Signal Boosting: I am a trans woman. I am in the closet. I am not coming out.

Yeah, I know, two in a row. But medium is on fire today. Another post that is 1000% recommended trans ally reading material.

I love everything my sister loves, but I will not admit it. I know she and her friends will make fun of me. I know my parents will chastise me and correct me. I am learning the rules, and I am learning that boys liking girl things is a very high stakes issue. I am learning that adults react the same way to my interest in makeup as they do to my interest in matches and lighters.

As if maybe, by being what I am, I might burn down something very important to them. Something that makes their life more comfortable and easy.

If you’re ever curious as to what it’s like being a young trans girl, that sentence, right there:

I am learning that adults react the same way to my interest in makeup as they do to my interest in matches and lighters.

Explains everything.

Some other choice quotes that summarize my childhood/teenagehood:

For the rest of my life, two days is the longest I can go without thinking about this. I read stories about powerful, adventurous girls late into the night so I don’t have to think about what my body looks like under the blankets.

When I help my dad build things, he calls me strong. I feel like I am winning something and losing something at the same time.

I think about being told I was not allowed to speak about femininity. I wonder what a person like me is allowed to speak about.

She also says I couldn’t possibly understand the standards of beauty imposed upon women. As if I didn’t spend years bent over a toilet, feeling miserably that even if I were thin enough I wouldn’t be girl enough.

You have the privilege of experimenting with your body hair because your status and your identity are otherwise secured in ways they are not for transwomen.

Of course she couldn’t know how often I cried after puberty when my leg hair started coming in—felt helpless because I couldn’t even shave it.

But my story is not what made true what I was saying.

They may call you names but they will not force you into the wrong bathroom. It will not collapse the trembling house of cards you’ve constructed to make people forget what they think you are. You are safe where some people are not.

When you are trans and you don’t shave your legs, it is taken as evidence to everyone — even to allies in their dark, unadjustable subconscious — that you are not a real woman. Sometimes even by yourself.

And if you want a demonstration of what cissexism looks like, look no further than the comments of said article.