Although I wake up every day thankful to be a citizen of Canada, I am also often reminded that when it comes to trans acceptance in this country we are still very much in pioneer days.
Trans women’s lives, like those of cisgender women, are still regulated. I was reminded of this while reading Vivek Shraya’s I’m Afraid of Men. At one point she writes, “In the morning, as I get ready for work, I avoid choosing clothes or accessories that will highlight my femininity and draw unwanted attention.” Ah, women’s eternal dilemma. But was this me too? Was this why I had returned the hat back to its shelf?
This past year I have spent a surprising amount of time conversing with my 22 year old self.
I was 22 in 1977. It was a bad time to be trans and a bad time to be me. I was out of university and I knew what was supposed to happen next: a career and a wife. But that idyll seemed very unlikely for me. I was a closeted 6’3″ trans woman who saw no future for herself. In between bouts of excessive drinking, I thought my best chance at life was self employment. Perhaps there I might carve out an independent space so I could breathe a little. It wasn’t a bad idea, but my hopelessness stifled my motivation and I could never turn it into a credible plan. What I did instead was barely survive on a succession of suffocating government jobs.
Here’s the link to an article I wrote for the Ottawa Citizen on trans visibility. It was published March 5, 2018: http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/sypniewski-why-trans-people-arent-going-to-remain-invisible
A little while ago. I saw a commercial from Denmark that nearly had me weeping. It reminded me of something I wrote some time ago. The video of the commercial and the original article are here.
Clothes reflect power and social structures in society and are not as trivial as they seem. My clothes had given her the opportunity to impose a hierarchy in our relationship, namely, her right to be rude. More