TW: Dysphoria, sexual assault
If you know anything about me, you know why the year of 2014 is significant.
That was the year I first started to come out.
That was the first time in my life I felt the sense of overwhelming joy that I’m now awash in.
That was the first time that my naive nature got me in trouble.
That was the first time I truly understood what is the queer reality.
Or, as some people might say it, shit we made up for attention.
Let me explain…
In 2014, I was introduced to terms that more accurately described what I was. For so long, I was in the assumption that I was a drag queen and nothing more, because I didn’t know there was an option beyond that. Once I started learning, the floodgates of so many years of hiding opened up.
The problem is, I wasn’t socialized as a woman. I wasn’t taught things that women have to watch out for. I didn’t know things like “be careful in a dark alley” or “don’t accept a drink unseen” or “be careful who you’re drunk around.” These thoughts never would’ve occurred to me, and there’s something seriously fucked up about that. Both that they happened, and that they had to.
I’m sick of people marginalizing the experience of trauma victims, and I’m sick of people always having to play the Devil’s Advocate when someone explains their experience, their trauma, or their identity. They’re always looking for the benefit of the doubt so that they don’t have to take any action on their part whatsoever. That would require changing thinking and we can’t have that.
There’s the terrible myth that anyone AMAB can’t be raped, whether it’s because of physical reaction or because they always want it. There’s the myth that we’re somehow asking for it, or that we deserve it for being freaks. There’s people who think it didn’t happen, or think we’re exaggerating, or who are always looking to find a reason why they either can one-up or disregard what you’re saying.
When I was roofied, another transwoman told me that I probably just couldn’t handle my liquor, because “it seems strange that someone would use roofies on you and not bother to go ahead and rape you.”
Of all people, shouldn’t we who’ve been through that experience know better? Can’t we be better than that without victim-blaming and marginalizing someone who has been through trauma?
I came out again in 2016, but that was after almost two years of complete misery. Hiding, denial, numbness, blaming myself, and everything in between: what would my family think, would I lose my kids, would I lose my job, would I ever be okay?
Then I was. Sort of.
Everyone who has only known me for the last few months, they see the ridiculous schedule and output I have, but they don’t always know what came before it. The disasters I suffered and the numbness, tears, self-doubt, self-hating, and the denial destroyed me inside before I finally started to accept who I was, and it clicked all at once in the face of a hate pastor.
But that took two years. Two years of denying I was Marissa. Two years of pretending to be male. Two years of pretending to be straight. Two years of my life lost because someone thought my consent was theirs for the taking. Twice.
Then some people are quick to jump on the “faking it” claim. Once again, because that’s easier than actually doing something about it.