Mic has launched a new weekly column entitled "Transplaining" in which transgender correspondent Serena Daniari gives advice to individuals struggling with their trans identity. Readers are encouraged to submit questions, of which Daniari said "no topic — from dating to sex to the process of transitioning itself — is off-limits."
In the publication's first week, which began on Monday, Daniari addressed a question by a transgender woman who doesn't consider herself to be "passable" - or, in lay speak, the person thinks she doesn't look like a typical woman.
@serenajazmine Here's the first reader-submitted question. https://t.co/C638WAQRKF https://t.co/M0JOeLukHL— Mic (@Mic) 1530026953.0
"I'm a trans woman, but I don't pass. I am 6 feet tall and very broad. My face is masculine because of years of testosterone poisoning. People always give me evil glances because they can tell I'm trans. How do I make peace with the fact that I will never be passable?"
Daniari explains that "passing" is one of the biggest challenges for trans people, because it often makes them feel like they are trying to "fool the outside world."
@serenajazmine @SerenaJazmine responds: "The angst you describe about “passing” — the ability for trans people to… https://t.co/R9bE1IhuZr— Mic (@Mic) 1530027017.0
"The angst you describe about "passing" — the ability for trans people to be perceived as cisgender — is all too common within the transgender community. We are so often conditioned to believe that we are fakes and frauds, attempting to fool the outside world."
"We are all women," Dariani wrote, which means all women "should all be celebrated equally." Her advice, however, is to keep in mind that "trans people are not attempting to "pass" as the gender we identify with," despite society's often cruel dismissals and bigotry toward those who, for example, just want to use a bathroom in peace.
She also said that trans women are often "the most self-critical" about their looks, and that part of the transition is learning to accept your body and "get comfortable in your skin."
@serenajazmine “We trans women can be the most self-critical about our looks. Try not to beat yourself up as you mo… https://t.co/2V4Wgndt8b— Mic (@Mic) 1530027032.0
Daniari also said that focusing on the social aspects of womanhood, such as "being referred to with the correct pronouns by friends and family," can help build a sense of security and confidence.
"Although it may sound like a platitude, it is only once you begin to realize the beauty in your own transness that you might find some peace. It's no easy task, but you will become better equipped with the tools needed to silence the outside voices. Remember that your personal contentment is what matters most."
@serenajazmine @TransGriot @SerenaJazmine: "Although it may sound like a platitude, it is only once you begin to re… https://t.co/NosG63AE6z— Mic (@Mic) 1530027107.0
Daniari detailed her own struggle, especially when she was "a young trans girl growing up in a conservative suburb of Dallas." She said she lacked the language to describe her feelings, which left her feeling "completely isolated, hopeless and misunderstood."
When I was a young trans girl growing up in a conservative suburb of Dallas, I had no language to articulate my tra… https://t.co/JYnvm2mkqJ— Serena Daniari (@Serena Daniari) 1530023921.0
She noted that she didn't have anyone to turn to for guidance as she began hormone therapy and surgery, though she never doubted she would become "woman I've always been."
I often wished there was an outspoken and accessible trans voice whom I could connect to and engage with when I beg… https://t.co/VNEmgNWr6h— Serena Daniari (@Serena Daniari) 1530024019.0
Perhaps the most encouraging piece of advice Daniari gave was that trans women should embrace their courage in "living a more authentic and fulfilling life."
"Draw inspiration from that resilience every day when you step outside of your home. Being trans is beautiful, unique and powerful. Surround yourself with those who affirm you and applaud your journey."