January 31, 2014
Not Presenting, But Present
Hi. I am, as far as I can tell, a non-binary trans girl, but I am by no means whatsoever “out”. If I am not presenting or in a safe environment/place in life to tell people, is it wrong of me to be in spaces, use resources, or participate in discussions meant for queer or trans people? [Does my problem make sense? I don’t know, I feel really conflicted with myself.]
This definitely makes sense and it’s… complicated! I think first and foremost you need to keep yourself in mind. Obviously, you don’t need to ‘present’ to be trans. You don’t need to announce to a room that you’re queer – either through words or through dress – to validate what you know is true about yourself, or even what you think could be true about yourself. I absolutely do not believe that you should feel in any way required to remove yourself from situations that you want to be in or would benefit from just because you aren’t out. Those spaces are still there for you, those resources are still yours to use, and those discussions are about you and about people like you. There aren’t a lot of queer people who haven’t gone through life being in the closet in some way; queer life is not restricted to those who have the ability (and in many ways, the privilege) to wear it on their sleeves. ‘Presenting’ as trans is a complicated concept, anyway, but I don’t want to get into that. I think the biggest potential obstacle would be queer people who don’t perceive you as such being somewhat wary with your presence. Given the way you phrased this question, I don’t think this is even slightly going to be an issue, but I think the biggest thing to keep in mind as someone who is passing/perceived as not queer is to not talk over the queer people around you, in the spaces and in conversations. And that’s really just a precaution for a situation that I don’t think is very likely. Bein’ queer is hard, you deserve to think of and for yourself. That space is yours, those resources are yours, and when you feel comfortable, those discussions are yours as well! I hope this helped, and good luck!