Today my short story, “The Blind Tattooist”, came out in issue three of |tap|. This story is important to me for a few reasons. It is that it is the first publication I’ve had in the two years since I began submitting short stories professionally, since I decided I would only submit to paying markets. And it is that this is the first time I’ve been paid for my writing.
Incidentally, this story came out of Chuck Wendig’s Flashfiction Challenge about a year ago. Wendig gives a list of titles, provided by commentors to his blog. The idea is to choose one of the titles and then write a story of about 1,000 words to go with it. I wasn’t expecting the story to go where it went, but here we are.
The story follows a young trans woman, Lucky, and her journey of recovery after surviving a horrific attack.
You can read “The Blind Tattooist” here.
After all, passing is called “going stealth” for a reason. The US didn’t invent the Stealth Bomber and say “You know what this needs? More cow-bell.” People who can be “stealth” are in a lot less danger as they navigate cis spaces. It’s still dangerous, of course, and getting outed can have life-threatening consequences; but it’s not the same experience as those whom Gandalf stopped from passing. Some people don’t want to pass; others are unable to take HRT and cannot pass; yet more of us take HRT and still won’t pass. At some point we need to address the societal pressure to appear cisgender.
The problem with the discourse on transgender, non-binary, and transsexual identities right now is that cisgender (non-trans people) basically get to decide all the parameters of what it means to be trans, how to be trans, and what is “acceptable”. This is especially true when we consider the “medical model” for treatment of gender dysphoria, and how the conditions for treatment have overwhelmingly been set by cisgender doctors and healthcare professionals. Generally, the “ideal outcome” of “transition” is almost always focused on hormones and surgeries, which are inevitably focused on passing. Basically the “ideal outcome” from a cisgender perspective is always about looking and “being” cisgender as much as possible.
But that is not necessarily the best outcome by a long shot, nor is it necessarily realistic.
On #Occupotty And The Privilege Of Passing