In her second Transfeminine Column, Jacklyn Henry is pissed – “Polite is a thing of the past.”
Writing by Jacklyn Henry
Art by Sean Kirkpatrick
My mother always told me to be polite, regardless the company to whom I kept, or the situation life might present. Yes Mother. As I grew up and moved out, I found it increasingly difficult to control my temper, my building rage about the world at large, about events that affected me, and those that did not. When I began to question my sexuality and identified as bisexual, my rage grew. And when I accepted my homosexuality, my rage against LGBTQIA became a bit overwhelming.
Certainly, over the years I have never felt a strong desire to stand up and announce, I’m here, I’m queer, so there you go!! I never came out. Of course, circumstances didn’t really allow me to make a big presentation, I had strong reasons to remain somewhat private about goings on in the bedroom, or the backseat of a lover’s car. Now that I am nearly antique, it just doesn’t matter. If someone asked, I would confess and respond: I prefer men and I prefer to bottom.
And now, in 2023, where I have more or less publicly expressed an identification as transfeminine genderqueer and watch the hatred explode against trans folx, polite is just a thing of the past.
Across Amerika fascist legislators have been openly attacking transgender adults and children, and it’s shameful. Absolutely shameful.
When considering kids, taking away their rights and availability to gender affirming care is incredibly risky to the health of that child. But it goes well beyond denying care. There are efforts to repeal nondiscrimination protection, legalizing conversion therapy, barring transgender kids from participating in sports, as well as barring them from school bathrooms and locker rooms.
What the actual fuck is going on here?
Is it any wonder I am terrified of dressing publicly? Or wearing lipstick? Or even offering a hint at something different that CIS American? Every day I have an internal conversation about whether or not I should express my identity. I continuously try to convince myself that I will be perfectly fine if I don’t full express my identity. The fact that any transgender person publicly expresses their gender is amazing. Being true to your identity is incredibly hard, and, no thanks to Fascist Republican legislative actions, incredibly dangerous. I need to breathe. Deep breath. Deep breath…
As a student of history, the division and divisiveness in this country is creating an environment ripe for a fascist take-over; one, in my opinion, is actually well underway. As the rights of so-called fringe groups are being taking away, more and more rights will erode. And it won’t matter if you are queer, trans, or straight as fuck. It won’t MATTER. If something doesn’t change, a rant, such as this, will become illegal. Freedom of speech, of expression, of anything, will be gone.
Fucking gone, baby.
Before you know it expressing as anything but your biological assignment will become a bigger crime. Look at Uganda. The Ugandan Parliament passed legislation in March of 2023 that makes it illegal to identify as LGBTQ. A gay man could be punished by death. DEATH.
Certainly, I recognize that in the past other countries punished LGBTQIA folx through legislation or just turning a blind eye to vigilantism but aren’t we in the 21st century?
Maybe a part of my identity is related to protest. Maybe I am beginning to express female to overcome my absolute sense of powerlessness. Having breasts, for me, would be the most powerful political statement I could make. And the amount of hatred expressed at me would be intense. Just for breasts, just because of the sense that as a man assigned at birth, I am degrading the value of womanhood, that somehow my sense of otherness is dangerous. Ultimately, I don’t need breasts or a vagina to express a sense of femininity. In all honesty I know I don’t need to do a fucking thing to express whatever identity I want. All I have to say is: I am feminine.
That’s it, and that could become a crime.
We have finally made it to the point that we may require sanctuary states to live as free and relatively unoppressed trans folx. Recently a friend of mine who has a trans child is looking at moving to Minnesota. Their current state, South Carolina, has become increasingly dangerous for trans youth.
Ultimately, I’m a coward. At least in public. In the so-called real world, my expression is very guarded and hidden. Clear nail polish, clear mascara, panties, certain kinds of skinny jeans, shaving my legs, and my fav, bright red toes help me express. But I know I should do more, I want to do more. It will take time, but my voice and my writing can be a part of the protest.
I will no longer be polite, and hopefully neither will any of you.
Fuck the oligarchy running Amerika, fuck the laws against LGBTQIA, and fuck toxic masculinity. The future is feminine, or it better be, if we have any chance to survive.
About jacklyn henry
jacklyn henry is a transfeminine genderqueer old bitch based on the fringe of insanity, Los Angeles. finally accepted their feminine self, jacklyn has been published here and there, and has a penchant for writing colorful tales of sex and sexuality. she also edits 1870 magazine, a sex positive online hideout.
About Sean Kirkpatrick
Sean Kirkpatrick is an Australian artist and creator of comics such as “Baddies,” as well as the short graphic novel “The Days.”