Transsexual, transgender, whichever one you choose to use, this is a word which has marred me for a while. It’s this sort of perpetual prefix I have, my main identifier, the thing that never escapes me. I won’t be “Ani the Linguist”, “Ani the Writer”, I will inevitably be relegated to “Ani the Transsexual” or “Ani the Trans Woman” no matter what I do. In some circles, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my work with other LGBT+ people, this is fine, it brings about a sense of belonging, of understanding. In most all other circles, however, it does quite the opposite, separating me from others. I was at a little kickback a week or two ago, and I found myself dead silent while everybody around me was talking about their experiences on Tinder and the like when I thought to myself, “I’m really different from these people and no matter how much I wish it was so, I’m never going to be like these people.” In that whole sphere there are so many extra steps I have to do that others don’t. I have to essentially apologize for the thing I am, I have to deal with fetishists and chasers and trolls, I have to put up with invasive and personal questions about my body and genitalia, I have to prove my womanhood and femininity. It gets really very tiring, to be perfectly honest. But in confessing my trans status (which I always do, as not doing so has led to many of my sisters being murdered in cold blood after some person saw her as an abomination and decided to take matters into their own hands) I have to be partially open about it so that I’m not viewed as hiding it so as to “fool” people, but I can’t talk so much about it so as to be viewed as one of those “angry trannies.” Usually, this culminates in me viewing myself at times as less than, or not as deserving of good things as other people. This word being stuck on me like a tumor makes me see myself as separate from others, as a misplaced cog, as a burden.
Overall, though this is a large part of who I am, I try not to let it define me. Emphasis on the word “try”, because no matter how much I do try, I can’t easily escape that as a word that will be used forever to identify and define me.