Feminism and my intersectional life experiences
Womanhood and personhood
What being trans means to me
Do you want to forcibly disclose me?
Why I write
Being forcibly disclosed by a cis person (or even by other trans people, since they’re known to do this too) is horribly intrusive, disruptive, and even destructive. It is always done without consent. It can put a trans person in real danger. It can tamper with their safety, security, and even livelihood. What being forcibly disclosed does to every trans person is it violates their personhood without any of their consent given for being placed into that situation. Forcible disclosure can be violent. There is virtually no way to undo the harm. This is the consequence of a cisnormative world.
Because I am a woman — still treated marginally despite there being more of us than men — to volunteer to live openly as a woman who is trans is an affordance which I lack. There would need to be other intersectional experiences which are afforded social privileges in order to begin counteracting the experience of being a woman with a trans body in 2013. I don’t have these counteracting privileges. Most of us as trans women generally don’t. This is the condition of living in a cisnormative world.
To be forcibly disclosed as trans comes from the same non-consensual violence which made me an abuse survivor. (Cis people tend to call this “outing”, even though “coming out” and “disclosure” are two very different things.) In all of these my coping mechanism, when I am forcibly disclosed, is very similar: I break down. This is a toll of being trans in a cisnormative world.
I hold out hope for a day when it will be safe for me and all of mine to live disclosed as trans — as disclosure befits each of us. I hold out hope that we are given the uncontested agency to speak (and be heard) on our terms without the knowledge of our being trans being used against our personhood or the validity of our agency to speak for ourselves as women, men, or genderqueer — however it is we are speaking for ourselves. This would be the promise of a world which understands that being cis is not special, that being trans is OK, and that cisnormativity is a system of institutional reprimand for every person who isn’t cis.
(This all may sound strange to a cis person, because it might be something they’ve never really had to think about before. Now might be a great time to start understanding. To express a humility of wanting to learn is a gesture of respect which doesn’t go unnoticed.)