Microagression

By , March 30, 2011 12:22 am

Great post over at Tranarchism, entitled “A Day In The Life Of An Angry Transsexual“:

At lunch break, one of my coworkers talks about his roommates. “You live with two girls?” someone asks. “Sort of,” he replies. “One of them is like a transgender. It’s like her boyfriend or something.”

Somebody else starts laughing, “Oh that’s nasty. Oh that’s wrong. Does he wear a wig and everything?”

I am speechless, baffled by what is going on around me. Everyone here knows that I am trans. Do they think of me that way too? Or am I one of the ‘good ones?’ Do they just forget that I’m transgender? Or are trans men OK in their book, and only trans women repulsive? I mentally circle this last, most likely explanation in red. But that still doesn’t really explain why they think they can talk that way in front of me. Whatever the reason, I am ashamed to say, they keep right on thinking that, because I cannot find my voice to say anything.

Asher uses the term “microagression” to describe these little instances. No one specific thing is big enough to get all upset over, but combined (day after day after day after…) they leave psychic residue in your soul.

In some ways, Asher’s post reminds me of my privilege: I – in the vast majority of my daily existence – am not surrounded by people who would pull that shit.

At the same time, particularly after coming back from DC and being surrounded by all sorts of awesome trans folks, gender non-conforming folks, and we-have-our-shit-together allies, I’m reminded of how cis and straight my Chicago social group is. I’ve said this before, but now am trying more seriously to change it:

  • I’m moving my circus class so I can start attending Genderqueer Chicago
  • Been messaging with lots of folks on OKCupid
  • Looking into Gender Just’s activities
  • Planning to go to a few other weekly/monthly events in the queer community, to see how they feel

The NCTE conference was a pressure cooker of an event, a pre-built community that I’ll have to actually discover for myself in Chicago. But I’m going to try.

4 Responses to “Microagression”

  1. Mikey says:

    Are you kidding? I still get upset over something like this! I get pissed as shit! But, I do find that I, too, lose my voice at these inopportunely provided teaching/introspective moments. I think its the battle of self-deprecation vs angry rant response that quiets me. Which is more necessary? Which am I moved to share more? Which am I moved to feel, more.

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