I have never been more visible in my life. And sometimes it terrifies me.
In the last year I’ve become more public, more seen, more known than ever before. Being visible is literally part of my survival now and it’s how I put food on the table. But with every book sold, every reading given, I know that I’m also more at risk, more of a target for those who would eradicate people like me from the world.
Visibility is complicated. Today I think about incarceration. The populations of trans women made invisible by society, hidden away behind bars by those in power. And more often than not, locked away with men – at risk from both visibility and invisibility.
Today I think about the trans women (usually young, poor and of colour) caught in this relentless wave of transmisogynistic violence. Too visible to be safe, too invisible for the mainstream to give a fuck. I often walk a similar line myself. Am I femme enough to get into this queer or feminist space or to be accepted as who I am? (while knowing that, yes, forcing only trans women to jump through these hoops is both sexist and cis-sexist)
And later, back into the street – tucking my skirt in and pulling down my sweater – I wonder if tonight is the night that I’m too visible to get home safely.
I still have no good options. The only thing I’ll say for visibility is that while increasing my risk of danger, it’s also widened my support network. For everyone at risk today – from invisibility, visibility or both – please remember that you’re not alone. I don’t have answers for how we bring all this down or how we build something better, I just know that we’re stronger together. ❤