TW slurs and description of medical discrimination and street abuse
Trans day of visibility.
It always struck me as odd.
Just one day a year to highlight to those who are are just tuning in or who spend large amount of their time distancing themselves from us as a community, the ways in which we're visible and how that can benefit or more often than not harm us
Somehow we have to make all of that easily digestible into an article or a tweet that will get read once, maybe twice; but honestly you never know whether they'll actually take in the exhausting education you're expected to good-naturedly give out to anyone who has a passing curiosity.
You have to wager hope against all the painful lessons life has taught you, hope against reason itself, that they'll do anything with it other than post one or two days a year in support.
But still we have to try because for a day at least they're more likely to be listening to us
Last year during trans day of visibility I was in a&e, a place most trans people will avoid like the plague.
There, surrounded by strangers both professional and not, you find yourself under an obscene amount of scrutiny.
You are in the midst of worrying whether your body is finally giving up on you as a disabled 28 year old, and you have police officers who are escorting other patients openly staring at you and consulting with each other about whether *I'll* be a problem because the drunk person might want to start a fight with me as I'm waiting to be seen.
You hear nurses laughing about getting the razor out and asking if they'll need male escorts to even assess you.
Your abdomen is on fire and you are desperately waiting for meds and you see an old woman with a slightly toffy accent come in, spot you and the drunk person across from you escorted by his guards, go up to the desk and loudly ask how long she'll be expected to wait with the freaks and riffraff.
You assume you're the freaks given the pointed stares as she strode past you her arm in some sort of makeshift sling
As I sit there enduring all of this I think about if these people know what today is?
Do they know that by being aware of me and by pointing out their displeasure at my visibility they're actually kind of confirming that this day, at least for me, is a day of being painfully aware how visible I *always* am?
That although this is the 31st of march and there's people out there in internetlandia that are being as supportive as 280 characters will allow, for me every single day of my life outside of hiding at home is a trans day of visibility.
I'm a 6ft loudly effeminate colourful person who is fat with wide shoulders, a big bushy beard, short hair, no noticeable Adam's apple, large breasts, wide set hips, enough body hair to constitute a pelt, the biggest feet I've probably ever seen, a voice that can go from girlishly high to deep resonance and I always have a retinue of mobility aids.
Depending on who is doing the observing I am seen to be a variety of things and most of them incorrect.
But I am *always* seen, I am unable to hide away from the stares of open disgust and confusion as I move down the street
I am unable to escape the rubbish thrown in my direction or the car horns and slurs shouted at me in Doppler as they drive past
I am unable to move out of the way of people on bikes playing chicken with my wheelchair because they've spotted me and know I'm a visible target for their shouts of tranny/dyke/fag/freak as they race directly at me,
Perhaps to drive me off the path, maybe to make me fall from my chair or more likely to drive me from public view.
For a long time it worked, I'm a recovering agoraphobic.
So for me and others like me, particularly black and brown trans folks, the issue of visibility is a moot point, I don't get a day off unless I stay inside my home.
So who is march 31st actually for? Does it actually benefit the community long term or is it for those who want to be seen to be doing the right thing?
I don't really have an answer for you and I kind of want to leave it up to you to figure out.
Instead I'll leave you with this poem on my identity that I wrote in the week following me stint at a&e last year.
"My gender is an act of reclamation.
Of myself, of my cultures, of my nature.
Gender doesn't define me, it's the lense through which I am exploring this world.
My gender is an act of reclamation.
From a world built to exclude people like me.
desexualised, degendered, degenerate, dangerous,
A world that doesn't want nor need us.
That cuts us out given the slightest excuse, without any thought to what happens once we're out of sight,
unable to offend their sensibilities any longer.
Distance from the danger
Distance from the degeneracy
Distance from the death
Well I don't want distance, not anymore.
I spent so long distanced, disconnected, disassociated.
I'm not transitioning away from
I'm running towards
arms wide open for the first time in my life"
-Ruari McClay April 4th 2021