I collected and hoarded all sorts of “types” of girl clothes for years and years, trying to be prepared for the day when one of those female identities finally revealed itself to be the one for me.
Ended up donating, no lie, about fifteen large trash bags of clothing. My closet is so sparse now and filled with guy clothes that make me smile. It’s been the lighter side of transitioning so far, all the things I no longer need to hang on to, just in case I finally figure out “how to girl”.
Some trans people get uptight about transgender visibility.
On one hand, I can see where they’re coming from. They might be closeted or stealth, and worried that increased visibility might out them. Or they might be struggling to put a traumatic past or painful transition behind them, and not appreciate the reminders of what they went through.
I try to be sympathetic towards that, though I feel like it’s a short-sighted position to adopt.
On the other hand, I think it’s more important to fight bigotry and familiarize allies with how to help us, than engage in a fruitless and frankly pretty hurtful campaign to force out trans people back into the closet. What might seem like the best idea in the short run, is actually playing right into bigots’ hands. The info is out there on how to spot us. It’s done. Now it’s time to protect ourselves and each other by normalizing what we are, not by re-hiding it.
I also can’t help but think, somewhat selfishly, of what I would have done without the examples of out trans guys. Perhaps not survived.
If you’re out there, whether you want to be seen or not — I care for you. Do your best, beautiful. We’ll get there together.
I’d had it pierced in 2004 in Richmond Virginia. But I took it out three years later, on the ill-advice of a boyfriend who only lasted a fraction of the time that the piecing did.
I’d always wanted it back. In the intervening years, though, the lies told to middle-aged women about what they have to look like in order to be tolerated took root in my head, and intimidated me out of anything so “punk” or “immature”.
I felt I was just barely skating by, appearance-wise, as a female-presenting person. Better not rock the boat, or I may not be allowed to make a living.
Obviously I’m now past caring about any of that.
So I looked up piercers in New Orleans for the third time. The first two investigations had led me to getting my nipple done during Pride last year — but both the initial piercer, and the repiercer at another store, poked it crooked. So I’d taken it out after a week. I’d also eventually realized that I’m not ready to have pierced nips again until my chest is flat.
This time I went to Pigment Tattoo on Magazine Street. I was happy with the piercing placement. The piercer managed to get the jewelry to line up exactly with the tiny scar left by the old piercing. It was a bit low on the inside of my lip, but I didn’t expect that to make much difference.
Instantly after the jewelry was in, all the memories returned of when I’d had a labret stud before. The sense of alien heaviness in my lip, the feeling that the jewelry was way bigger than it was, but pleasantly so. It was meant to be there, it felt good there. I’d get used to it.
I walked out of the place feeling proud and defiant.
It might not seem like a big deal to other pierced people. It’s a small piece of jewelry, and it’s my only body piercing at present. But it’s a facial piercing, on a middle-aged transgender guy in the conservative South.
And to me it feels like both an assertion of my gender, and of the fact that I’m not going to be a gender-conforming man even when I do pass as one. So it’s a big deal to me.
The same piercing, 2007 vs. 2017: