And now we discover the danger of assigning me to Saturday mornings: I like to sleep in late. Especially when I'm feeling a little unhappy.
Luckily, though, I bring a revelatory insight: the closet sucks, y'all.
At Duke I generally don't tend to feel closeted, because at Duke I don't actually pretend I'm a girl. I just don't always correct people when they make the wrong guess. It's not exactly comfortable, but who really expects to be their most genuine, authentic self in Chemistry class? And if the wrong guesses start to get to me, I can just talk to a friend (or my girlfriend) to get called the right name, or bind for the day, and I feel better. It's not my fault people don't see the obvious, so it's not really the closet.
No, the closet is when I encourage people to misgender me. Which is... this weekend. My mom likes me to bring laundry when I come home (seriously, if I don't she'll complain that I don't need her any more and spend the vacation trying to bury me under cups of tea) but I could only bring my girly laundry. So, today my mom asked why I brought thirty pairs of underwear, ten shirts, and some pajamas-- "You do... wear pants, don't you?"-- and I told her yet another half-truth: "The laundry was all over my room, so I only grabbed some of it." Sure, I heavily implied that the selection was random, when in reality I obsessed over every article of clothing to make sure it conformed appropriately to her standards (that is, I checked everything for rainbows before putting it in the suitcase) but it wasn't technically a lie.
The rest of it is lies, though. Lies, lies, lies. I think this is the heaviest irony of trans life: you know how people generally imply that trans folks are lying about their gender? Like, the "trans panic" defense, used (successfully, alas) in so many murder trials: "when I found out it was really a man, I just had to kill it!" Or, the murder mystery I watched with my mom last night-- "it turns out he was really a she!" There's the transphobic idea that the gender you were assigned at birth is your real gender, but there's also this idea that if you say you're anything else, you're lying and deserve what's coming to you. Well, I do feel like a liar, all the time-- when I tell people I'm not a man.
I'm not a religious person even a little, but I have a strong sense of honor. I hate lying.
Part of it is that I'm not a very good liar, so to maintain the facade I have to forget the truth a little. I grew so accustomed to the facade that I showed the rest of the world that I actually had no idea what was underneath until this semester when I decided to drop it. (Turns out: there was a man under there! Other than that, pretty much the same.) But I've always had a special facade for my parents. I wasn't just their daughter, I was the daughter they always wanted-- which means, I was straight, I was femme, I didn't curse, I didn't drink, I definitely didn't have sex, I wasn't a feminist, I wasn't an activist, I wasn't an atheist... I got to be a geek, but that was pretty much it, in terms of resemblance to my actual self.
And today, right now-- that's who I am! Sure, I've holed myself up in my room to write this, but I'm wearing pearls. It's only been a few days but I already feel like my sense of identity has been eroded away. (Not just my gender identity-- my whole identity.) I called my girlfriend last night-- from inside a literal closet, with three closed doors between my and my family-- just to hear her say my name. My real name. Which is Lawrence.
So, to remind myself who I am for the rest of the weekend, I open the comments up to all your Trans 101 questions. Just call me by my name, my real name, and I'll answer anything you want to know. Don't worry about dumb questions, personal questions, or even unintentionally offensive questions-- I did a lot of 101 in my lesbian days and I know what I'm signing up for. If you're nervous, that's what anonymous comments are for.
So ask away! I think it'll help both of us.