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Posts Tagged ‘racism

When hiding is not an option

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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.

Written by guy_interrupted

January 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm