With so much ignorance about the lives of transgender people still permeating mainstream culture, it's no wonder that some transgender and gender-variant people feel as though they may have little to no safe spaces in which they can freely share their struggles, triumphs, hopes and dreams.
One new Tumblr account is making this unfortunate reality abundantly clear. Male to Female (MTF) Confessions surfaced not long after the launch of another Tumblr for female to male transgender individuals offering confessionals. The anonymous storytelling model has been used before, of course, notably by the Whisper app which included quite a few stories detailing the process of coming out as a non-heterosexual, trans or gender non-conforming individual.
But what makes this Tumblr different is the specific content of the posts, which highlight the many intersecting challenges that transwomen of various identities have to cope with on a daily basis.
The blog is an important reminder for LGBT advocates that there are many people in America who continue to suffer from intolerance, discrimination and stigma simply for being who they are. Here are some of the most poignant reflections from the blog, highlighting the daily struggles and triumphs of living in America as a transgender woman:
1. The constant misgendering.
2. The politics of "passing."
3. Sexual repression.
4. The consequences of coming out.
5. Being treated as a sideshow.
6. The search for gender-affirming health care.
7. The decision to be honest with a romantic partner.
8. The pressure to be "brave."
9. The anxiety of dating.
10. The hope for gender affirmation.
11. The wish to have been born as a cisgender person.
12. The emotional challenges of transgender relationships.
13. The process of transitioning while parenting.
14. The excitement of potential gender-affirming surgeries.
15. The beautiful moments of self-affirmation.
16. The ability to finally go shopping for clothes that fit.
17. The need for body acceptance and body-positivity.
18. The empowerment of loving friends and family.
The real lesson to be learned from all these heartfelt confessionals is that being a transgender person isn't all doom and gloom, but it's certainly no walk in the park when compared with the taken-for-granted privileges that cisgender and even heterosexual people enjoy.
Above all, it's important that non-trans and otherwise gender conforming people be cognizant of their privileges, the struggles of trans individuals and how they hope to add value to the world around them while thriving in bodies, identities and expressions that feel natural and authentic.