

coming out is vilified

coming out is dismissed

coming out is survival

coming out is death

coming out is heartache

coming out is ecstasy

coming out is terrifying

coming out is comforting

Coming out is not our salvation

Coming out is not our salvation

coming out is not our salvation

!

coming out is just a thing

and you can do it 

or you can not

.

coming out is just a thing

and they can do it

or they can not

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The Long Way ‘Round

Thirteen years ago, drenched in pregnancy hormones on an otherwise inconsequential hike, I realized I was transgender. It took me months to even be able to say the word out loud, longer to begin to tackle what, and how I would live that. 

For two years I tried to figure out what that gender place meant to me, what my identity was in the terms of the language of the time, what my transition would look like. I had so much internalized transphobia, the vanity of relative youth, and a partner who was having trouble dealing with her own unrealized covert transphobia in a few different ways. 

Eventually, after a very tense or tearful exchange at the peak of my physical dysphoria, in which she told me she was afraid of the health risks of my taking testosterone, I decided not to transition, basically, though I refused to acknowledge to myself that was what my choice meant. There were a lot of reasons I made that choice, fear, lack of sincere support, lack of ideal results, distrust in doctors, survivor/ptsd fear of surgery/anesthesia, internalized transphobia, and non binary transition being unavailable in my experience, were all big parts of that decision. 

But even a bad decision can offer a brief repose and having made any decision, there was a certain amount of relief. My instant relief also allowed me to wield my tendency for being hyper focused, in order to figuratively box up my trans status and get on with living whatever life I could. I told myself it didn’t really matter as long as my friends and loved ones knew I was not a girl. Maybe on some level, for a time, that was even true. 

When my girlfriend and I broke up later, finding myself a single parent with an office job at a very large company, I slowly put my gender even further back in the closet…I didn’t mean to do that, in fact I would have and did rationalize it many different ways if I was asked about the presentation change. None the less, I slowly shifted my gender presentation to a more socially acceptable geeky manic pixie dream girl style femme. It happened slowly over time, my work pursuit of a dangled promotion that would never come to fruition. To cope ai was almost entirely disassociated from my body during the time. I even went so far as to only own a full length mirror in which I could not see my body and head in it at the same time. 

If I was asked, while I still used the terms transgender and nonbinary transmasculine, I rarely discussed with anyone what that meant to me, only explained in cis palatable terms, and had very few healthy or protective boundaries around that identity.

It was fine I, I would repeat indefinitely. What boy wouldn’t want to have such a great rack? *bemused sigh* 

Then when my health had deteriorated so far that I had to quit that job, I suddenly found myself again, the master of my own gender identity and expression. Slowly as I started talking to people more about what being nonbinary transmasculine meant to me, my gender presentation and gender feels started sliding slowly and quickly back to where they had been so many years ago. 

So here I sit, yet again desperate to start hormones and have nonbinary top surgery, finally unafraid, feeling profoundly sad about wasting so many years of my life trying to maintain familial, romantic, and friendship relationships with people that have been burned away by time, ableism, my poor health, my anxiety, my autistic difficulty reaching out, and covert racism directed at my family. 

I remember how afraid I was that I would never be deserving of love, that no one would ever see me past everything that makes me different than them.  I wish I could have told my then self about my now self, about all the loving community I have found, how much confidence and self love I have grown, how complex and expansive my chosen family and love network has become. 

I wish I could tell my past self that I was not and am not a failure, a waste, or a “freak”. Knowing it now may not undo this seemingly wasted decade of transition pause, and it may not soothe the panic in my heart right now, it certainly doesn’t silence the constant list in my head of physical transition bullet points I will never be able to afford

~

• a wardrobe that actually fits and allows me to feel confident and comfortable in my skin

• nonbinary symbol tattoo in nonbinary flag colors

• trans symbol tattoo in rainbow colors

• low – medium dose T

• top surgery or radical reduction – no nipples or entire nipple and areola saving

~

It won’t muffle the desperation and despair  that not having access to these things causes, but it isn’t actually less than nothing either. 

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I have grown as a nonbinary man. I have grown as a human. It isn’t enough but it is something, and something will just have to do for today. 

That Thing Where We are Expected to Suffer in Inspirational Silence

There is an attitude in our dominant colonizer culture that struggling in silence is both a sign of moral superiority and open suffering is either embarassing or infuriating for those viewing and consuming that pain. This no doubt serves to weaken and divide people, communicate to them/us how little value their/our lives hold for those that would judge that perceived worth. 

If I(and others) suffer in socially accepted and enforced silence* I’m told that I am sooo brave just for living, that they couldn’t fathom living my life which they perceive as terrible beyond measure,  then fundamentally patted dismissively and sent on my way to continue not bothering them with my hardships. 

If i have the temerity to speak up for myself or others, if I have the audacity to name my pains and pressures, I am called a complainer, faker, overly sensitive, mean, fanatical, angry, dramatic, or a liar. All labels meant to take away my value, to render my feelings and humanity meaningless and empty. 

This process is even more dangerous, insidious, and pervasive for IBPOC who are less likely to be believed, empathized with, supported,  or given the benefit of the doubt by white people. Black women and enbies particularly carry intersections of oppression that leaves them most vulnerable to this slow social death in “nice” comfortable middle America. 

My whiteness, my ability to speak in a way socially acceptable to middle-class white America, and my relative stability all protect me from broader and larger social violence no matter what other ways I am harmed by my culture and my people. That is not anything that I can or should ignore. I have much relative and literal privilege and protection.

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Even with those protections, if I am silent I am a sweet nonthreatening paragon of virtue dismissed and held as example to guilt and control others. 
If I speak the shape of what harms me, speak my reality, I am an embarrassment, something to be avoided and ignored, something to be shamed, blamed, and silenced. 

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What does it say about our culture that we have so little ability to sincerely empathize with people who have experienced different things than us? What does it say about us that we would rather ignore those around us that are hurt in different ways than we are or were, than acknowledge that we are part of that harm, or that it indeed exists at all? What does it say about us that we protect abusers and ignore the abused?*

It’s been said that existing is a radical act when society wants to peel you away from the world. I think speaking in the face of that crushing pressure is radical as well, even when that speaking is to simply say, this shit is terrible, I’m tired, I’m hurting, I’m not sure I can take this anymore. It matters. You matter. Your life and feelings matter. 

Today I am struggling with financial anxiety, deep painful and abiding dysphoria, physical pain and fatigue, acute asthma, months of autistic burnout,  executive dysfunction that makes everything ten times more complex or impossible, depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and isolation. I refuse to carry shame for saying that outloud. 

I am a person not an inspirational video, you are too. 
Name your pain, struggle, your despair. 

Taste the shape of it without shame.
Share here if you feel comfortable

You are allowed to live, not just exist for others benefit, for others sense of self. 

Please also support, pay, and share writers, activists, and articles that have inspired you to be less ashamed or helped you feel less broken if you would like. Let’s give credit where it is due, spread some of that empowerment around. 

*Rhizome speaks often and with great artistry about the social pressures applied to oppressed people, especially multiply oppressed IBPOC in both wider society and numerous superficially socially liberal microcommunities, to keep them quiet and unobtrusive to the majority. I strongly suggest you check out X’s body of work. 

*Michon created the term abuse culture to describe this phenomenon, it is quite apt. Michon is involved in multiple endeavors to dismantle abuse culture including Cuil Press  and Postmodern Woman. Michon is doing important work that you should definitely check out. 

If you learn something or appreciate their work (and other IBPOC writers, thinkers, activists, and advocates) share resources and funds with them. 

Moderately Fucked Avenue

My Dysphoria has been very bad lately. Winding it’s fingers around my every word and thought and shaking until everything is mash and muddle. 

I am getting to a place again where I really need low dose T and top surgery or a nonbinary radical reduction to function in this sick and broken flesh house emotionally. Unfortunately those things are inaccessible to me due to finances, executive dysfunction/neurodiversity, and disability. 

So I’m stuck not passing at all. To be clear I know my body is a transmasculine body because it is my body and I am transmasculine, buuuuutttttt very few people can see *me* underneath how they interpret my gender presentation, even other queer and trans people, honestly even other nonbinary people, myself included, often struggle with separating our understanding of gender now from the concept of immutable gender/sex/gender presentation that we were raised with. 

As a culture we just aren’t quite there yet. It takes a lot of work and bandwidth even for nonbinary trans people to do the internal work we need to do, to avoid ascribing gender roles to secondary sex characteristics and gender presentations.

 Which unfortunately in my case, for a lot of reasons, including but not limited to disability,chronic illness,  age, and body shape means most people see me as 85% middle aged (girlwoman) mom and 15% might be a lesbian or something™. It forces me into a socially isolated space in which I have to step into these wrong assumptions about me to exist at all. 

Not existing isn’t really an option. 

Being forced to exist twisted into someone else’s shape is harmful in the short or long term. My mind and body rail, twist, and wail at the constant indignity and implied gaslighting. it’s an exhausting cycle that sometimes I am able to navigate and sometimes I am really not. 

Right now is one of those times of not, I’m sure I will get there eventually. I’m sure eventually the words will loosen up, unstick from their mire and play willingly for me. I hope. I try to stay patient and positive or something. 

ha! 
…Or something. 

A Brief Repose

just let me breath this night air a moment

let me remember how to feel joy in my heart

cool night air whispers 

whisking away a year and a life of pain

I remember what it means to relish life 

to be thankful for the little things

I remember what it means to love you. 
I do love you 

with every grain of my being
tomorrow we go back to a life worth living

tomorrow we go back to the fight

but just for this brief and shining moment
we rest

Telescoping

The fatigue is never ending 

bone deep silent screaming

can exhaustion scream? 
the weather shifts and my body crumples

falling.tumbling.stumbling 

weakness like hard cold hands pull me back into this place again

realigned and readjusting

trying not to curse my own name
can you believe I have value with so little productivity? 

Question heart

hands shake from medication and determination

pushing through or laying still

eyes slide over me unseeing

invisible 

I press my flesh into unreasonable contortions

sticky sweating slow implosion
persevere or something

it’s all the same

Fatigue

​I am tapped out. Exhausted. deep exhausted. The kind that rattles your bones and slithers beneath your skin, weighing you down. soul heavy.

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Still I knit. knit. knit. gotta earn that grocery money. medicine money. dentist money. Gotta earn my right to live. 

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I want pizza, a gallon of coffee, to not have to worry about groceries so much, to not feel so guilty about everything. 

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I want to feel not quite so tired, I want my muscles not to burn all the time. 

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But I am here in this life, at this time,and this is what life is, so I will watch this show, close my eyes a bit, and keep going. 

Knit. knit. knit.