guy_interrupted's blog

Sex, drugs and sausage rolls: London life, love and other random stuff

When hiding is not an option

with 8 comments

hiding

Why should anyone have to hide who they are?

We all wear some sort of mask.

From the woman who can’t let her partner see her without makeup, to the hard-bitten cynic who secretly just wants to be loved.

The life and soul of the party who never feels more alone than when they’re in a room full of people.

The guy who  says ‘I’m fine’ when asked how he is — when he’s anything but.

Yes, masks are a fact of everyday life.

I saw my trans friend, Mandi, the other night — a gentle soul with the dictionary definition of a singsong Irish accent. Lovely to talk to, lovelier to listen to.

Mandi has, for some time, wavered between knowing she doesn’t want to appear to the world as the man she was wrongly born, but lacking the confidence to present herself fully as a woman in every day life.

But she turned up that night looking absolutely beautiful.

At some point in the three or so weeks since I last saw her, she has transformed into some sort of red-headed Diana Ross.

Her hair was loose from its usual scraped-back ponytail and was sitting to her shoulders in lovely natural waves, she’d had a fringe cut, a subtle copper colour put in her hair and her eyelashes tinted. In short, she looked utterly gorgeous.

“I’m going to the hospital in a few weeks for my first consultation, hopefully soon after that I can start hormone therapy and get electrolysis on my face.” she said. “I can’t afford to get my boobs done; it’s five grand I haven’t got, so I’m going to wait and do it properly.”

“I know people are going to stare but there comes a point when you just have to think, ‘fuck it’ and do what’s right for you.”

I neither advertise nor conceal the fact that I’m gay. I look relatively masculine and can pull off the straight/butch act if I’m in a rough area, or in unfamiliar company. But I don’t respond well to homophobia and I challenge anyone who’s seen me when I’m pissed off to tell me I can’t handle myself.

What I mean is that I never feel like I’m putting myself out there when I exit my front door. I don’t walk along the street feeling like I’m under the scrutiny of other pedestrians, wondering if anyone’s going to spot what makes me ‘different’ and jump on it.

If you were black in the 1950s and 60s you didn’t have the luxury of concealment. Insults and attacks, segregation, fear and hostility would have been part of your daily life.

Why are people still so scared of anyone different that they have to hide their fear behind a mask of stifled laughter, taunts and sometimes even aggression?

So I say this:

To the freaks and the weirdos, to those that don’t conform, the skinnys, the fatties, the shorties and the lankies. To the men with guyliner and the girls with tuxedos and painted-on stubble. To all those who refuse to go through life with a mask on.

I applaud you. I respect your fearlessness to turn round to the world and say “fuck you, I am who I am”.

And to Mandi — Godspeed on your journey. You inspire me.

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Written by guy_interrupted

January 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm

8 Responses

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  1. I love your words. And you. Don’t ever stop you BEAUTIFUL man you!!! xxx

    Anna

    January 23, 2010 at 7:03 pm

  2. Nicely put. I still don’t have the confidence to be affectionate toward my boyfriend in Dublin. And even hugging my guy friends puts me slightly on edge but that’s something I need to overcome. I think my worries are irrational has I’ve never actually had any abuse hurled at me before.

    Samuel

    February 2, 2010 at 8:41 am

    • Sorry didn’t actually mean to write Dublin, I meant to say in public! But I suppose being in Ireland is a factor as being openly gay in the street might rouse a bit of attention compared to some areas of London etc.

      Samuel

      February 2, 2010 at 8:46 am

  3. Everyone can learn something from the fearless few who are themselves, unabashedly, in front of the world. I’ve learned more about love, happiness, compassion, and individuality through transfolk than I could possibly quantify. And, as we look to them for the courage to live our own lives freely, they look to us for support, inclusion and friendship in a world that all too often beats them down so bravo for putting your thoughts online.

    Jordan

    February 4, 2010 at 6:03 am

  4. Reading your post reminded me of someone I knew when I was working in Paris. I was working at the gay and lesbian centre and every day a lovely, but timid, woman would come in for a tea before going on her way.

    When she got used to me we started chatting and it turned out that she was originally from the UK. After telling her family that she wanted the sex change she was completely ostracised, and so came to France.

    To me this was sad, but equally as terrible was the impact that holding that kind of thing inside for so many years had had on her. She talked openly (in broken English, because she had forgotten it, or broken French, because she had struggled to spend time with people to learn it properly) about how the various events of her life had resulted in her becoming so introverted and suspicious.

    Like you, I was heartened by her courage, but at the same time incredibly angry that as a society we allowed her to become so marginalised.

    Good post, dude. Thanks for bringing this back to me.

    Mathew

    February 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm

  5. K, since I started reading your blog, one post a day – top to bottom, I’ve found so much to be inspire me. Today, it was truth in advertising. The last couple years I’ve been concealing myself from those around me. I know I’m gay, I know I’m HIV+, but I don’t ever tell people because I’ve been concerned, nay petrified at how they would treat me. Being Jewish, it’s hard not to feel like I have to conceal myself from those around me for fear of being ostracised by my community. Yet it kills me not to be part of the gay community too.

    Since I started reading your blog I’ve started to open up to my friends whom I’ve never told about my full life before. Yesterday, I finally told someone I care about that I’m HIV+. (No, he’s not gay.) It’s the first time I’ve told someone in the Orthodox Jewish community that I’m HIV+. It was scary as hell! I wanted to run away and hide. I couldn’t look him in the eye for fear of how he would react. I shouldn’t have worried. He was a true gentleman and supportive. Now that it’s out in the open I feel like I can do anything.

    Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I’m gay. Yes, I’m HIV+, but dammit I feel good about myself now. I’m not going to hide myself from people anymore. I’ll always be a Jew, for better or worse. I’ll always be gay, thank God for that. The two may never reconcile, but each day that passes I grow more comfortable with it.

    Thank you for inspiring me to be myself. Now I just need to find a beautiful soul to settle down with.

    Ian

    October 10, 2010 at 2:40 am

  6. […] different, it’s nice to feel like we’re part of something, and fun to turn our noses up at the people who don’t fit in. And all the while hoping nobody notices that once upon a time, we too were the […]

  7. […] different, it’s nice to feel like we’re part of something, and fun to turn our noses up at the people who don’t fit in. And all the while hoping nobody notices that once upon a time, we too were the […]


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