This TDOV I am visible, for those of you who can’t be.
As a transman approaching 7 months on testosterone, and beginning to readily be gendered as male in public now, I am struck with a difficult question: do I live stealth, or out? For me, there is actually a third option, that sits somewhere in the middle. I go about my day, getting on with things as Ethan, that slightly short in stature guy, and to all intents and purposes it is almost like living stealth. But beyond that, I am actually very open about my transition, and the struggles faced as a transgender person. I don’t walk around with a flashing badge on saying “Hey look at me wow how exciting, I am transgender!”, but I also don’t hide my story.
I have chosen to be visible and open about my transition publicly, through YouTube and my blog not for myself, but for you more than anything. When I was trying to begin coming to terms with my gender identity before coming out, one of the greatest supports I had came from others who were publicly sharing their transition and living out as transgender. I am fortunate that I am afforded a privileged enough upbringing that by doing so myself, I do not face over-the-odds numbers of barriers, or dangers, and so I want to make the best use of that opportunity to support the wider trans community.
The International Transgender Day of Visibility is not a day to celebrate those who are living life publicly out as transgender, over those who are not. It is a day to celebrate the unique and wonderful story that every transgender person has to share in their own magical ways, and raise awareness of the discrimination faced by simply trying to be oneself.
One day, I hope that TDOV will simply be a day to celebrate the lives of transgender people without a need to continually highlight the struggles faced to get there. I hope that by then, nobody who has a question over their gender identity or who wants to come out as transgender, will have any reason to feel that they cannot do so.
Until that day comes (and realistically, even beyond then) I have chosen to live my life visible publicly, for those of you who can’t do so. Whoever, and wherever you are, know that I see you, I support you and I am here for you.