I'm excited to announce my most recent publication - "The Power of Trans Empathy: Recollecting Unconditional Community Nurturing" has been published by The AutoEthnographer.
This piece is an examination of sorts, of my own personal experience and the ways in which the transgender community supports itself. Through examples of my own coming out story and run-ins with well-intentioned allies, I talk about how I believe the trans community uses empathy as a powerful tool to combat transphobia and promote self-love. Trans Empathy uses an autoethnographic narrative to invoke a call to action to be more compassionate to one another during times when we need it most.
The Power of Trans Empathy: Recollecting Unconditional Community Nurturing
Today, my boss apologizes for misgendering me and I thank her. I work in a very grey office out of a very grey cubicle. I’m in a big grey building where a little grey headset streams to me a constant flood of angry patrons who every day find a new way to assume my womanhood based on my voice. My boss, who is by all accounts a very nice woman, is usually very good about my pronouns. I knew that every time she talks to or about me I would be able to breathe for a moment – something I do very rarely on the job.
I wrote this piece a few years ago, but it feels more relevant now than ever. I hope you give it a read.
Below is an except from the story - you can read the rest on The AutoEthnographer's blog here.
Yesterday, I was misgendered at a family barbeque.
It was a graduation party for a family that is not mine yet but is slowly becoming so. A young man who I had cooked for on Thanksgiving, shared drinks with, played games with, laughed with recognized me as “the new fiancé.” He tries to give me a welcoming hello with a point and a “there she is” as he walks past.
The first time someone misgenders me is a moment I playback in my head for eternity. It is a constant second chance to right a wrong that I always miss.
My heart leaps straight into my throat as I return to my familiar crossroads. I feel my blood rush as it’s journey upwards pumps adrenaline. My body is screaming at me the only way it knows how to make sure I get the “correct them this time or you’ll pay, you always do” message. My brain, however, puts its fingers in its ears and refuses to hear a word of it. I fumble into a meek smile and laugh, pointing back.
I spend the rest of the evening brainstorming ways to take back the encounter or somehow come out to this person. He’s a punky “bro” type – I think maybe being chill and putting my hand on his shoulder before we leave and coolly announcing that “hey, just so you know, it’s he” with a very masculine ‘it’s no big deal’ attitude will do the trick. I talk myself out of this tactic, thinking about how embarrassing it has been every time I’ve tried that move in the past. I leave instead with a timid “seeya.” The knowledge stings in the back of my head that every time this man looks at me I am still she.