[TW: suicidal ideation, self-harm]
It was a company event in a posh hotel, the sort of jolly that usually happens to other people, but this time it was me. A new boss taking his team away to discuss strategy and learn about a vendor’s new development tool. The booked room was in the middle of a dedicated conferencing space and employees from other companies milled about all day together with hotel staff.
That terrible trans word that means my looks had finally bent to the will of facial surgery and hormones, that everyone about me didn’t realise my transgender origin and, crucially, that I wasn’t being stared at. As time went on, the bubble stayed intact, no stares or side glances. No sarky comments or waiter’s “sir’s”, just me in my smart casual dress.
By the evening, I was on cloud nine, feeling relaxed and accepted as no different from any other woman. We had a meal and a bit too much wine, and everything was going great as I tweeted my happiness to the world. And then it came, the comment, meant so well, the comment that destroyed me.
“They’re all just being nice to you, it’s their job”
If you want to know what its like to have the rug pulled from under you whilst being simultaneously stabbed through the heart, I’ve got an insight now. My little house of cards came crashing down and it was all I could do not to cry in front of my colleagues. I said almost nothing for the rest of the meal and it was like the bad times before transition as happiness swirled around my little pit of despair.
As soon as I could I was back in my room, distraught, absolutely destroyed by this comment, the old suicidal ideation back in force and I did something I’d not done since before transition and took a blade to my arm…
It was a good week before I got over that night away and could reflect, though the physical scars lasted much longer. In practice it doesn’t matter a hoot if someone knows that I’m trans or not, so long as they don’t stare and treat me like anyone else, but I’m never going to be able to just be a woman am I? To survive, for me, I have to own my trans past and keep it part of me, even when accepted as ‘just another woman’. People are, mostly, nice whether they think I’m a cis or a trans woman and it doesn’t matter which.