Each week I get on social media and I connect with lovely trans people from all over the world. We all tend to have a lot in common but the one thing we share the most is how incredibly difficult it is for us to live our lives the way we wish to.
I am working on writing an article interviewing a number of trans women hoping to share their stories. In the meantime I thought I would share five things that makes being trans more difficult than you might think.
Okay no transwomen do not technically get a physical menstrual cycle like cis gender biological females do. But it’s not to say we don’t long to share the experience that defines our cis sisters. In fact despite all the negative that comes with it i.e. mood swing, cramps, bleeding, etc., the fact women have the amazing power to create life is something many trans women, myself included, long for. It is the one thing we can’t do. It’s not that I want to experience having a period for the sake of it. It’s more like I just truly want to be a whole woman as much as anyone else and the idea of being able to create a baby is something I totally wish I could do.
Every woman has to worry about her looks. Transwomen have to worry even more so because we’re not just under the same pressure as cis women to be pretty. We’re also under additional pressure from ourselves, men and other women to pass. Meaning one of our goals is to be accepted as a woman. That means when someone sees you they automatically assume you are a woman and address you appropriately. This means we have to work extra hard at doing makeup. Also, for many of us it’s something we had to learn on our own in secret. It is painful for your trans girlfriends to ask you for makeup advice but if you have the capacity to be kind and help them please do so. She isn’t trying to take something away from you she just wants to share in something you learned as a child.
If you think dating is hard for even binary homosexuals, even more so than straight people, it’s extra difficult for trans people. Our options are extremely limited. There are cis gendered lesbians who do not want a girl with boy parts. There are cis gendered hetero males that don’t want a girl with boy parts. Then there are homo sexual males that don’t mind the boy parts but want a less feminine person. Finding someone who is compatible spiritually, physically and sexually is a big challenge. For most of us we navigate life utterly alone while some compromise who they are just to settle for anyone they can get. I don’t want to have to settle. I want someone that will accept me for me and be attracted to me as I am not someone that will say okay I can live with X Y and Z but you need to scale back on the Z and maybe emphasize the Y more. No. I am who I am deal with it.
If dating is hard imagine how much harder it is to find a compatible sexual partner. I mean you have to be compatible on all the other levels before you even get to sex. But it’s a trick. You have to consider what you are attracted to but also what the other person’s needs are. Then there is the reality. Trans women don’t always have the stuff they want to do the deeds the way they want. Some are okay with having male junk. Others not so much. But either way even if you want the surgery necessary to under natures mistake, it’s not easy it isn’t cheap and above all it requires years of invasive therapy and other crap that frankly nobody should have to put up with.
5. Shopping for clothes
I saved this for last because it’s actually the hardest thing. Dating can be done online. Periods we can live without until science catches up. Sex, well we have alternative options if we are so inclined and makeup we have YouTube stars like Stef Sanjati to show us how it’s done. But shopping for clothes as a trans woman is a nightmare. Many times we end up chickening out and buying stuff online that frankly never fits. We can’t always find a female to accompany us to the store to do it properly. Not to mention the utter dread of trying things on in a public dressing room! Oh the horror. Sure I can when needed muster the courage to push my shopping cart into the woman’s aisle and grab the first dress or blouse I see that looks pretty and might fit, rush to the checkout and head out the door. But it’s often a very anxiety filled experience that leaves me panting all the way to the car. It would be so much easier if we could talk our cis gender allies into taking us clothes shopping even once in a while. Some trans ladies have this, others do not. Myself, unfortunately I am pretty much stuck doing what I can with my limited options.
These are just a few things trans women have to deal with. I know trans men also have their own issues, those pesky periods are a little more troublesome I imagine to them. Yet society seems to have an acceptable place for them, the word is tomboy. For some reason women of all shapes and sizes can shop for men’s clothes no questions asked. If they don’t like makeup they can get away with little to none. But a trans woman has a number of issues not to mention the same overly sexually aggressive perverts all women have to put up with. Only ours can be a little more physically aggressive if they discover things aren’t want they seem.
I imagine trans men have their own issues and I would love to visit with more of them to get their perspective. I had a friend once that was but we fell apart. Let me know if you have experienced any of these anxieties. Or if you are an ally what do you do to help your trans sisters out?