I, along with other trans* folk, face a host of microagressions in my everyday life. In any given day I’m misgendered by friends, family, and strangers alike up to a dozen times. I get uncomfortable looks in the bathroom and other gendered spaces, looks that question whether I belong. I’ve been the punchline of jokes in television, film, and standup comedy where the absolute most horrifying to happen to a straight man on a date is for it to be revealed that the woman he’s courting has a penis.
After a while these sorts of things wear you down. You forget that there’s such a thing as safe spaces, as a possibility for a world where all of this isn’t simply the way of things. I’ve internalized all of this marginalization so deeply that, when my professor said to the class, “those of you who engage in heterosexual sex have to worry about contraception and pregnancy,” I didn’t initially see anything wrong with the statement. It was only later that I realized: I was in same-gender relationships with other women, but we still had to worry about contraception and pregnancy during sex. In that moment, I had forgotten that I existed.