Lying can be hard, but sometimes telling the truth can be even harder. When someone knows something about you, they have power over you. In the same vein, being truthful to yourself also allows you to hold more power than ever before. When I think of ideas of truth, I think of the continuously developing LGBTQIA+ community and the constant ebb and flow of truth within it and outside of it.
Coming out is something queer people eventually have to participate in. Although this is often portrayed as one large event that eventually concludes in popular media, especially movies, that is far from the truth. Queer people come out all the time; just because I’ve told my mom and my friends from high school that I’m gay doesn’t mean that my coworkers and new friends at a university will know I’m gay simultaneously. So many factors play into coming out: how comfortable you feel with yourself, your relationship to these people, what it would mean if these people can’t accept you, among many other things. Sometimes, it might make more sense to keep the truth to yourself. Logic doesn’t dictate emotions though, and this can make some people much more uneasy than others. I am lucky enough to be of the mindset that those who can’t accept me don’t have the privilege of seeing me every day, but some people are much more vulnerable than that. Whether that’s due to past experiences, past trauma, or simply how that person is at their core, the common theme is that it is beyond their control.
Control is very much tied to truth. As I’ve already made clear, gay people largely have control over who they tell. Whether the people they tell keep that information to themselves is a whole other story. Even then, there is some degree of carefulness that gay people can exhibit to keep only those they trust in the know. What is important to realize is transsexual people largely do not have any of these privileges. There are many physical signs of transitions that are easier to pick up than stereotypical identifications of gay people: someone assigned female at birth wearing a binder sticks out much more than a closeted gay man who opts to wear more bright colors, for example. Being closeted to specific people is something gay people might struggle with, but can largely manage if need be. Trans people don’t get that privilege. It is near impossible to both present as their gender identity while also claiming they aren’t trans, especially in a society that is increasingly tied to the internet where any and all information about the LGBTQIA+ community is easy to access.
The point of this blog post is not to shame parts of the LGBTQIA+ community — no part of the community has control over what privileges they do and do not receive. I am instead asking that these privileges are acknowledged as truth and kept in mind. Being aware of the privileges you have in daily life helps humble you and remember that your worst day can still be an improvement for someone else. Provide support when you can. Tell the truth when you want to. And don’t pretend that someone else’s truth is your own to tell. Just because you were told of someone’s gender identity or sexuality does not mean you can potentially hurt them by telling someone else. Always ask questions, and always love each other. It’s a good motto to live by.