You’re so brave
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.
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?
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 😉