Being a hard-to-see minority is painful. It’s beyond invisibility. It’s a daily struggle of being mis-identified. Called, every day, by the wrong name.
You begin to develop this social flinch. Every time someone opens their mouth, you worry. What’ll it be this time? What fight will I have to fight? Who is going to tell me I’m wrong, weird, bad. It isn’t just strangers. It’s the ones you love. The ones who know you deeply. They try but still the slip-ups occur. Still, the questions come. Still, every day is a struggle to defend not who you are, but what.
You begin to see yourself on the sidelines of your own life. A secondary character in your own story. The plot goes on elsewhere. Heroes (and sometimes heroines) save the day. While, you are the flavor text on the barstool, in the sitting room, on the couch whose texture is more noteworthy than you.
And when you are most exhausted, you fight yourself.
Because the voice that says: “It’s fine” and “They’re right” is always the loudest.
And rather than fight today, you think — I’d rather just lie. Pretend. Fake it. Hide.
Just for today.
Those days stack like stairs. The more steps you take down, the easier it is to keep going. The harder to get back up.
Until you look in the mirror, make eye contact, and realize you’ve been crying. Silently so nobody sees. But the look is there: the swelling, the redness around the rims, the bloodshot eyes, the dilated irises. You stare at yourself and try this convincing line:
“I don’t exist. It’s fine.”
It isn’t fine.
But you walk away telling yourself it is because you know yourself better than the rest of the world. And if you’re going to win one of these fights, it’ll be against yourself. You’ve done it before. Done it for years.
Played along. Looked the part. Pretended they know your heart. Your guts. Your innermost parts.
They don’t, but this lie is so much easier to sing along to.
So, we sing. As we have for generations of humanity. The trans-folk around you. The non-gender folks. The asexuals and aromantics. The intersex. The bisexuals, pansexuals, sapiosexuals. The non-binary and the non-conforming. The gender-queer, gender-fluid, gender-fuck it.
Whatever you want to call us.
We don’t fit your labels. We don’t belong in your bi-partisan universe. And for that, we aren’t wrong. We’re just different than you.
Time, you say. It takes time.
Yes. It does. The majority is massive and slow to turn its lumbering head.
If anyone knows, we do.
So, we wait for the day when we feel free. Accepted. Seen.
And in the meantime?
We’ll exist and struggle on. Used to being looked past. Used to being mis-identified. Used to being scolded, shouted at, shamed, and torn down. Used to being told we’re wrong. Used to flinching when we hear you call.
Oppression has it’s number one ally tucked neatly in our hearts.
We hurt ourselves the worst.
Please, cut us a little slack.