As I walk through the streets of Berlin
I feel a dissonance between projection and reflection.
I walk as a shy, serious and soft trans man towards my thirties.
I’m seen walking a female teen or tween,
a happy and innocent but strong young lady.
I feel like my true nuances can only be seen on a second glance,
but people only have time for one to make up their mind.
When I speak my truth the responses are drenched in the belief of my young naivety.
Believe me, I have seen things you haven’t. I can tell you a lot about the world you didn’t know.
When I tell them, I am a man, they laugh. Stupid young girl, they think and at stupid young girls they think they can laugh.
They think they get me but they can’t even see in my eyes that I get what they don’t get and I get why. When they say they know what I mean, I know they don’t because how could they if they don’t listen. But since they don’t see me, they think I have nothing new to tell and some even think I have nothing to tell at all. Just a stupid young girl. One day she’ll get it.
I want to be seen as a man because Cosmo can only truly be seen as a man.
I want to be understood as Cosmo the boy, not Cosmo who doesn’t want to be a girl anymore because Cosmo can only bring himself into the world as the boy and not as something he never was.
I think the three questions I got asked the most when trying to introduce myself with he/him pronouns in heteronormative circles were „But since emancipation women can do everything, right? So why do you have to be a man?“, „So, were you a lesbian before?“ and „Do you want to have a penis?“. Needless to say that these are all examples of blatant transphobia. Needless to say that these people didn’t recognize them as disrespect for a reason that I can not understand, coming from the other side. But I guess it’s like that. Just like I have no clue how it actually feels to be cisgender, they don’t know what it feels like to be trans so they just poke around happily like a puppy in a flower bed with precious flowers.
After these awkward questions, they all then forget about my pronouns. Or I figure out they don’t know what pronouns are and thought I was referring to my first name. Because that is the concept of a trans person. A person that changes their name and clothes to the other gender. And that was formerly homosexual. And then by hoping and wishing they magically become the other gender one day. So I confuse them. Because I don’t look at clothes in a gendered way. I wear what I like, what is comfortable, makes me look good or funny or special, what suits my mood, what I inherited from somebody I liked, etc. And I formerly identified as heterosexual. That however the sexuality part, that was very uncalled for in the first place – but who’s „too sensitive“ in the end because he doesn’t want to be asked about his sexuality at the end of these kinds of conversations? Me. And I don’t want to see that kind of cringe after the other kind of cringe I just had to witness moments before. So I answer. And that, they remember.
Because not too often they start hitting on me. So I’ll be kinda like „Dude, I am gay.“ and they’ll be like „So? I am a man, right?“ and I’ll be like „Yeah, but you are heterosexual. I am NOT a woman. Not interested, also.“
So at this point still in my transition, I can make the conscious choice to go into a room performing to be a woman (which just means I don’t introduce myself with pronouns). I only talk about myself in male form but people generally don’t notice or like to give a feminist lil’ teaching by correcting me. But I’ll have to live with people calling me „Young lady.“ Saying „Wow, you are strong for a woman.“ or „Your voice is so interesting.“, grouping me in with the ladies and being asked if I am a lesbian or also bisexual. Usually I don’t make it very long in these kind of situations, because it is emotionally draining. I’m trying to be polite, smile, don’t look hurt. I’ll be somewhere quiet in the corner, downing some drinks. Someone will be like „EVERYTHING okay?“ and I’ll realize, nothing’s okay here. I’ll say „Yeah, I’m fine.“ and then leave, maybe cry on the U-Bahn.
Finally there is a third situation I encountered a couple of times last year. When I mentioned in some context that I am Trans, somebody called out, a sparkle in their eyes, usually this is cis women „Where you born a man?“. And them I’m like „No, I was born a woman.“ And they just lose it. Utter confusion conquers their face, no hiding possible. „Oh, so you’re non-binary?“ „No, I’m a man.“ Then the swallow and they nod. We go on.
On my journey I get a glimpse of every gender. I also get a glimpse on different types of bigotry. As much as it’s painful, I see so many things that remain unseen to many. This journey is uncertain. Where will it lead me? How will humanity evolve? Will there be more space? Less space for me? Will I be heard or remain unseen? Will my wisdom be of value for a utopian future or will it remain a threat to the reigning beliefs about what humans are?