A few months ago, before I was publicly out to everyone about being transgender, I met with a friend I don’t see very often for drinks. He’s the kind of friend I can see just once every year or two without talking to much between hangouts and not have it be weird or awkward at all. For this particular hang, I had planned to come out to him about being trans, figuring it would be my last chance to do so before eventually coming out on Facebook (he’s not on it) and going “full time.”
After we sat down and had a couple beers on the table, I dropped the news on him. I expected it to go well with him, but his response surprised me. He told me about a friend of his from high school who was trans and transitioned years ago. Unfortunately, he watched as this friend became nothing except trans. Everything she talked about and did was related to being transgender. No longer having anything common anymore, their friendship withered away.
My friend made me promise I wouldn’t do the same thing, that I’d still be me. He wanted a promise that I’d still be the person he was friends with, we’d still go see the occasional band play and grab beers just like we always have.
At the time, I had actually been thinking a lot about this very topic so I thought it was interesting to actually have this conversation with someone else. I knew I was changing a lot and I wanted those changes, but I still wanted to be me and I never wanted to be just trans. As I mention on my about page here, I’m so much more than transgender. I am a marathon runner, a snowboarder, a software engineer, a photographer, a huge Doctor Who fan, an animal lover, both a geek and a nerd, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a former concert promotor and college radio station head music director, a spicy food lover, a Disney fan, a kid at heart, an enjoyer of slasher and zombie flicks, a believer in equality, and many more things.
In my Twitter bio, I list being transgender last. That’s how I want people to think about me, as someone who is all these other things, but who also happens to be transgender. I don’t want this to be the first thing people think about me, it should be nothing more than an aside.
Having said all that, it may seem contradictory that this blog focuses on my being trans and that I’m extremely open about it in my offline life, not to mention at least half my tweets are related to being trans. The thing is, I enjoy talking about this stuff and sharing my experience with others. With such a small portion of the population being trans, there aren’t many who can actually share their experience as a trans person, so I think it’s important for us to actually take the time to share when we can.
Even more than just having the desire to share this with cisgender folk and potentially help other trans people, I think it’s important to simply be visible. I want people to know I’m transgender and I want to be open about it. I don’t want it to be the first thing people think about me, but I want them to know it. I want others to see how trans people are just like everyone else. We’re not freaks and weirdos, we’re just normal people. We’re no more or less human than anyone else is.
Lastly, I want to always be fighting for transgender equality and exposing the world’s transphobia to those who are lucky enough to not have to think about it. I can’t do this without talking about it.
So yes, I’m trans, I’m open and visible about being trans, and I talk about being trans (a lot), but I’m not just transgender. I’m a thousand other things and I hope those in my life and those who read this blog are able to see me as these other things first and a trans person second.