You’re so brave

You’re amazing*

You’re inspirational

Trans people get this a lot.

I’ve heard these things so many times already, and while normally I try to take a compliment graciously, these type of comments make me feel a little uncomfortable (only a little, so please don’t freak out if you’ve said this to me). I’ve seen other trans people saying they feel the same about being told they’re brave/inspiring, so I know I’m not alone in this. In this blog post I wanted to try and explain why it bothers me.

Disclaimer: I do understand that these sort of comments come from a place of support. I don’t want to sound churlish, or make anyone feel guilty for saying or thinking them. I’m just being honest about why they make me feel awkward, because I think it’s something that’s worth saying.

Imagine you’re in a burning building. A tall burning building—maybe a hotel—and the fire escapes are blocked. You run to the roof as the fire spreads, and the building is starting to creak ominously.

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You look down, and through the smoke you can see a swimming pool. You’re high enough up that jumping into the pool isn’t a guaranteed escape. You might risk injuring, or even killing yourself on the fall, but with the fire getting closer and the building about to collapse underneath you, you don’t have a choice anymore.

Stay and die in the fire, or jump and hope?

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Jumping is an act of survival, not one of bravery. And that (to me) is how it feels to come out as transgender.

Bravery implies a choice, and nobody chooses to be transgender. They just are. And coming out and transitioning is simply dealing with that reality. Personally, I don’t see it as an act of bravery. I’m just living my life in the best way I can.

*I am amazing, obviously. But that has nothing to do with me being transgender 😉

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