Stories like Teagan’s fully dehydrate my eyes every time I watch them. Until this year, I have assiduously avoided mirrors of all shapes and sizes whenever, and whereever, possible. When this approach was unavoidable, like when I was getting my hair cut, I would always cast my eyes downward for the duration, raising them only when my hairdresser announced they were finished, and that they needed me to say yea or nay. Deciding whether to shave or not was a constant dilemma: if I shaved that meant I needed to look at my face in the mirror every morning. If I didn’t, I then had to deal with the inevitable dysmorphia that facial hair produced. It was a lose-lose situation that I struggled with for decades.
I am proud to say that I can now not only look at my face in the mirror without disgust, I am able to observe and admire my changing body in a full length mirror. I even love quite a few of its parts. As time goes by, I am loving more and more of them. It’s a tricky journey, but I know at last I am heading in the right direction.
It’s really informative for me to examine closely how differently I respond to a range of situations over time.
Today I went shopping in Tweed Heads by myself for clothes that don’t contravene the Falls Festival WH&S regulations. I bought 7 pieces of women’s clothing, including a bag and a hat. I’m proud to say it was the first time that I very nearly completely didn’t give a flying fuck what anybody thought. The checkout bloke (who could very well have been gay) asked me if that was the last of my Xmas shopping. I proudly declared it was all for me. He was only a tiny bit surprised. Maybe he was largely disinterested.
Five minutes later I needed to go to the toilet because I’m being really good and re-hydrating as much as I can in this hot weather. I’ve been trying to use the disabled toilet whenever I can this year. I’ve always felt uncomfortable walking into men’s toilets, but this feeling has exponentially increased over the year. Today the disabled toilet was already being used, so I needed to use the men’s toilets instead. Thankfully there was no one else in there. Phew I thought … maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal this time. But someone else walked in to the toilets while I was still in my cubicle. I needed to wait until they left before I could escape. My heart pounded and it took all of my self control not to burst into tears from the stress. Thankfully he left after a few minutes, although it seemed closer to ten or fifteen minutes. Does anybody really need to use the hand drier for that long?
I was still a bit misty-eyed ten minutes later when I was sipping my mid-shopping-expedition-latte. My latte was served to me by someone in their early twenties. Their gender was indeterminate to me. Not that this really matters, and it certainly doesn’t matter to me, but it did reinforce the principle that it’s (all) really complicated.
Please watch First Day. It is a beautiful story about the fears commonly associated with the transition between primary school & high school, but in this case the stakes are even higher as Hannah will be attending school for the first time as a girl. Evie Macdonald, a trans tween herself, stars as Hannah.
There is such a dearth of trans characters on Australian television that I actively seek out anything and everything there is, but this program is well worth watching. It is less than 17 minutes long, but it’s managed to completely dehydrate my eyes.
Please watch it before 6.00am on 9 January 2018 when ABC iView will take it away.