I am not at all a poster child for trans pride.Â I take no joy in the fact that I am trans, at best I consider it a kind of annoying condition that allows me a different view of the world than most people.
However, I have an incredible amount of gay pride.Â My selection of gay pride t-shirts is ridiculous enough to need a rotation because they don’t all fit in my closet, damned near everything I own has a rainbow sticker or button on it, and I spend quite a bit of my free time working with *gay youth.
What’s the difference?Â I think it’s a combination of things.Â First off, there has never been a time in my life where being trans has felt like a positive thing.Â I don’t subscribe to the gender binary smashing ideology so for me being trans is most often a pain in the ass.Â Being gay isn’t always a picnic, but the bad times are at least balanced out by the good.Â Yes, I may be assaulted for no reason other than my rainbow scarf.Â I also get to experience that kind of giddy feeling when I’m first interested in a guy and all of the fun that is going to a truck stop diner with fifty other gay men in various levels of drag.
Which leads into the second reason: community.Â I don’t feel any connection to the trans community.Â I interact with it because I want other guys to know that there is more than one way to be a man, but if I were to stop tomorrow I wouldn’t miss it.Â Part of this is due to ideological differences, but most of it is because I honestly don’t view being trans as an important part of my identity.Â Clearly this is not the case with my sexuality.Â I can’t really say for sure why other than that being gay plays into my day to day life far more than being trans.
People don’t know I’m trans.Â I’ve reached a point where the things that used to scream “look, you’re different!” at me (bathrooms, packing, swimming, etc.) are so instinctive that I don’t think about them unless I’m having a particularly bad day.Â Everyone knows I’m gay.Â The woman working the register at the grocery store at least assumes I’m gay even if she doesn’t know for sure.Â I could try to mask it, but I’d only be hurting myself.Â So I get daily reminders of my sexuality in the form of whispers and odd looks and the occasional yelled taunt.Â I also get the “family” looks and knowing smiles and sometimes a flirtatious gesture or two.
It helps that I choose to express my sexuality in a certain way.Â I don’t have to be effeminate.Â I don’t have to get involved with gay organisations.Â I don’t even have to go to gay clubs.Â If it really bothered me I could change.Â The thing is, I don’t want to.Â I did straight drag for a while when I first came out.Â It sucked.Â I made the conscious decision to say fuck what people think, I’m going to be who I want.
I didn’t get that option with trans.Â It was either transition or kill myself.Â People say “oh, you don’t have to physically transition, you can learn to live with your body,” but they don’t know what it’s like to wake up every day and wonder who that person in the mirror is.Â I didn’t choose to start T because I wanted the changes, I chose to start T because my brain already viewed myself as having those changes and not having the visual image match up with the mental one was driving me slowly insane.Â I never once got a choice in the matter.Â Not if I wanted to continue being alive (which, admittedly, is not always as clear as it should be).
That’s not to say I’m not proud of what I’ve accomplished since coming out.Â I am incredibly proud of what I’ve done and the person I’ve become while also dealing with depression and dysphoria.Â However, that is pride in myself, not pride in the conditions.
*I also work with trans youth, but that’s more rare.