Many people have asked me where my post-op post is, and I apologize for not having posted sooner. Honestly, surgery went so flawlessly that I almost forget that I am still in the healing process! I ended up with an incision that went almost the entire way around my body (at the level of my hips). It is healing well, and there’s a killer scar, but hey, unless in the comfort of my home, I always have pants on, so that doesn’t really mater. My chest looks fabulous, and is still a little swollen, but then again, my chest pre-op was, as my surgeon put it, the smallest chest he’s ever done. Since there was so much chopping and sewing during my surgery (which took almost 7 hours), my swelling isn’t expected to fully subside for another 1.5 months. After a long day, I still have a considerable amount of pain, but on most days, I feel perfectly fine.
I have also been avoiding posting because, although surgery went well, and I am thankful for the numerous ways in which I have been privileged in this process, there has been this overarching feeling of gay/trans-related depression looming over my head that wasn’t present before surgery. I haven’t slept well in weeks, and I’m certainly not interested in associating with many people. It took me a while to realize where this “yuck” is coming from, as it felt like it was completely from left field. After all, I certainly don’t have a problem with my identities. As my partner put it to a coworker: “Oh, trust me, he’s OUT.” In fact, just this week, I taught my partner to do what I call “the fabulous finger” which is my sassiest gay man move. So, yes, I am out and fabulous and don’t have a problem with it.
So what’s the deal? Why the sudden LGBTQ-associated depression?
The problem isn’t me, it’s everyone else. (Minus the fabulous folks). You try turning on the television every day and hearing that you’re unnatural, worthless, dirty, or some other form of “disgusting.” You try hearing the constant babbling and news stories from some right-wing nut job stealing religion to claim that gays should be put in a fence and killed off or, just this past week, that children of gay parents should be abducted and taken to heterosexual households, because leaving a child with same-sex parents is equivalent to “child abuse.” It’s constant. It’s everywhere. What does that mean for many LGBTQ people?
For me, it means resentment. I’m sorry, but your (figurative ‘you’) debate of economic policies seems frighteningly trivial when we consider that my personal safety and well-being is at stake. And I’m sorry, Ann Romney, if your discussion of “hardships,” from the woman who has never worked a day in her life, falls on deaf ears. It must be so difficult for you. To me, this trivial babble is the equivalent of saying “Hilter’s a douche bag who persecuted entire groups of people, but hey, I would have voted for him because his economic policies were best suited for me.”
It is impossible for a privileged heterosexual and cisgender individual to fully wrap their head around this or try to imagine what it would be like to be in the shoes of an LGBTQ individual this election year, simply because you know that what is happening to “us” wouldn’t happen to “you.” Sit and meditate on it for me, though. Imagine what it would be like to hear, day in and day out, that everything and everyone that matters in life should be taken from you–your children, equal access to a job, your relationship, your livelihood. Imagine knowing that in your lifetime, you have a 1 in 4 chance of being assaulted or even murdered simply because of who you are. Finally, imagine carrying all of that with you everywhere you go. If that wasn’t enough, imagine knowing that many of your family or friends vote to seal all of these hardships for you. Your heart shatters.
Even for the most vocal and angriest of activists (<cough> Billy Bradford <cough>), I am sure there are days where, despite one’s positive attitude and resolve to change the world, “go get ’em” becomes “this blows.” For me, that’s a whole lot of what I am feeling right now. It’s an odd feeling for me because I never had a hard coming out process (the first time as gay or the second time as trans), but everyone has their days (or months), and I’m no exception.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”