Being Openly Open

As I am coming to the end of my second year back in L.A. as a teacher and my first year back in high school, I have noticed a change in my attitude about my public identity (how out I am, as it were). At my job in Arizona, I didn’t have much of a choice about who knew I was trans. I transitioned on the job. The only people who didn’t know were the freshmen who came in the following year and it didn’t take them too long to find out. When I taught middle school last spring, I didn’t see the advantage in sharing my story in that environment. The students were hard enough to deal with as it was and while I would have liked to expand their minds as to what it meant to know a trans person, I wasn’t in a good head space for it.

This year has been different. When I came into the school I am working at now, I did not have a plan for being out or openly trans. I just figured I would play it by ear, or that people just know. I always assume people just know, but I’m often wrong. Case and point, my spouse was getting some work done by a tattoo artist we have both had work done by. Marni was talking to her about my self-perception, to which the artist said:

“She doesn’t know, does she?”

Apparently, people generally don’t just know that I am trans. I’ve spoken with a number of folks who have shared the same with me. More and more I am thinking that most people simply do not have enough experience with trans people to come to the conclusion that they are in our company. All for good, I know. I am happy to be accepted for me as I am and seen for me as I am, but I am also always slightly en garde (like a Canadian anthem singer I am) against those who know and think I am trying to fool them and don’t like it. Mostly when I am with my daughter in the locker room at the pool where she swims. I have that niggling worry that the pod people will point at me…

So if people don’t know I’m trans, do I want them to? I am open about it with my friends, the folks at the theatre I work at, and with any of my students who ask. I’m the GSA advisor and I’m not even sure if all the kids get that I am trans. I know they think I am a lesbian because I am married to a woman. But I haven’t ever come out and talked about it in a meaningful way. There are times when I want to and it’s silly, I know. But it just isn’t something that comes up in casual conversation or as part of a lesson. Even in a GSA meeting, I haven’t really felt it germaine or organic.

It’s a strange time to be trans to even be entertaining these thoughts…I’m glad I can be openly open and I think as time goes on, I’ll find the more organic and comfortable way to be so.