So this is the hardest post I’ve ever written. Please excuse the choppiness.
I’m sure a lot of you have noticed I haven’t been posting since I got back to Georgia from my summer in NYC. Honestly, it’s because I’ve been having a really hard time. When I first got back it was quite the shock to my system to go from LGBT heaven to, well, Georgia. It was like I could feel the oppression as soon as I landed in Atlanta. Once again, I was back to being the only one. Before you start with the “no, you’re not the only one” nonsense, I am the only trans person I see on a daily basis. On rare occasions I’ll see one of the other two trans guys in graduate/professional school, but that’s it. It wears on me sometimes.
About a month after being back in school, the firm I thought would sponsor my two fellowship applications told me they aren’t able to support a fellowship at the moment. At the time, I had already put in a month’s worth of work into designing a project and already had letters of recommendation and references lined up. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
Then the Scout Schultz/Georgia Tech shooting happened. I didn’t know Scout, but it was hard not to take it personally. I think the thing that hit so hard for me was the repeated misgendering right before the police officer shot Scout. I couldn’t imagine how horrible being misgendered in their darkest hour must have felt for Scout. But then again, I really can.
To this day I can’t help but think that Scout might be alive if the GT police had proper equipment and crisis training. Scout might have been able to listen had they not kept calling them, “man.” There’s plenty of gender-neutral language available that would have helped. I’m so sad that Scout couldn’t get the help they needed.
Not too long after that I got misgendered by a classmate and then by a staff member a couple days later. When it rains, it really pours.
Thanks to a pinky promise [insert sarcastic eye roll], I already tried to meet with the law school’s therapist before the misgenderings. I made an appointment, but when it came time to go I freaked out and didn’t go. Therapists can be scary creatures for marginalized people because it’s hard to be honest with someone that likely doesn’t have a similar experience. There are a lot of trust and power issues involved with therapists that can make marginalized people afraid of seeking help. Therapists are even scarier when you have what’s called “Character and Fitness” (basically an evaluation to make sure you’re fit to practice law) coming up. But it finally hit me that my not being okay was affecting friends that I love. It didn’t seem fair for me to not take care of myself and hurt them in the process. Even if I wasn’t ready to do it for myself, I thought I should do it for them. So I made an appointment with an outside therapist, and this time I actually went. It was alright. I plan to go again.
I don’t know for sure that seeing a therapist will actually make me feel better, but I do really appreciate three special people who care so much about me. Thank you Grumpy Cat, Rainbows and Butterflies, and Appalachia.