I’ve only known what it means to live in a cis-oriented world which values me as inferior to cis people. I’m guessing this is much the way it’s been for probably most trans people out there.
My transition began more than half my life ago. This began a few years after my parents had me institutionalized for their grasping that I was trans. I voiced myself early in the third cisnormative corridor. Some of my life since starting transition came with great opacity — and with that, violent social resistance. Much of that resistance deprived me of my womanhood and even my personhood. By this, I mean that my privacy, dignity, and means for livelihood were consciously obstructed by cis people. I was forced into homelessness because of obstruction by cis people. This followed a pernicious discrimination from employment. The experiences (there were many) taught me a lot about my (lack of) worth in a cisnormative culture — that even my sought-after knowledge and experience wasn’t worth as much to employers as the perceived liability of my body being visibly trans.
These days, I find that I must stay undisclosed about my transsexual body and how I experience cisnormativity as a trans person. I may be transparent now, but social transparency — that is, being placed by cis people as “cis” — comes with a tremendous internalizing of my feels. It doesn’t empower me to be placed as cis. If anything, it tears me down slowly. Some days I find how glaringly cis-centric things are around me, and I wonder how it is I manage to fit within a cisnormative world even when cis people with cissexual bodies take me for cis like themselves.
Each and every day, it gets harder for me to do that. As I write this, I feel I may be getting too tired to go on like that. I’m not exactly left with much of an alternative to exist safely as trans in a culture still hostilely cisnormative, especially as other intersections are brought in. As a woman with a transsexual body, to be an immigrant means having to fear that immigration officers may terminate my naturalization process abruptly for having a paper record of being trans. It doesn’t matter whether my paperwork is “consistent” (which it is). While having to “prove” my validity isn’t as severe as criminalization, this intersectional experience means that — all other intersections being comparable — I lack an assurance of moving through the immigration system with the same ease as a cis person will. A cis person will never have to prove a basic “validity” the way a trans person will. As with other immigrants, I have far fewer civil affordances than a cis person who already has legal citizenship.