In praise of quiet trans lives

Here’s to all the trans folk just living their lives, those who slip on by and just be. Its easy to get wrapped up in the public profiles of trans folk who make all the headlines, post all those amazing instagrams or blow up your Twitter feed with awesomeness. Yet, in the quiet cracks between those glam are trans lives lived in the hum drum and workaday. Lives fulfilled, lives explored, lives mapped out in spheres beyond the drama.

It is easy to be dazzled by the highlights and high lives, seeing people as goals, in awe of the social media gloss. Indeed, the glamour is a dragon social media encourages to both cultivate and chase. Snap this angle, post one more image for your followers, become the brand. And trans women do this to make their mark and just to plain survive. Yet. Yet, there are those in the quiet places that make their mark on friends and family. On the fishing course, in the lecture hall, up in the air patrol we sit, work, talk, engage. Lives lived.

This is not to say that role models are not needed, for each of trans egg needs hope at the end of the tunnel. Role models sacrifices pieces of themselves each time they submit to the dragon, feeding in morsels that are rapidly consumed, digested, and dissected. Each little thing becomes part of this bigger whole, the wider world thinking they know, yet without ever truly knowing. To be trans in the public eye is almost to forever become a professional trans person, a brand indelible.

So why raise a glass to the quiet lives? What makes gender transgression worth living is not the insta-snaps or Bookfacing, but the day to day living of life. The friends, family, work, play. What makes it hard, unbearable, are the former friends, alienated family, lost or lack of work, and haunting spectre of play gone wrong. For the slipstream of trans life is the moments not recorded, of the lives quiet and to ourselves. When the world rushes in through social media filtered lens they only see the merest glimpse. They think they know, yet reality is all the shades of colour, not just the 11 shades of June.

Quiet lives are just as goals as fashion model, actress, activist, dancer. Much is done as programmer, nurse, analyst, civil servant as it is in night clubs and Only Fans. Our bodies and minds are things of energy and all the things. We exist because we will it so, our trans lives just as likely driving your bus or train as it is front and centre on an ad campaign. For all the glamour we are normality, for all our subversion we are suburbia.

In the quiet spaces we exist and live lives broad and varied. Our social media is hum drum and workaday. Our non-cis lives are fulfilled and bountiful. For in the quiet spaces we find home. Ours is the world writ large. We are the quiet spaces, proud and true to who we are. For all the billboards and Netflix shows we are part of your tapestry, our threads weave in and our of your own in quiet weft and warp. For the fates may diligently cast us into the non-cis hinterland, only to soar on silent wings adrift on life’s currents. Here’s to the quiet ones, may we forever drift in peace amongst you all.

Writer, researcher, and generally curious