Something I think a lot of trans people, especially us older folks deal with is in coming to terms with our past identities. It can be a road block during transition, especially if you are not moving away, changing jobs, or your career. For me, I occupy the exact same space I did before I transitioned, which means I have had to do a lot of back-tracking to update my documentation. A year and a half after coming out fulltime, I still find places and things that I haven’t updated yet.
It can be uncomfortable, but for me, I just take each situation that arises and make the best of it. With surgery coming up, I’ve been trying to find ways to save here and there to prepare for the expense. I went to update our cable/internet service. It was the first time in seven years that I’d been to their building. I go in, make my request, and they look up my account. They find me under my old name. They say I can’t update my plan because “deadname” hasn’t added anyone to speak on behalf of the account.
I have to make a decision. I could try to argue, I could leave, or I can be honest and make the best of it. I had come prepared. “Well you see, I used to be “deadname.” I hand over a certified copy of my court ordered name change. I never know how these scenarios will play out, but I have to give those ladies kudos. They looked over my document, made a copy for my file, and completed the transaction. They didn’t degrade me, humiliate me, or deadname me. They were very polite. They even offered to update my account to my name. I am sure my confidence and preparedness helped in dealing with them. I also didn’t make a big deal about it. I knew it might happen, and I was ready for it.
Since I have gone full time, I have gone through security (TSA) four times. Two times I wore tight pantyhose and didn’t get flagged in my crotch area, something I hope surgery prevents as a possibility in the future. However, the last two times I had to go through a pat down. I elected to be patted down right there, but I did not disclose my status. I remained calm and followed orders. I let the agent do her thing, and she let me move on. I don’t know if she figured out I was trans, but it wasn’t made into a big deal. I wonder how much confidence plays into it.
I recently elected to go to a dermatologist for the hair loss on the top of my head. I hadn’t been doing anything to try and bring it back, but now I’m going to give it a go. The worst case is that nothing works and I’m stuck where I currently am, figuring I might be wearing wigs the rest of my life. I filled out all my forms (everything is in my new name and gender). I got called into the office, told the assistants why I was there, and waited for the dermatologist to come into the room. Once she did, I had to remove my wig. My hair might be my biggest source of dysphoria, along with genitals.
It bothers me quite a bit, allowing others see my baldness. It gives me away; makes me feel that all my work to present myself to the world is destroyed without my wig. I mean it doesn’t affect my identity, it doesn’t change how I see myself, it just makes me really, really uncomfortable. Again, my kudos to the dermatologist and her assistants for their understanding and in treating me with respect and dignity.
I am extremely lucky, blessed, or whatever you want to call it. I don’t have an answer as to why I don’t run into more transphobia, other than online. I believe it to be partly that I show confidence. Even in uncomfortable situations, I give the appearance that I am who I am, unquestionably. I do not give any hints of indecisiveness. I also, no matter how much something bothers me, do my best to not let it show. I’ll deal with it later; I don’t give them the satisfaction or let them know they got to me. I think that diffuses most situations.
I think the haters in the world get enjoyment in getting a rise out of us. When they don’t get the response they want, they’ll generally move on. I know it might happen, so I’m prepared for having to deal with the times I’m confronted with my old identity. I am 100% Stephanie, but at times, I am going to have to deal with my old identity. I convince myself that it is something I have to do, and It doesn’t change who I am now.