The part timer’s dilemma

In last night’s Chams call we spoke about doing enough. Or more accurately, the dilemma of the person the closet and the Catch 22 of wanting to help move things on and yet, not be too out, if that makes sense.

On the one hand, I’m okay with my trans side and I sort of feel mostly unworried about myself if someone from work or my family found out. However, while I’m not so fussed, I am concerned by the effect it would have on my family. I certainly don’t want to embarrass our two teens and while I might be over it, I don’t want anyone judging the Ever Lovely Mrs J because of who she married. As with much in life, things are rarely black and white.

So we come back to wanting things to be better for LGBTQ+ folk and trying to balance your personal life. Hello conflict as two ideals try to pull is in different directions. You could throw in extra ones if you’re not fully okay with who you are, how you look, etc. That is absolutely not to judge anyone, only to say that they can add to the emotional heavy lifting we sometimes need to do.

I, perhaps like other part time folk – sadly not yet party time folk 😉 – can struggle with this. A need to try and help equality move on and to do that, there needs to be some trade off on personal privacy. Again, hello conflict as we wrestle with balancing that with our personal and professional lives.

Is visibility a statement?

But, and to call back to the online call last week, is being visible is a form of political statement? It doesn’t matter if that’s you being in public and being kind to others, me doing a talk as Richard (or in Lynn mode), or in the case of two of the panel, two married ladies holding hands on public. Being visible is, I think, a positive statement. Is that how we win? By being everyday and letting others see we are people and not some ne’er-do-well that the less accepting aspects of the media suggest?

Taking of positive, I saw a wonderful interview with Sir Ian McKellen and Olly Alexander on being a trans ally. The continually awesome Sir Ian said: “I do hear people – gay people – talk about transgender people in very much the same terms as people used to talk about your common or garden gay…. The problems that transgender people have with the law are not dissimilar from what used to be the case for us, so I think we should all be allies really.

So, despite the occasions whispers of doubt that we may feel we are not doing enough, how about Sue’s comment from the last post:

You’re appearances en femme may be only part-time, but you are trans all the time

Sue Richmond

I’ve been in bloke mode since mid December last year. Not that I’m counting the days (twitch twitch 😉), but my nature of who I am remains: someone in the middle, someone who is part of the transgender community.

Sure, I can’t express that physically right now, but hopefully in the coming weeks that’ll be possible. The kids go back to school in a few weeks and maybe the Centre will open again. In the meantime, maybe I need to focus on just doing what I can and that’ll have to be enough.

How might this apply to you? Well, if you’re doing anything, that’s better than nothing. Like the jogger shuffling around the park, you’re still going faster than the person on the sofa 😛If you’re politely challenging negative behaviours, being an ally to those with less power than you, if you are visible in any way: you are helping. ❤️

Plus, it wouldn’t be a YATGB post if I don’t throw in a coaching quote: you are doing your best in the circumstances you find yourself. 😉

L x

4 Comments

  1. Hi Lynn
    This is very similar to the position I find myself in at the moment, where I am now on the committee for my workplace’s new UK Pride Network, and where, having introduced ourselves to the workplace I have effectively come ‘out’ as an LGBTQ ally to my boss and senior management. And after a bit of initial misgiving that’s cool, because if I’m not willing to open about my involvement how can I hope to try and move things along in the right direction for others.
    And yet there’s still that vague feeling of impostor syndrome as I haven’t come out even within the committee on my own trans identity as Susie. That may change, but Susie hasn’t had a chance to express since September and is starting to feel more like a fond memory of better days.

    1. FWIW Susie, I don’t think you need to be fully out to improve your Ally status or be more legitimate. The fact that you’ve stepped up is a good thing and that you are trying to help move equality onward, that’s all that matters IMHO.

  2. Yes, that’s a very good post about the dilemma that faces the overwhelming majority of trans people who are not fully out to all. One does one’s best with what one can, be it the wrong-shaped body, ill-pitched voice or social circumstances that require caution. Every little bit helps, though. Sue x

  3. Thanks Sue. Doing your best is all you can do and that ‘best’ is subject to various factors: some positive, some not so much. Indeed some of those factors may be outside of our control or influence too.

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