I was asking for it!

Yesterday, I got a real shock and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Since then, I have see-sawed back and forth in my feelings and, for me, the bricks are still falling, one after another.

It seems that a couple of women in my “spiritual” community had a problem with me using the women’s restroom and instead of bringing it to me directly or keeping it to themselves, they decided to take it to a spokesperson in the community for transmittal to me by his mouth instead of theirs.  They thought that since I was open and vocal about my transition in the community and that they were not, that they had the right to send me the message of their discomfort through an intermediary because they “didn’t know what else to do.”  The spokesperson, as non-judgmental as he thought he might of been in his manner of communication believes that I have no right to blame him as he was “just the messenger” and by telling me that because I was open that I should have expected this to happen.

In other words, they get to have their discomfort “off their itty bitty titties” while I must bear all of the burden that I never asked for by my openness.  To me, that is like saying that I was asking to be raped because I decided to flaunt my new female sexuality instead of keeping it under wraps, that I had the audacity to invade their private space on a whim.

I haven’t decided what to do about this yet beyond this post and I hope there are some in my community who might chance upon it.  Whether or not they agree with me doesn’t matter because regardless of what anyone else says, I have been violated and the violators get to remain hidden in the dark.  I could easily walk away in my shame, but excuse me, I have decided that I am not going to take this lying down!

Deanna Joy

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About Deanna Joy Hallmark

I am a post-op transgender woman who has now completed transition and living my life as the woman I was born to be. I have been writing my blog, now titled "A Spy in the Enemy Camp - A transgender woman’s perspective from having lived as a man among men" since December 2011. Originally a record of my process and feelings in transition, last summer in 2013 it took on observations from both sides of the gender binary and now will also be looking at my past life pretending to be the man I never was and how it finally brought me to where I am today, the beautiful intelligent woman I had always believed I should have been since I was little.
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13 Responses to I was asking for it!

  1. Becky says:

    I am not sure from this if your are irritated that these women are uncomfortable with you or that they chose to remain anonymous.
    Either way, they are right. No matter what you say or do, some people will remain uncomfortable with the idea of someone transitioning gender. It is an unusual (defined by the fact that it is rare in the population as a whole) event for most people, and treads on territory that some hold sacred. You just have to accept that, no matter how hard you try, you will have detractors. It really is no different than any other area of life. No group of people agrees 100% of the time on everything.

    As far as the anonymity goes. I can tell from your blog that you are an open, no-holds-barred kind of talker. There are times when you talk about subjects here that might be better left unsaid. I can only assume that your writing is a reflection of your speaking and that there are times when those around you might really want to push the TMI button.

    I too am an open book type of person. This either endears me to people or completely turns them off. The ones who are turned off tend to be a bit intimidated by my openness. Many people are reserved and do not agree that life is an open book. They may also shy away from discussing issues with you out of fear of confrontation.

    It is perfectly appropriate for them to bring their concerns through the leadership of the group and not to you directly. Most groups encourage that. It maintains structure and order within the group.

    In sum, what I am trying to say is that not everybody is going to accept you, and not everybody is going to want to talk to you about it. It is their right, just as it is yours to exist on your terms. If you want to encourage them and others to continue to accept you, you have to allow these people their space. On my trip to Loch Ness, I deliberately avoided drinking fluids and endured some serious discomfort on the ride home, specifically because I knew one of the women who I was with was on the borderline of accepting me. Things went really well between us that day, but I know that it would have risked pushing things in the wrong direction if I had gone into the ladies room with her.

    In a perfectly fair world, I should not have had to do that. It is not a perfectly fair world. I am asking a lot of people when it comes to accepting me and my transition. I have to be willing to give a little too.

    As long as you are not being required to do anything that violates your rights or is patently offensive, you should seriously consider accommodating these women. You will be seen as a person who is sensitive to others and people will applaud you for your humility.

    The bathroom issue will always be a tricky one. Compromise is usually the best approach. Draw the line at where you absolutely cannot go, but be willing to back up a bit. The good will that you generate will pay you back later.

    Sorry for the long reply in your space, but I really want to help you to see another point of view that will hopefully help you to come out of this situation better than you went in.

    Becky

    • To all of my followers: I removed this post yesterday because I did not know how to respond to it. Instead of responding to it here I will be following it up with another post and invite you to check it out.

    • Becky, thank you for your comments but I think you missed my point and that’s okay with me. I am not debating whether they were right or wrong in what they did or that some people won’t accept me as I am, I am simply reporting on how I reacted to it. We each have to deal with these kinds of situations as best we can, so I don’t owe anything to anyone but myself and there is really nothing to accommodate. I don’t have a reputation to defend as you might and I am not worried that they would out me, because it wouldn’t even matter if they did. I have already reached a point in my transition where I am accepted as a woman with the presumption that I have a vagina and if those women want to presume otherwise, I will just go where I feel comfortable and people accept and love me exactly as I am, which is exactly what I am doing.
      As for the TMI button, I’m not trying to stop anyone from pushing it because it’s none of my business whether they do or don’t.
      By the way, last Thursday night I went to our old town plaza, the oldest town plaza in the US, with my housemate/girlfriend who I haven’t even bothered to tell about my “condition” to hear live music and dance. After the music ended, my male dance partner tried to hit on me, SO THERE!

      Deanna

  2. pasupatidasi says:

    whereas i can see how it might be helpful to look at any given situation from another point of view, i think that within the arms of a spiritual community a person expects to feel that their peer members have a more empathetic attitude towards one self. it is a haven of sorts, a place of soulful intimacy. if i understand the type of spiritual community it (and i think i do) it is a place where talking about and sharing experiences that lie outside the ‘normal’ realm is acceptable and encouraged. how can one square this sort of shameful anonymity? this sneak attack, as it were?
    i totally disagree, tho respectfully, with becky’s comments. to hell with tender sensibilities and prejudices toward what is rare, or even just unusual. the straight community has used this mindset to justify keeping gay and lesbian people out of the churches they were raised in or ones they would adopt. these same ‘uncomfortable’ people have made gay people marrying anathema.
    fuck ’em.
    as for your recent ‘eye-opening’, it must have been hurtful since sharing the strange and unusual, the things that lie outside the scope of most ‘religions’, visions…energies….soul travel…healing… might lead one to believe that honesty and openness was a part of the deal. that it isn’t may say that it is time to find another community, or, better yet, continue being open, honest, and unbashedly your self, while forgiving the places in these others that prevent them from growing into a more true version of reality…one that accepts – even welcomes the things that transcend societal norms.

  3. Eli says:

    Next time one of those bitches opens their mouths, piss in it.

    Anyway,

    Seems you have no responsibility to anyone here but yourself, so just keep on being you. Next time that dude feels the need to insert himself in other people’s shit, let him know that until the offended persons grow some ovaries and speak for themselves, you feel no need to shame yourself back into a closet to make some anonymous individuals more comfortable with their homophobia.

    And if said bitches ever speak up, then you can tell them, that until you start pissing in the sinks of the ladies’ rooms, it’s none of their goddamn business what you do in that stall.

    They don’t like a trans woman in their bathroom? Tell them you don’t like ciswomen in your panties.

    xoEli

  4. I have to agree with Eli’s final sentence. Also, next time a messenger comes to you to complain tell them that you won’t be taking anything into consideration until the people who are uncomfortable come to you directly. They don’t have the right to put all the upset on you. That’s absolutely unfair. and it’s also telling that the messenger was a man instead of another woman.

  5. Caroline says:

    We go out of our way to be reasonable for unreasonable bigots.

    The fools have clearly not thought this through. You are dealing with a clearly recognised condition in the appropriate way and have every right to use gender appropriate facilities. I would feel uncomfortable having to share with such unreasonable bigots. You say they are in a spiritual community!?

  6. Susan Temple says:

    While I by no means have all the answers. For the past 7+ yrs. I have had to learn as I traveled (really Traveled). I have learned that it is best to defend yourself with not just conviction, but with the law as well.. For me the answer came in the form of ID. With ID with the correct gender marker stating clearly that you are female tends to disarm the most determined. So if you have not already done so, take the time to do so. It could save your life. Even in the most Redneck of communities. I lived in TN for a time. Even the law was without recourse when you ID say the truth to all.. Trust me! It works….

  7. Susan, I got my gender marker changed on my ID with a doctors note at the same time that I updated my license with my legal name change in January, so this is not about that. This is a case of some women in my spiritual community who just thought that they could walk into my stall in the ladies room, get in my panties and then walk away scott-free under the cover of anonymity.

  8. Hi Deanna,
    One thing that might be relevant in this, is that women often communicate indirectly, particularly when there is a conflict. Women do this crap to one another all the time. They are actually treating you the way they’d treat any other woman they felt threatened by in some way (trust me, I’m a strong women and this happens to me a lot). If you want to be in community with these women, here is my probably counter-intuitive advice based my experience as a cis woman and a lesbian who sometimes makes straight women uncomfortable as well.

    Although it seems counterintuitive when they are clearly hostile, the following strategy works: Be really nice to them. Ignore that they complained about you for now. Compliment them on their hair or clothing whenever you see them, sincerely. Bring extra cookies to the meetings. Ask them about their families and listen and nod when they talk. Say hi when you come in the room. Take the high road. Women tend to get in these power struggly things with other women when they feel a power imbalance or if someone is getting special attention or privileges. Making an effort to be nice erodes those feelings. If you plug away at it over time, they’ll relax and rewire their outlook to see you as another woman in a much deeper sense than you’d get to if you engaged in direct conflict. It’s like the female equivalent of those plotlines in stories where the two guys fight and then are friends. I’ve never seen women do it that way. Direct conflict makes permanent enemies between women in my experience, which is why most women avoid it.

    Just my two cents in case it’s helpful.
    SDW

    • SDW, actually all of your advice isn’t counter intuitive at all and when I started living out as the woman I always was, much of what you suggested became perfectly natural practice for me. The biggest problem that I had in all of this was that they were anonymous and spoke through a man who was my friend until this incident happened and who I hope someday will be a friend again. I had no opportunity to really know if their intent was hostile or not or to be able to find a way to reach out and seek some kind of “sisterly” understanding of one another. The community has prided itself on its openness to accepting people as they are and it came as such a shock, after six months of being out, that I just could no longer feel safe in the space. A few of my women friends there have expressed their support in my decision to step away. Its a shame, but it is how it is and I do not regret my decision to leave for the time being and seek out those who either do not know my history or who have already demonstrated their love for me as Deanna and not as a person with whom they must adjust their way of thinking. Deanna

  9. Clarification: Not that I think you’re getting special privileges, of course. I’m just filling in some women among women culture stuff it took me awhile to figure out myself in case you missed the memo 😉

  10. Pingback: “Tolerance” does not equal “acceptance” | I am Deanna

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