Through this journey of self actualization and living authentically as a proud black transgender woman, I’ve had to face many inner demons and truly overcome a lot of my insecurities that I to this day am still battling. I’ve had to deal with feeling so damn unpretty. I’ve had to deal with lack of access to funding to do the things I want to do with my life/body. But worst of all, I still deal with dysphoria. Dysphoria to me is almost like having a disgusting scar running across your face that no amount of makeup can cover. Only you can see it. You look in the mirror and the scar assumes life and starts taunting you and reminidng you of all the shit you internalized growing up that makes you believe that being who you are is not enough. I’ve been able to deal with my internal dysphoria and find ways to cope with it most of the time but dysphoria brought on by extrenal forces really still fucks me up.
When I started my medical transition, I began to realize that my positionality to cishet men was starting to change. Yes, I have and always will be the same person but my physicalities had and continue to change in ways that allow me to navigate the world in a more comfortably femme way that is attractive to these type of individuals. Most cishet men that I’ve come to encounter have commented on the aspects of myself that make them feel at home - my womanhood. Womanhod is not defined by genitals or any other sexual organ. It’s literally an aura. It’s an embodiment or packaging of all things that makes women as glorious as they are. My womanhood is not the same as another woman’s womanhood. Our womanhoods attract different types of men. The men that I attract love the feminine energy that I exhude, my physical beauty, and my conversation.
I have been avoiding pursuing romantic relationships with cishet men for the simple fact that usually, my acceptance and the respect that they give me is always in relation to how “well” my transition is going and how much I can pass as a cis woman. The fact of the matter is, we live in a society that demoninizes trans women and the men who love us. So for that reason, men who devote themselves to us either do it in the dark or they do it under the condition that we live stealth or can pass so people won’t bother us. I was tired of being given an ultimatum of my phsyicality. I would never subject myself to struggling to find tens of thousands of dollars to alter my body in various ways just to be enough for a guy. I already am enough. I’ve always been enough. So in the end, I grew to despise cishet men.
For a long time, I stayed to myself and focused on my mental health and wellbeing and ignored the advances of cishet men. However, one day, I met HIM. This man’s conversation was so beautiful - he was smart but very laid back and comical. He engaged me in ways that I have never been engaged before. He actually made me feel so euphoric and giddy. I decided to give him my number and see what happens. After a few weeks, he told me that he’d be coming down to my city and he wanted to spend time with me. Of course, I get excited and I tell him that I look forward to it. The week that he gets here, he pops up on me after school and takes me downtown and we walk towards the river for a bautiful view and some conversation. As we’re heading our way to the boardwalk, we pass a group of men, about 10 of them, staring us down on both sides. One of them begins to catcall me but then another yells out “THAT’S A FUCKING DUDE!”. They begin to taunt us endlessly, screaming out that they can see my “dick and balls swinging” and that I “better not come around these parts again”. Now this heckling, I’ve grown accustomed to and can deal with. But what hurt me the most was when the attention was refocused to the guy I was with. They started to emasculate him and make him feel like he should be ashamed of himself. They started giggling and laughing and saying things like “I see you with your mangirl, my nigga”. I looked up at his face and he looked like he was about to start crying. I was broken. I couldn’t believe this happened.
When we approached the river, we stood on the railing - wind blowing on our faces - and I look over to him on my right and he’s staring out into the distance. I ask him if he’s okay and he tells me that he is and that he just wished he would have said or done something. I tell him that it isn’t worth it, that he could have gotten hurt, and he nods. We begin to talk about our future goals, our passions, crack jokes, etc. all while I’m constantly checking up on him to make sure that he’s okay and that that earlier experience didn’t bother him. He assures me that he’s fine and stares me in my eyes and asks me if I’m attracted to him. I tell him that I am and he asks me if I think that I’m beautiful. I hesitate for a moment. I only hesitated because that dysphoria kicked in - triggered by those hecklers. I feel beautiful but when you’re clocked or told that you’re an abomination and disgsting by folks around you, especially with a man that you’re on a date with, you can’t help but feel a little less beautiful. I tell him that I think I’m okay and he starts shaking his head and telling me that I’m like a painter and her portrait. He continues saying that I am this beautiful work of art but I can never behold that true glory that I am because I’m fixated constantly on the minute flaws. He says that I make them bigger than what they are. I begin to tear up because he’s definitely right. He goes on telling me that I need never walk these streets and feel like I am ever not beautiful - even if boys like the ones earlier try to tell me otherwise. After we have a heart to heart, he looks at me and says “I’m so glad I came to see you”.
We start walking back to his car and that whole conversation is replaying in my mind. He really cares about me and thinks that I’m beautiful. That was so special to hear. To have a man walk with me in public and then sit in my face and tell me how I;m a beacon of light in his life truly made my heart melt. We get to my dorm room and look at one another. I thank him for a great day and he tells me that he hopes to see me again and take me out to dinner or something. Needless to say, once I closed that door and watched him drive off, I should have known that that was him leaving for good.
I am angry. I am fucking pissed because I actually made a connection with a man and society snatched that away from me. As it always does. We cannot resonate with people peacefully without folks trying to tell us what is or isn’t acceptable. We cannot love one another without feeling like that love is forbidden. I encountered a beautiful black man who decided to treat me with the dignity and respect I deserve and be with me in public - during daylight. He was by my side. He saw me. He related to me. He appreciated me. He wanted to know more about me. And then the shaming happened. And due to that experience, he shied away. He didn’t feel like he could handle the public scrutiny of loving a transgender woman. That’s fucked up!
This blog isn’t necessarily for me or for the hecklers but for those beautiful, amazing, devoted men - especially black men - that love transgender women and feel judged or mocked for it. I want to thank you. I no longer despise these men because I understand the process. I understand the internal struggle. I understand the uncomfortability one has to navigate through due to pressure from outside forces. So when men can meet us halfway and endure the storm with us despite all of that bullshit, I can only thank you. Thank you for constantly fighting that battle of navigating across limits of hetero/cis normativity and the expectations of masculinity. Thank you for being there for these women no matter what and publically proclaiming your love each and every day even though it’s constantly jeaopardized and invalidated. I see you. I respect you so much.
Many transgeder woman talk about the adversities that we have to deal with and the strggles we must overcome but we don’t think about the men that love us. We expect the men that love us to just do it with no question. But this recent experience of mine has helped me to realize that my trauma is and will always be his trauma. That my invalidation is his invalidation. My pain is his pain. And we must stick together at all times and help one another. Yes, this journey about is about me and my finally being who I wish to be but I must remember that the men who love me are doing the samn damn thing. Our society is ruthless and treats transgender women like we deserve nothing and should be treated as such. It does the same thing to the men that love us. Seeing the pain in that man’s eyes as he was being taunted hurt me to the core. And from that moment forward, I gained so much more respect for these men who ride for us! You are the real MVP’s to be enduring this shit with us. And even though he stopped talking to me and couldn’t handle the scrtiny, I don’t hold it against him because I just know it wasn’t his time. This journey, like mine, is slow and trying. But keep on staying steadfast. Keep on loving. This is the revolution.