I consider myself to be an honest person. But, there have been times in my life that I’ve felt, for my survival, it was better to lie. And I still do to a certain extent.
I learned to lie at a very early age. When I learned that cross dressing was a bad thing and that I shouldn’t steal my sister’s clothes, I lied when confronted. It didn’t matter. My mom wound up scouring my room for the offending item anyway. As I got older, social anxiety and depression became more of an issue. At first it was “Are you alright?” or “How is school going?” or “Did you finish your homework?”. I have lied to my mom about how I’m doing so often, she can tell by the ever so slightest change in my facial expression if I’m not doing well. Although, I’ve been doing very well lately, I’ve been working on identifing and killing these “Tells”.
Starting in middle school (about sixth grade), I was sent to counselor after counselor trying to figure out what my major malfunction was. Sometimes I would admit what I thought the problem was. But, after running into a couple of counselors who had a religious bent, I started to clam up. Eventually not talking wasn’t going to work. So, I learned to play the system. I told them what they wanted to hear. Whatever got me out of there faster.I remember even agreeing with a counselor that I should attend a community college in Utah (she was a mormon). Today, knowledge about the transgender condition is better understood. But, this was the 80’s. The height of the AIDS epidemic. Gay people were monsters. Although I didn’t think of myself as a monsterish gay person. I sure as hell didn’t want to be associated with them.
When I was in high school, social anxiety, depression and gender dysphoria were playing havoc on my psyche. I had successfully removed myself from most people by the time I arrived in high school. I only really had one or two friends. I would lie about ditching class. I would lie about doing my homework. I would lie about where I went late at night. I didn’t feel safe talking to anyone about my feelings. So, I lied. I dated a girl my junior year. But, since she was a year older than me and moved away after graduation, we had broken up by the time my senior year arrived. I wasn’t dating. And I had no desire to. But, with the prom quickly approaching, I was told by a teammate on the swim team that a young woman wanted me to ask her to the prom. I wasn’t planning on going. I didn’t really enjoy it the year before. One day after practice, I was told she was waiting for me outside the locker room. I didn’t know if she was planning on asking me. All I knew was that I had to get out of there. There was a secondary exit. But, it was locked. I took forever to get ready, hoping that she would eventually give up. But, my teammates applied a ton of peer pressure. One of the guys I had known forever, but was known to have a mouth on him finally said “Are you gay?” I couldn’t believe it. I tried to act as shocked as much as I possibly could. But, the gauntlet had been thrown. I had to walk through those doors. As I remember it, I was literally pushed out the door. I could tell she wanted me to invite her. It’s so hard for me to say no to someone in that kind of situation. I didn’t see what she saw in me. But, I thought that if I asked her to go, nobody would ask me the gay question again.
So, we went. Our prom was always held in Palm Springs, since holding it in the tiny hometown where we lived seemed ridiculous. And she lived in a little mountain community between our town and the prom. She wanted to make dinner for us. So, we ate dinner at her parents house. From there we went to the prom. We found a seat amongst her friends. But, after a few minutes I excused myself to use the restroom. Now, remember this was when my anxiety and depression were undiagnosed. I had to get out of there. I was in a panic. I hid in a bathroom stall for a little while. I was beating myself up for staying in there. But, I couldn’t go back in there. I didn’t know how to dance. And I really didn’t know too many people there. I didn’t know how to make small talk. So, I went for a walk. I felt horrible. But, I couldn’t tell her what was going on. Heck, I couldn’t even understand it fully myself. I left her alone at the prom for 3 hours. Yeah. I’m a horrible person. I went back at the end and gave her a ride home. I don’t think we talked the ride to her house. And no. I didn’t kiss her.
Today, I’m lying by ommission. In my last post, I detailed how I hate that I have to hold back the details of who I am. I know several trans friends who hide thier birth gender because they aren’t proud of it. Why should they be. Being gay is one thing. But, when your cursed with this crappy life, how can you be “out and proud”?
So, as you can see lying has gotten me so far in life. Yeah. I did it out of survival. I gathered from my surroundings and the media at the time that it was not ok to admit to anyone what my problem was. So, I went undiagnosed and untreated for several years. Knowledge about gender dysphoria has come a long ways. But, it’s still incredibly misunderstood and mocked in society. There are cities that are more trans friendly than others. Is it any wonder why trans people choose stealth over being open and proud like some of our gay and lesbian cousins. We hide because of the predjudice against us. And our would be assaulters claim we are hiding (i.e. lying) to deceive them). This is a birth defect, plain and simple. Once people understand that, the world will be a better place. For everyone.