I have felt invisible for a number of reasons in my life time. Recently I’ve been feeling it again. Mainly cos I’m in a new relationship with a femme, we’re both queer but I fear we are seen as a straight couple which sounds like I’m a massive heterophobe but I’m really not.
Let me explain, before I transitioned (for those of you don’t know I’m a trans* man/was born female) I spent 18 years going through life as a female and about five years as a gay female. For most of my life I was relatively happy, minus the whole trans* thing. It wasn’t until I started going out drinking around the age of sixteen and even though I was a gay female I was still verbally abused by cis gendered men and in some cases groped, which always confused me cos I was very masculine but with a baby face and it seemed to me that there was a lot of men with repressed homosexual tendencies. Now, to me there was two lot of invisibility happening whenever this occurred, one being that men were treating me like an object due to my gender and two that I believe this to be happening cos I was an ‘obvious’ dyke so clearly that meant I was going to fulfil some kind of boring straight boy fantasy. The one incident I remember was when I was in Walkabout bar (classy,I know) with a friend when someone we were with lent through her and someone else to grab my chest and squeeze it. I was so shocked that he did this that I just stared at him then called him a fucking arsehole. This to me clearly showed his lack of respect for women and he quite clearly felt he had the right to touch me.
I was openly gay and I got a lot of abuse from wankers in town on nights out, just the usual shouts of ‘dyke’ at me. I used to feel really vulnerable and isolated like my rights as a human being to be treated weren’t there from these idiots.
As I said above I embarked on my transition at the age of 18. Things are a lot different now to what they were like back then. I had a long two year wait before I decided to pay privately for hormones where my body and appearance would change in ways I’d of ever dreamt of. The early days of my transition consisted of still being seen as female trying to look as ‘manly’ as I could without compromising who I was as a person. I felt like no what I did I still wasn’t ‘passing’ (I really hate that term) which caused anxiety and really horrible feelings. It was like I didn’t have a place in the community I knew I belonged, even though before transitioning I was a gay female I was never part of the female community cos I lived in Burnley where there wasn’t much of a community so I wasn’t about to start doing something that obviously not what I wanted from life and the gay male community was like being fed to the lions. From my experience of the gay male scene everyone is looking at each other and when you are a pre testosterone trans* boy it is terrifying cos it was like every knew I was born female. Nowadays I don’t have any issues or questions relating to my gender as I’m coming up to three years on hormones. That is something I never thought I’d say but as much as I love being me now, I don’t like the male privilege that comes with transitioning, yes I like my new body/appearance but it comes with the normality that I am now going to treat women like that guy who grabbed my chest and that I’m going to join in with this general acceptance of misogyny amongst certain men, gay and straight. So I’m in a difficult position sometimes cos of course I hear this misogyny and I do tend to call men out, mostly cos I feel like I have to stick up for women regardless of whether I no longer identify as one. It can be hard in male environments cos I do like that I was born female and that I’ve experienced hurtful comments from men which I know sounds odd. I guess I don’t like my trans* identity hidden sometimes.
Present day, I’m in a new relationship with a gorgeous femme who I adore. It’s a weird thing to be in a relationship after years of failed attempts and general fun with men on the gay/queer male scene. I mentioned earlier that I felt out of place there but now I feel I fit in. We are in an open relationship, where we have promised to have fun with others,men/masculine identified people for me and femmes for her, but we are each others primary partners and we matter first above others. When I first started looking for a female partner I knew that after years of exploring my sexuality with men it would have to be an open relationship cos I’m still exploring and I like expressing that side of my sexuality. I like knowing my girl is happy because she is doing the same and it’s important to us to be able to do this. However when we go out and go to bars I feel like our identities are hidden, which yeah OK it’s not all about sexuality all the time but when we are in gay/queer bars it’s hard to be seen as a queer couple. Though I suppose it depends on the company we have.
I apologise for going off on a massive tangent.