28 votes

Identity: A trans coming out story

6 comments

  1. dubteedub
    Link
    Wow, I am so happy for Abigail coming out. Hearing that she has been trans for so long and been putting on a character in her videos as Olly for the last year was pretty crazy. It is great that...

    Wow, I am so happy for Abigail coming out. Hearing that she has been trans for so long and been putting on a character in her videos as Olly for the last year was pretty crazy. It is great that they can now actually be their authentic self.

    I thought the use of a stand-in actor for her past self and the transition to coming on stage as Abby was really cool and well-done.

    Here is her coming out post on Twitter if you want to give her some love.

    https://twitter.com/PhilosophyTube/status/1355577911949070341

    She also made a separate coming out statement video on YouTube as well.

    15 votes
  2. [3]
    CALICO
    Link
    Not to take away from the video itself, and make this all about me, but whenever a personality I follow comes out as trans my brain does this thing where it asks me: "What does this mean for us,...

    Not to take away from the video itself, and make this all about me, but whenever a personality I follow comes out as trans my brain does this thing where it asks me: "What does this mean for us, then?"

    I've recognized for a few years now that I fall well on the trans-side of the gender identity spectrum, and feel a strong disconnect with the body I have. An entire disconnect, nearly.
    At first—and sometimes, still—I tell myself I don't have a gender. Or, I decide I'm gender-fluid. It's much easier. Because to fully embrace a trans identity, well, that raises the question that begs to be answered: does this mean I ought to transition, then? A question complicated by the decision I've made to not transition1.

    Sometimes I wonder what it means to be a trans person who won't transition.
    Is that a thing? What does that look like? What does that look like, for me?

    If I won't transition, does mean I'm not trans?

    But then Abby comes out with a piece like this:

    I don't know if I can really explain it, but it's like every time I see myself on the screen or, even in the mirror, I’m not sure I’m really there. I don't know if I’m real. It's like it's a different person. Not a bad person. Not someone I wouldn't want to be like, I’m just like, "Oop, there he is! That handsome devil! He looks chill, whoever he is." It's just this face and this body, it's not who I was expecting. But then I go out and people talk to me like I am him, and I just sort of pretend I am, I suppose.

    I didn't asked to be called-out like this.

    It's a strange place to exist. I dunno. It feels kind of like, my decision to not transition is invalidated by others' decision to transition, or others' decision to transition is invalidated by my decision not to. It's very weird.

    1 It's complex. Don't push me too hard on this, please. While there is a distinct lack of connect between my body, and my mind, I do not present either an imminent, or distant, danger to my mind, or my body.

    12 votes
    1. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Before I jump into any of this, I wanted to simply point out that as a transgender person, I think @kfwyre hit this on the nose. How you identify and what you choose to do with your body is...
      • Exemplary

      Before I jump into any of this, I wanted to simply point out that as a transgender person, I think @kfwyre hit this on the nose. How you identify and what you choose to do with your body is entirely your choice and some of that identity comes from within, intrinsically. What this YouTube video did a great job at, was also outlining how some of it comes from the recognition of yourself in others. If you recognize yourself or a shared story in what other people are saying, then you probably identify with them on some level. Whether you choose to make this part of your external identity is a choice that only you can make and is based on any number of factors and your own comfort navigating life is absolutely an important one.

      Sometimes I wonder what it means to be a trans person who won't transition.

      Seeing a question like this makes me wonder how much time you've spent in trans spaces. A lot of these questions you have, and many more, can be answered by other fellow trans individuals and I can't think of a single trans person I know who doesn't consider not transitioning an extremely valid identity.

      I actually have no desire to transition at all, and have ended up in some sort of weird middle space because I went on hormones with the only goal being to see how it felt. As it happens I have secondary hypogonadism, which means that my body stopped producing the hormone typically associated with my sex and the health problems that came along with this means that I will be on hormones for the rest of my life, the question simply because should it be testosterone or estrogen or some of both? It turns out that the hormone I prefer, primarily because it reduces my regularly hyperactive sex drive, is not the hormone my body normally produces in large amounts so my body is likely to end up somewhere in the androgynous space over time.

      Because of this, transitioning is more of the social and other processes to me. In my case I made the conscious decision to let people know that I am transgender because I happen to be quite privileged and since I have the mental faculties to deal with people asking potentially harmful questions and happen to be quite good at educating others I want to help guide them so that when they approach someone who doesn't have the same privilege they can do so with respect. It was always a part of my internal identity (some kind of gender fluid, two gender, gender fuckery nonsense) but it's publicity was a choice that took me a long time to decide on and happened to be for reasons that weren't about how I perceived myself, but how I wanted others to perceive me (and importantly, were not perceiving me as).

      It's a strange place to exist. I dunno. It feels kind of like, my decision to not transition is invalidated by others' decision to transition, or others' decision to transition is invalidated by my decision not to. It's very weird.

      I think you're conflating two ideas together, and this conflation is precisely why I'm not a huge fan of labels in the first place. If you ever happen to fall down the rabbit hole of gender and sexual/romantic orientation, you'll find that in addition to the very visible larger labels such as transgender, there's many much more specific gender and sexuality labels that exist, including labels such as orbisian/trixic which is some mish-mash of gender and sexual attraction. There's likely labels which exist even beneath this which define it even more precisely.

      While labels of this specificity can be useful in very specific circumstances, I believe there's a point at which labels start to lose their importance and meaning and their specificity becomes more problematic than simply using words directly to define within very specific contexts. The way I like to think of this, is how I tend to describe myself to other queers, and how I tend to describe myself to those who are not versed in queer identity labels and the world I spend a lot of time in. In the same way that a very specific kind of skateboarder (downhill longboarding) might simply call themselves a skateboarder or longboarder to others and use specific labels among people who are into the same hobby, I often refer to myself as queer or bisexual and non-binary to non-queers and pansexual and enby genderfuck to those within the community.

      I believe you are falling into the trap of conflating your specific identity with that of other transgender individuals. Transgender is an umbrella term, and meant to capture many identities within it. By being inside the umbrella you are never invalidating others under the same umbrella and they are never invalidating you. You just happen to be occupying the same general space as a means of convenience so that others can begin to understand what you and your peers represent.

      9 votes
    2. kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Take my words with a cis grain of salt, but it sounds like you see some of yourself in what Abigail talked about, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the path she took is the one that’s right...
      • Exemplary

      Take my words with a cis grain of salt, but it sounds like you see some of yourself in what Abigail talked about, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the path she took is the one that’s right for you. Her transition doesn’t invalidate the commonality you two share, nor does it make your decision regarding transition any less or worse than hers.

      For me, your identity is entirely about your own understanding of yourself, and literally nothing more. Back when I was first coming out as gay, I did so before I ever engaged in any romantic activity — not just with males but with anyone. One of the common questions I got was, in the absence of the proof of experience, how can you actually know that you’re gay? It was a baffling question, because I could see the logic of it plain as day, but it also felt wrong because of course I knew (as soon as I stopped denying it).

      Me being gay has some potential outcomes attached to it, but my identity is not defined by or validated by those outcomes. I was gay before I started dating men, and I continued to be gay even in the periods of time I wasn’t dating. If, God forbid, I stopped being married to my husband, the externalities of being gay would seemingly change, but my being gay would not. “Gay” is a way of identifying something in myself as it relates to the world, not a way of identifying something in the world as it relates to me.

      Again, I’m not trans so I cannot speak to that experience, but I can say that I believe your trans identity should be rooted in your understanding of your own self, subject only to a scrutiny you feel is fair to apply. I fully understand how murky those waters can be and how difficult it can be to arrive at self-definition with clarity, so I am not saying this is easy by any means (I went through a full DECADE of denial, where the truth about myself wasn’t even evident to me privately). Instead, I’m simply saying that attaching the crux of your identity to external factors leaves your identity in the hands of a world that cannot know your experience in it and relationship to it. Only you can define that and, as such, the only confirmation you need is your own. That is why I believe it is fully possible to be trans absent transition. That is not a contradiction in the slightest to me.

      When I was coming out as gay I had so many people who doubted my disclosure, or assumed they knew better. You will likely experience the same thing, especially in choosing not to transition. I encourage you to consider that a limitation of others’ understanding rather than a misalignment of your identity.

      9 votes
  3. kfwyre
    Link
    I couldn’t stop grinning for the entire second half. Abigail’s genuine smile and personal brightness were simply infectious. Also, she brought me to tears when she referenced Natalie's famous line...

    I couldn’t stop grinning for the entire second half. Abigail’s genuine smile and personal brightness were simply infectious.

    Also, she brought me to tears when she referenced Natalie's famous line about her gender but inverted it. It was a beautiful, touching moment and tribute.

    10 votes