Avery Edison, who is transgender, writes about what it feels like to live with a constant threat of violence because of your gender identity. "If you’re trying to feel less like a man, you can do worse than getting assaulted by a child."

14 Responses to “First Night Out”

  1. First off cub, Avery is a woman –  respect that. 

    Second, Avery, if you’re reading this, try to get into UCLA. There is an awesome transgender community and if you want to transition, the health system will cover the entire process from your freshman year to your senior year.

  2. Jules Smith says:

    I recently have come out as a transwoman, and I find a lot of her thoughts are similar to my own. I haven’t faced any serious harassment yet, but the knowledge that discrimination will be on its way is pretty petrifying. I rarely go out, and my parents hardly speak to me (I find myself grateful they haven’t cut me out of their lives entirely… How sad is that?). I am very unsure of how to express my gender identity while offending the fewest people possible. One day I pray all this fear will be unnecessary. Until then…

    • Good luck, sweetie. *hug*

    • Velocirapt42 says:

      I know I sound like a Dan Savage video, but- it gets better. I work with a lot of transgender teens and young adults (I’m assuming you’re in that age range because of your referring to your parents, if you’re not I apologize for assuming!) They face a lot of harassment and isolation, particularly in the beginning stages of transition, but they also have family members who come around and reforge stronger relationships, they fall in love with wonderful romantic partners, make amazing friends who don’t care about their gender, and they find a new pleasure in being themselves, inside and out. I don’t know your situation, obviously, but if you’re not living in a coastal city you might try to find out a place that would be more accepting of who you are. I live in Seattle and transgender people unfortunately face discrimination here, but also a lot of support and a lot of people who just don’t mind any gender expression, period. You may be in for some discrimination, but you’re also in for love, friendships, finding joy in things you’re passionate about, and everything else cisgendered people look forward to as well. Congratulations on coming out, and I hope you can find a place- whether it’s a location or a group of people- where you can be yourself.

      Check out this link to Vancouver Coastal Health, and scroll to the bottom for patient education materials. A lot of it is about medical transition, but it’s got some good resources for any trans person: http://transhealth.vch.ca/resources/library/

    • Velocirapt42 says:

      Oh yeah- PFLAG. Find your closest chapter and consider attending a meeting. They’re ridiculously supportive.

    • foobar says:

      *hug*

      (If you like internet hugs)

  3. timbearcub says:

    Beautifully and eloquently written but oww.That loss of innocence when you get attacked, and the fallout…which weirdly is the next time as the hidden ‘brave face’ stuff comes crashing in. Recognition there. Different reasons although related (homophobia) and I’m aware as a tall bearded man I get it easy, but it still hurts and you lose trust in people at that moment. Hence loss of innocence…

    It will get better though. Not the nasty people who sound very similar to mine even in London (!), but the way you deal with it, defuse it, middle finger curse and move on. Or *dare* anyone to say anything. People are cowards in reality, unless they think they can get power over you.

    Love, Tim

  4. thaum says:

    Wait, wait, wait. “It gets better”? 

    I don’t think I can stomach that as a response to violence any more. If a (cis) woman got repeatedly, sexually abused on public transport (from a recent personal account that I’ve read that I annoyingly can’t find again), or a cis woman getting punched in the street like Avery had, if you told her “it gets better”, would that not be really insensitive? 

    Why as a society are we normalized to violence against women, all women, like this? Why is the best response that we can get is “oh, trust me, it gets better?” What is the better response? Because at the moment, the best I can muster is the amount of misogyny and violence in the world is depressingly overwhelming and it seems hopeless that society can ever combat it and overcome it.

    • Velocirapt42 says:

      Uh… I was replying to Jules, who mentioned that she is having trouble with her parents and social life. I was not referring to the woman who wrote this article, or anyone else who has been assaulted. 

    • Christopher says:

      I agree that saying “it gets better” is simplistic and even insensitive, but it’s a line I read as something to be used at the beginning of a discussion and a healing process, and not merely accepted as a panacea. No one should be told “it gets better” and then left at that.

      I know there are many who read “It gets better” as an excuse, a justification, who see it as a way of saying, “Yeah, shit happens, but it gets better.”

      For me, at least, it doesn’t read that way. I read it as, “The world shouldn’t be this way, but it can get better. It sounds incredibly naive, if not downright pollyannaish of me to say this, especially since I can’t begin to imagine the fear transgendered people, not to mention many women, live with constantly, but for me saying “It gets better” is about envisioning a better world. It’s a politer, more hopeful version of “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

      I know there’s no guarantee that things will get better, but for those who haven’t completely succumbed to despair–and remember it was a campaign started in the wake of several suicides–it’s a way of saying that things still can get better.

    • Alexis Rivera says:

      Misogyny is sadly at the core of most societies even women harbor feelings of insecurity and self loathing and those are taught to them by society since their youth. Religions also ad to the problem with prejudices and outdated beliefs. It needs to change.

  5. dormouse42 says:

    What a horrible experience for a first time out as her true gender.

    I’ve yet to do mine. Early in transition at age 40. Moved to Portland, OR from the east coast. Started hormones late last August and feeling better internally. Figuring out my sizing by online shopping (so many fewer choices when you are 6′ 4″ with all your height in your legs (36″ inseam.)

    Now prepping for that first night out. Luckily my favorite bar is four blocks away. Already talked to the two female bartenders and one of the owners who are female. They think the guys working there will be fine with me. And have two local friends who will meet me when I go there presenting as a woman.

    Still scared however.

    Family wise my mother and step-father barely email me and we don’t talk on the phone. I came out to them over a year ago. One of my three sisters wants nothing to do with me. Luckily my two other sisters are very accepting and supportive as are their husbands.

    Friends on the other hand back east have, with some exceptions, been both accepting and supportive. Still talk to my best friends on the phone and email and txt with the others.

    Most people moved to my new FB account and I like that. The old one is being deleted in a 1.5 weeks. Actually just created this account here on BoingBoing to replace my old one.

    My big concerns are just finding the strength and bravery to keep moving forward and take each scary step even if I do it in baby steps. Also, violence and verbal abuse (even here in progressive Portland) as well as employment even though we have employment and housing discrimination laws in Oregon that cover gender identity and presentation.

    Good luck to all my fellow sisters and brothers of what I like to call “The Tribe.”

    • Alexis Rivera says:

      I do not like the notion of the tribe as you call it, you and everyone regardless of preference are a part of society do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Sadly here in Puerto Rico discrimination does exist so I can understand some of the pressure you face because I have a few friends that had similar problems but be brave and good luck there is plenty of good people out there.

Leave a Reply