C: I’m all for queer, disabled, female and PoC representation in the media, but why do they roll all of those into one and call it diversity?! Like yea, queer disabled PoC women exist but you can’t stick one in a TV show with a swarm of straight whites and call it diverse. Can there be more than one black gay? What about a black lesbian, an Asian lesbian, gay latinos and disabled people and make them all different people?! Actually be diverse instead of having only one who tragically dies anyway.
Graduating from Samwell, trans woman Shitty knew about gender, but she didn’t know gender. To metaphor for a moment: I can tell you how a car works - engine, drivetrain, fuel system, electrical system, steering, suspension, all of it - but I don’t know cars. I can’t listen to a car and say, “hmm, the engine is knocking pretty badly - let’s check if there’s something wrong with the MAF”. Shitty knew what “trans” means - knew that gender is not gender roles, knew that gender is not anatomy, knew even that the equivocation of anatomy and physical sex is just as much of a social construct as gender and gender roles are - but at no point did anyone tell Shitty how you recognize your own gender.
Which in practice, as of Shitty graduating from Samwell, meant that Shitty’s gender identification was based on nothing more than assignment at birth and stereotypes about men and women. Never mind four years of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies to learn on a gut level that these have about as much to do with gender as whether your mother slept on her left side or her right while she was carrying you; even if you wouldn’t make the same mistake now, you’re not going to know that you made a mistake until you go back to check your work, and even then you need to have something to work with. “I don’t know how to tell my gender” often turns into “I’ll just stick with what I’ve got” in practice.
On the subject of stereotypes: Shitty fucking loves hockey. (And swearing, and partying, but hockey most definitely.) Shitty wasn’t a great hockey player, as others have pointed out - NHL was nowhere on her radar, nor she on NHL’s - but she loves the hell out of the game, she loves playing it, and the hardest thing about her first semester at Harvard Law was not playing any more.
(If Harvard didn’t already have rules about trans athletes, they would after Shitty realized and started transitioning. They probably wouldn’t even argue about it. What scientific knowledge we have about athletics tells us that there’s no advantage to trans athletes on hormone replacement therapy over cis athletes, and there are already tons of precedents for inclusion. It’s possible that the league could argue, it’s even possible that Harvard itself might argue, but it wouldn’t matter if they did - they would lose.)
(It’s not likely, though. She’d probably just have to wait a year before they let her play in games with the women’s team.)
(Joining the women’s ice hockey team wouldn’t make Shitty a better hockey player. Being consciously determined to play cleaner than anyone else in the league (because she’s never going to justify the stereotype of trans women as brutes, even by accident) … might.)
Point being, though: Shitty’s interests were stereotypically masculine. She wasn’t playing with dolls, she wasn’t wearing skirts, she wasn’t quiet and submissive … she was, as far as cliches go, a total bro. No-one ever looked at her and said, “have you ever wondered if”.
And on the subject of looks: Shitty knew her mustache was awesome. She didn’t realize her mustache was bleeding her with gender dysphoria every time she looked at it.
Or that she liked to be naked because sometimes pants and men’s shirts did the same thing.
Or that she loved her flow and her floral snapbacks because they didn’t, not just because they’re awesome. (The funeral for Shitty’s flow is definitely canon in this verse.)
How did Shitty figure it out, anyway? Well, five people came out to Shitty in a week at Samwell; people didn’t stop coming out to Shitty just because she graduated. When one of her classmates came to her after a study group to talk, Shitty understood what ze was saying partially - enough to help, enough to explain to zir the things that a WGSS major knows that almost nobody else is taught, enough to help zir navigate the resources available to zir at Harvard … but not enough to understand why so many things ze said to explain how ze knew ze wasn’t a woman resonated.
Shitty still didn’t understand on the day she stayed late at one of the Trans* Task Force meetings she’d been attending with her friend to talk to Egypt, this amazing goddess of a woman who helped organize the meetings. Shitty didn’t understand, but the question was growing too big to bear.
They ended up talking for four hours. There was a lot of hugging and crying.
The first person Shitty came out to after that conversation was Lardo. Second was Jack. Third was Jayden, the friend from her study group who’d come out to her and asked for help. Fourth was Nursey.
(Her conversation with Nursey ended up almost as long as her conversation with Egypt, and while Shitty had a feeling Nursey wasn’t talking about himself, she sent him a list of resources anyway.)
When she came out to her mother, her mother hugged her immediately and told her how proud she was of her brilliant, fierce, independent-minded daughter. They read a lot of books together over the next few years, including Nursey’s first book of poetry.
(Shitty didn’t recognize the dedication “to my friend and confidant, Willa J.” until the second edition, when Dex finally convinced Nursey it was okay to include her last name.)
Shitty came out to her father braced for a fight, but he just said, “Huh. So, are you thinking about changing your name? Is Shitty a girl’s name?”, and they ended up talking about how she should approach Harvard University Athletics about joining the women’s ice hockey team.
(Like I said: Harvard probably didn’t argue. If they did, they would lose.)
(And she wasn’t sure if she liked the hat her father sent with “♥ SHITTI ♥” embroidered on it, but Lardo busted a gut laughing when Shitty first put it on, so she didn’t get rid of it.)
Shitty got a job working for a 501(c)(4) LGBTQ political advocacy organization out of law school.
She was invited on the Daily Show once. The extended interview was two and a half hours. She still gets letters.
“she is my world, my life and my love.
she stole my heart, became my all. her
beauty is unmatched, it is indescribable.
her laugh brings hope to my future. the
touch of her lips stops my heart, I am
frozen in time with her, while the rest of
the day I skid to a stop. she is everything
I’ll needed, and all I will ever want. I am hers
as she is mine.”
hot damn i checked out again how much i gotta pay for college and suddenly they pulled up the price to +8,000 because of the new building and now ive been frantically looking for scholarships online and typing essays for the past 3 hours. im ready to die.