Cis-gender people take mirrors for granted. For most people a mirror is just a reflection of what the rest of the world sees, for better or worse. Mirrors can be cruel in the straight world, particularly if you're female, but it's a magnifying glass, pointing out and distorting the harsher fringes of reality. For trans and genderqueer people, mirrors are something much more cruel, something much more cerebral. It's a hissing funhouse mirror twisting the truth into knots until reality itself becomes a opaque concept. For most people outside the binary the mirror is a tool of dysphoria, pointing out all the things we aren't and all the things we'll never be. I've had my own struggles with the tyranny of the mirror and gender dysphoria, but my problems seem to be different, even from other queer folk.
You see, when I look in the mirror I see my true self. Even with the burly body hair and six o'clock shadow, I still see that angry little girl who rages beneath. My hirsute only adds to her androgynous mystique. The problem is, no one else sees her and trying to convince people that she's really there becomes unbearably tiresome. Being something no one else can see makes you feel fucking crazy. What's even worse, it makes you feel invisible. This is my dysphoria, being haunted by the invisible girl that only I can see in the mirror. And the damnedest thing is that she rarely feels more invisible than when she's among other queer people, my people.
I spent most of my life suffering from an affliction that I didn't even know existed. Being neither male nor female but a fluid mix of the two and everything in between, I didn't exactly grow up feeling like a girl and I just assumed that I must be male because that's what everyone told me I was. But I never felt right. I never felt content. And the older I got, the louder these feelings became. As I entered the maelstrom of my twenties, my dysphoria reached a late full bloom and being male began to feel like a cruel prison sentence, life without parole. It was only through my isolated agoraphobic autodidactism that I discovered that the universe was so much more colorful than pink and blue. After voraciously consuming the incendiary ideas of gender renegades like Judith Butler, Julia Serrano and Justin Vivian Bond, not to mention my online mentor, Angela Keaton, and a shitload of David Bowie, Lou Reed and Courtney Love songs, I came to the conclusion that I was queer and I made a conscious decision to reject the gender binary entirely.
After a disastrously failed attempt to find more answers through therapy (see Comrade Hermit Vs. the Tranny Whisperer), I decided that I couldn't trust a psychiatric establishment who's understanding of gender identity belonged in the Nineteenth Century with leech therapy and exorcisms. So I sought to find myself by finding my tribe. I began attending the few local queer support groups that exist in my agrarian corner of Trump Country. At first it was great and in many ways it still is. Its given me a sense of community and belonging that I had long gave up on ever finding. But the more time I spent with these wonderful people, the more dysphoric I seemed to get.
It was through zero fault of their own. They were all open and welcoming and I now count them among the few truly close friends I've made since high school. The damage was all self-inflicted but it hurt like a bitch regardless. When I looked at these beautiful people, my people, I didn't see myself. I didn't see anyone who looked like me. I didn't see anyone who felt like me. And that made me feel like an impostor. And that made me feel invisible. I'm not pretty. I'm not girly. I don't fit the standards of a modern day androgynous femme. As queer and female as I feel, I still like to wear my facial hair thick and I feel much more comfortable in sweats than skirts. I didn't fit in and for the first time in my life, I wanted too, I wanted too so bad.
I've spent the last few months suffering silently, twisting myself into knots trying to figure out how to get the rest of the world to see the invisible girl and every time I looked in the mirror she was still there, taunting me with the fact that I was the only one who could see her. Finally, it hit me like a bolt of lightening, that I had put myself into another closet. In spite of the fact that I felt perfectly femme and queer in my own burly skin, I let the perceived expectations of other queer people dictate how I should behave. This is the polar opposite of what being queer is all about. Being queer isn't about lipstick and pretty dresses or hiking boots and butch hairdos. Being queer is about being free, being free to be who we wanna be, to fuck who we wanna fuck and to fuck how we wanna fuck.
I'm through sweating my masculine idiosyncrasies. I'm done beating myself up for not being queer enough. When I look in the mirror I know what I see. I see a hairy genderfuck femme and she looks beautiful to me. I see the invisible girl in the mirror and fuck anyone, straight or queer, who is too goddamn blind to see her. They're the ones with the fucking problem, not me. I am my own gender, a serpent who has slithered its way out of the binary swamp that once enslaved me and, against all odds, I've sprung arms and legs and an identity all my own. I am a prototype of queer evolution. A bearded bull-dyke with a dick and a blog, hear me roar. And ignore the invisible girl at your own risk, dearest motherfuckers. She's pissed and out for revenge. Call her sir and she'll slit your fucking throat.
Peace, Love & Empathy- CH
Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post
* the Middle by Jimmy Eat World
* When It's Cold I'd Like To Die by Moby
* Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
* Boyish by Japanese Breakfast
* What Goes On by the Velvet Underground
* For Once In My Life by the Decemberists
* Pretty On the Inside by Hole
* Suedehead by Morrissey
* List of Demands by Saul Williams