Silent Discrimination – A Curse or a Blessing!

They say the eyes are the windows to your soul. How far that can be taken as truth is yet to be seen but let me get through this, and it’s my hope you understand the complexity of that statement.

If you look at the accompanying picture, what do you see? A person having a cup of Joe after a church service and the appearance of being spiritually satisfied. Yes, that’s me, and I am always spiritually satisfied because that’s who I am. This is not about religion, faith, or anything related. It is about who we are. And who are we?

I am who I am, but I am also human with heart and feelings. I am a woman first and with a heart full of love to give and share. I have a passion to help anyone in need. I’ll be there if you let me in. I’ll be there if you need a hand. I’ll take your hand and walk with you. Do not fear reaching out, as there are many. I’m there and ready to walk with you.

En Femme Style

Now, let’s get back to the title. “Silent Witness! A Curse or a Blessing?” Have you ever noticed this? Let me explain. You wake up in the morning and do your usual morning routine. Everything is always hunky dory. A wife or partner, family, and in-laws, maybe children; you are one happy family. The usual friends, work, and society. They’ve gotten used to you over time. You’ve had many parties, joyful times, shared things, etc. Everyone went about their day, and it became a custom.

Today it is different. This is the first day of the new you. The person they knew is gone. You start your journey today. Today you walk out the door dressed in your most precious underwear, perhaps a lovely summer dress and heels. Your makeup is done to perfection. Clutch under your arm, lovely but not overboard jewelry, perfume, and all smells cleaned and/or prevented with a delicate but subtle fragrance that does not advertise your arrival anywhere. You are full of confidence as you face the outside world. You are well prepared for the outside world (or so you think).

You’ve had discussions with your wife, your partner, your family, or whoever you have felt safe discussing the new but real you. I say the new you, but that is the new you they get to meet. You are not new because you’ve always been you. The real you was always there, hidden from this world and buried in pain and heartaches and the longing over the years to unveil who you really were; not the person the world perceived you to be. Today is that day. You are excited about the prospects of what’s going to be as well as nervous because you’re walking into the unknown future. How will I be received by others, strangers, my colleagues at work, my employers, the milkman, or the postman? All these thoughts are like a hurricane in your mind.

You walk out, get into your car, and face the world and this new reality. Really? Are we really ready to face the reality of what’s out there? What is reality? What’s in it for you? You see lots of smiles and happy people. You arrive at work, and you’re met with lots of smiles, surprised faces, and people that knew you, but they never knew the real you. Everyone wishes you good luck and some wish you well for the future. You get compliments on your attire and makeup and all that. Everything is going well, and you’re on Cloud 9. The day goes by and turns into a week and then into a month and then several months. You are happy. You started your hormone replacement therapy and you just love being you.

Have you remembered my earlier question about reality? What is reality? As the days go by you are happy with what changes you’re noticing. Softening skin, boobies developing, hair growing especially nice, and you are happy. You then start noticing something that is not there.

Where are my friends? Why are they not happy to be on my side as they used to be? We used to have a drink together, BBQs in abundance, and many happy times together; they have started fading away. You find a new lifestyle has encompassed your life. Loneliness. You start feeling despair. Where has everyone gone that always couldn’t wait to get together? You contact your friends, and they are happy to hear your voice and you invite them over for a drink or BBQ. They can’t make it; they are too busy, they are away, or they have something happening at the same time. This keeps going. You stop at their place and they’re happy to see you, but you sense something is not right. You feel uncomfortable in their presence. You go home and get into bed and fall asleep but wake up again and can’t sleep. You start tossing and turning around the whole time with a mind full of thoughts, lots of questions, and no answers.

Now you develop that super drive when you arrive at work the next day. Everything that happens around you is scrutinized from top to bottom. You realize it’s the same here. Wherever you go, people are friendly but distant. You were so happy that you never noticed this. You start feeling rejected, you feel dirty, and you feel lost. Those are the thoughts going through your mind over and over. Forever alone and starting to feel lonely. What have I done? Is this worth it? I’m supposed to be happy but I’m not.

You start living your days one at a time. You go your way and as much as you can, you muster up the energy to go on and just be yourself. You learn to accept your new life. Being alone till someday a friend rocks up in your life. A friend who understands and one who cares, and then you’ll find happiness again. You learn through this, to accept and be accepted by those who matter and those who care enough to be part of your life. You learn to see who people are. You learn about the actions of people. Those once over-friendly regular visits are no more. The atmosphere at work is bearable but cold, but you don’t care. You are there to do what you get paid for and that’s all. They don’t care and neither do you.

You learn through all this. This is reality! The reality is that people still see you as the old you and who they want you to be. The reality is that they don’t want to see the new you. All those excuses, all the cold-hearted feeling behind the eyes that appears so friendly. That, brother and sister, is the reality that follows us. They accept but don’t accept. They just don’t show their real feelings for reasons known only to themselves.

That is how I see Silent discrimination! Acceptance but not accepting. Facial friendliness but distant in composure. In some sense, I see this silent discrimination as a curse but also a true blessing because I see the reality of people, I once called friends!

The reality is, Love is alive, and you’ll find it at the right time and the right place!

More Articles by Ms. Catherine Anne Vos (Dip. H-W, MH-ADD)

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Ms. Catherine Anne Vos (Dip. H-W, MH-ADD)

I'm a 62-year-old M2F transgender woman. I have been on full HRT for nearly 6 years and 7 months. I have been part of TGH for a while now as well as on CDH to widen my horizon in the CD/Trans community. I have been battling my feelings of being something else since early childhood. Constantly subjected to abuse and worse. Growing up in a poor family wasn't easy so I found myself hiding in the closet until about age 56. I was married twice with my second being " A trip to Hell". When my second ex left me, I came out and decided it was time to rebirth myself into what I am today. I am a Christian and my biggest struggle in becoming me was that I was scared of not being able to keep being a Christian. When I had that sorted out, I became the happiest trans woman in the world I think. After a stint in a mental clinic for severe depression and suicide intentions, I got to meet wonderful people on my road to recovery. I am now part of a local Suicide Prevention Support Group in my community and I'm just happy to be myself at last. I had my bilateral Orchy on March 3rd. 2021 and have been approved for Gender Confirmation Surgery and breast augmentation by my Ministry of Health. On the waiting list just waiting for an appointment with my surgeon and her scalpels to complete me! I have now at the end of 2022 completed my undergrad diploma in health and wellbeing with a major in mental health and addiction support and recovery. In 2023 I enrolled at another university to do my Bachelor of Counselling degree with a major in Psychology and trans health care post-grad diploma.

Latest posts by Ms. Catherine Anne Vos (Dip. H-W, MH-ADD) (see all)

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Jan Janet
Jan Janet(@janice420)
4 months ago

Thank you. Wow! This read is what I needed. The story of (y)ours ; You’ve given us hope and confidence. I’ve not felt confident out in the open yet and everybody who knows me has seen how I present; But now, EMBOLDED, going futialy back and forth, looks silly. There’s people who’ll like me for me, and those are the people I want to be my friends!
Thank you again, I love your heart, Jan

Alyssa S
Alyssa S(@uptowngirl247)
4 months ago

Great article Catherine. This is what I try to explain to others that noone sees or knows about. The Silent discrimination. The blank states, the drawing away, the exclusion. Even sharing it with others whom you think will listen draws an “oh you are assuming things” and “it’s all in your head” when You are the one experiencing this pain! It’s really sad. But, what keeps me going is the pockets of AFFIRMING coworkers, friends, housemates (bless them, so accepting and inclusive!) And various positive encounters in public. Thanks again for a well written article, stay safe, and find the… Read more »

Dee Lienert
Member
Member
Dee Lienert(@jennidavis)
4 months ago

Cat, your article is dear to me.
As I continue to come out I find some friends have become closer some a bit distant. Also there are new friends with similar shared experiences.
Yes this is pare of becoming ourselves but it is also part of the continuance of life’s journey. If we take being trans out of the equation, we may find that our circle of friends expands and contracts for various reasons.
Pragmatically we gravitate towards those that show love. Hopefully that love is reality. ✌️

Michelle Lawson
Member
Member
Michelle Lawson(@michellelarsen1)
4 months ago

Cat, that is far too often sadly more true than not. Granted everyone is faced with some degree of that, at some point in their life, regardless of their station in life. But being transgender adds a certain level of vulnerability that only magnifies that ‘silent discrimination’. And we can only keep giving other’s the benefit of the doubt, to try to heal our own wounds, for so long. We are not all on the same boat here. Some have yachts, some have speed boats, some have sailboats, or canoes. But we all are in the same storm. And we… Read more »

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