Guest blog post written by Andy Sun
I just had my first haircut.
As a woman.
When I look into the mirror, the world can finally see the woman I’ve become, the woman I always knew existed inside of my heart. The woman I love - myself.
A haircut may seem like a regular thing for most people. But to me it’s a powerful, beautiful moment in my journey of socially transitioning from male to female.
I used to be so scared of leaving the house wearing women’s clothing. I was afraid of what people might think, of what some people might do to me - even though I knew wearing this clothing was what I needed as a woman. When I’m in a skirt, a dress, or other clothes traditionally seen as “feminine,” I feel peace, comfort, and happiness. I feel at home.
But I know this is a dangerous time for transgender people like me.
A year ago in Buffalo, Mo., two counties over from where I live, Aly Lee Steinfield was stabbed by her roommate multiple times, her eyes gouged out and genitals mutilated. They burned her body afterward.
Two months ago, a Springfield woman was stabbed multiple times by someone she had met over a dating app. Thankfully, she survived. She is seeking to leave town now.
The two are both transgender women. The people who hurt them knew -- before they met -- that they were transgender women.
We’re being targeted, harassed, and killed. That’s what it’s like to be a transgender person in today’s society and especially in rural Missouri.
In our state, I lack legal protections. If I am attacked for being me, prosecutors will pursue a hate crime charge, but I have no protection if my boss fires me. If I lived in an apartment, I could be kicked out at any time for being trans.
While this ever-present danger makes me feel afraid, I don’t believe in living in fear anymore.
I don’t even believe in “coming out” anymore.
I just “am.”
What if gender was something that was in your control, everyone’s control? What if every story we had about being a man or a woman wasn’t as important as the story of us simply being human? For some, I believe it is a frightening thought.
Recently, I was intimate with the man I love. I watched as he worked through layers of shame because even though he loves me, he’s been taught to hate me, to fear me.
Today, I am celebrating finally being able to see the “me” I always knew existed in my own heart. Before today, I had to have faith that she was there.
With this haircut, I’ve seen her in the mirror for the first time. She is radiant. She is lovely. She is beautiful.
I am a full, real, whole person. No better – and no less – than any other.
If I hid myself in my house for fear of my life, if I hid myself in clothing that suffocated my gender identity, I would be missing out on these and other beautiful moments.
Now, whenever I leave the house I realize the truth: I’ve won. I am joyous.
I am just like you. I want to be loved, just like you. I want to be seen and understood, just like you.
I love you. I love me.