After a number of dates and situations not too unlike the interaction with the MMA fighter, I had to take a serious look at the risk involved with not disclosing my trans status.
I didn’t know if I’d ever have the chance to be loved. It’s all too easy to internalize the assumptions that we are rudimentary facsimiles of the people we actually want to be, or that we take on a lifestyle that’s all about mutilating our “God-given, natural” bodies.He was an amateur MMA fighter, came from the hood — apparently a former gang member, as I learned later. We’re the dirty little secrets who get calls only after hours.It wasn’t that he necessarily made me feel threatened, but I knew the statistics. No matter how beautiful, intelligent, or successful, we are the ones who have to settle for being nothing more than receptacles for men’s desires and insecurities. “I’m a transgender woman.” I emphasized the woman part.Though we had a ton of chemistry, he couldn’t understand the ways in which he constantly invalidated my identity.And, to be clear, I don’t need constant validation of my womanhood, but I do need respect — which J wasn't prepared to give.He made jokes about me and how I “used to be a man,” criticized my writing and activism, and even — the grand offense — used my birth name during arguments. Having to constantly define and explain myself is both exhausting and unfair.