Friday, October 21, 2016

Today I read an article about WikiLeaks outing LGBT individuals in countries that have harsh consequences for being gay. If those details are being hidden from public view for safety reasons, having them public is a very scary prospect. How would you feel if you had a secret that needs to stay hidden for your continued survival?

Personally I don’t worry about being outed, but I also live a life where my gender and sexual orientation are minor public details.

Once upon a time I went to a church in Fredericton, New Brunswick with one of my friends each week. People at this church would ask my friend frequently if she was a model, in truth she just loved dressing up like a model. One day one of the ministers of the church asked to have a meeting with me, apparently I was causing the children to ask uncomfortable questions, like if I was a boy or a girl. When I got to the meeting they asked me if I was gay. I told him it was a matter of perspective, and he would have to explain his perspective of what it was to be gay. I was asked if I was attracted to men or women, and when I said women, he got even more confused. He could only see me as gay if he accepted my presented gender identity. I haven’t tried to interact with that church since.

The atmosphere was not as friendly towards those that did not fit the gender norms at the time as it is now.

In this situation my social support was not within that church community, attending the church was a thing to do on Sundays that involved interacting with other people. Outside the church I was openly trans.

If I were integrated into that community and depended on them for connection, like if I grew up inside that community and haven’t built external connections yet, the prospect of them finding out that I did not fit a norm comes with the fear of having connection cut off. I know my younger self would not want to go through that, and would avoid discovery.

I wonder what would happen if I went back to visit? I’m going to find out.

-- Sarah Happy

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