The Narrative Project is a new project by the VocaLady staff intended to put the narrative back in the hands of its original owner. In response to any relevant and recent news story that contains controversy, highlights various voices or interests us, we will be inviting our readers to contribute to our project, to share their stories, in a space where they will be validated and feel safe. We will then publish these stories, unedited except for grammar and spelling. We hope that this project will allow the power of narrative to flourish, untouched and free, and simply be appreciated by others. We hope these stories will inspire others to raise their voices and share own their own stories.
Last week, we asked trans and non-binary folks to submit their experiences with discrimination. These are their stories:
Whenever I tell someone I use they/them/theirs pronouns, the response is almost always “but that’s not grammatically correct!” It hurts that grammar is more important to people than my comfort and identity. I have also been told that since I generally present as female (I have to for school and work) that means I can only identify as female. I’m non-binary.
When I came out as a transgender man to my old doctor, she was very dismissive and condescending towards me, telling me that since she had no training (and later when I gave her information, that she wouldn’t “educate herself just for me”) she couldn’t and wouldn’t help me with my transition in any way. She also kept misgendering a past patient who was transgender, which made me more uncomfortable about how she treated me.
I am FtM, female to male transgender. And I attend a women’s college. When I applied and enrolled here, I didn’t know I was a man. But now I do. And every day, I face people glaring at me for having the audacity to ask them to use my pronouns. I have been told to get out of this school for infiltrating a women’s space. I have been told I don’t belong. Finding a new name that fits me is a harder task than I thought. Adam is the third name I’ve gone by since January when I started coming out. My cis** friends get mad at me whenever I choose a new name, saying that it’s hard for them to adjust every time I get “bored” of name. I’m not bored. I’m trying to fit into a new skin. They say transphobic things, and when I tell them that the jokes they’re making aren’t funny, they don’t apologize. I could keep going. I could talk about how when I came out to my mother, her response was to tell me that I made her want to die. I could talk about how she felt that I was being trans just to make her miserable. I could talk about all the horrible things about being trans. I could write a novel on it. Maybe I will. But to close, I do want to stress that it’s not all misery and depression. That for every terrible person, there’s someone helping me up. That, although my mom is being terrible, my little brother is proud to call me his older brother. That you don’t always have to be alone in the dark.
**Cis refers to cisgender which means someone whose gender identity aligns with the gender assigned to them at birth.