Tonight we went to a service for Transgender Day of Remembrance and I must admit I was all for it until we walked into the building. I was surrounded by transmen, transwomen, transpeople and all I could think was "If someone wanted to take out a bunch of trans* people, this would be the best time to do it."
I'm not usually so morbid or so pessimistic, but that has been my headspace for the last few days. I have been struggling, not so much with my gender identity or my sexuality but just with myself, in general. You see, I have a hard time seeing what other people see. When someone tells me how gorgeous I am, how sweet I am, how sexy, I smile and say thank you but I don't see it. When someone says that they enjoy me, I don't see it.
When someone says that they want to adopt me, I believe them for like...a day, but I'm always waiting for the novelty to wear off, for the other shoe to drop, for them to realize that they made a huge, fucking mistake.
Because you know, my biological family, people who are supposed to be predisposed to love and care about me, to support me, to want me, tossed me aside because I didn't conform to their ideals and morals and doesn't that mean that there's something wrong with me?
If people who are supposed to be supporting me then turn around and attack me and others like me, doesn't that mean that there's something wrong with me? With us? That we're wrong?
I sat there listening to all of these statistics and hearing that as a "transman of color" I am more likely to be attacked or killed and I'll be honest, I got scared and started wondering if it was worth it. I get this nervous twitch when I'm about to bolt, my leg starts to bounce, my eyes dart around the room (because I'm looking for an escape) and I start scratching the hell out of an arm or hand. I was about to make the world's quickest getaway, without my cane, without my shit...without my adopted Big Sister and The Nieceling who had both come with me. I was going to get the hell out of there because I felt too exposed, too fucking raw, too fucking emotional. I was wrong, everyone else was right, the biologicals, the hateful people, they were all right about me, I needed to go, I needed to get out. I could feel my heart speeding up, I could feel Cherie's eyes on me, I could tell that she knew I was about to bolt, but I didn't care. I felt like I was about to have a heart attack. I wanted to scream. I wanted to rage against God, against Allah, against the fucking elements and against my fucking biological parents for ever having sex and making me. It was their fault! I'm a screwed up mess, fucked, damned beyond all belief because of them. I felt, in that moment, that I had signed my death warrant the day that I admitted that I was a black transgender male homosexual. I was dead, I was toast, my birth mother was right, I was going to be torn apart and ripped to shreds because I'm a fucking mistake. I started to think about, to consider, going back and being "Vee" again. I could stop being Vicktor and go back to being Veronica. I could do it. I could. I could push the real me aside, my true feelings and emotions, who I truly am on the inside, and be the woman that the world saw. A woman who had a man inside of her desperately screaming and clawing to get out, fighting to breathe, fighting to stay alive.
I could go back to being a woman and slice my wrists within 24 hours.
Because sitting there I knew that if I did that, if I went back to living a lie, to denying my truth to please other people, out of fear of being attacked or being killed...I knew that if I turned my back on all the strides I'd made, I'd kill myself. It's humbling, it's frightening to know that about yourself. And then one of the people there, the musician, Lydia (a transwoman) said: "We cannot be backup singers in our own lives." It was amazing and powerful and just what I needed to hear.
I've been struggling with not being too annoying to people (it's why I haven't blogged in a while, why I don't comment as much anymore, why I don't tweet as much as I used to...why I'm so godsdamn afraid to talk to my adopted father or my adopted big brother or some of my adopted big sisters) because I didn't want to lose the only people that are supporting me and lose this family that I have now, and so I've been not really talking too much and not really getting involved or commenting as much. Because that's a very real fear of mine, that one morning all of you will wake up and realize that I'm just not worth it. But tonight as I sat there in this memorial service hearing about the number of people who are killed just for being themselves, the people who had the courage to live their truths, I realized that even if I drive all of you away (*biting lower lip*) because I need a little more reassurance right now, because I need the emails and the phone calls and the hugs and the public acknowledgments and the comments and even the tweets and the mentions in a group or on Facebook, to let me know that I'm not an abomination or a mistake or something to be ashamed of, I had to have the guts and the courage to stand up and live my life, to live my truth, regardless. You know?
Because I am NOT a backup singer in my own life. I refuse to be. And if that makes me a target, then bring it on, because you know what? I got the title of expert marksman in the Army and they don't call me "The Dom" for nothing, I am a force to be reckoned with, once I realize what I want to stand for and I've decided, finally, to stand for myself. It's time for me, for Vicktor, to stand up and be heard and let people know that:
NO I am NOT an abomination! NO I am NOT a mistake! NO I have not gotten it wrong! YES, I am here! YES, I DO exist! And NO. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, I AM NOT GOING TO GO AWAY!
Don't like it? Well too damn bad for you.
-Vicktor A. Bailey