by Matilda Carter

The other day I was sat in an unfamiliar lounge flicking through social media on my phone

Every twenty minutes or so my pager bleeps and I jump up to action and attend to needs like cups of teas, changing incontinence pads and occasionally inspecting bypassing catheters
Social media is different at night, because people have gone to bed and my feeds are cavernous briefings of what my friends and influential figures think
During my intermittent work I find things I wouldn’t usually seek out as the banks of familiar information run dry

I saw someone tweet about Loose Women and how they’d said that trans was cool
It was the latest bend in teenage trends
That after the super-cool self-harming and suicides became the latest fascination
People were getting angry, but being trans is cool
Being trans is so cool that I can’t walk out of my house without eyes constantly following me in the streets
Being trans is so cool that I don’t need to try to make a good impression because nobody is interested in anything else about me
Being trans is so cool that when I get followed home at night or bought an unwanted drink I’m both worried that I’m going to be raped and worried that I’ll be discovered as someone cool and be murdered by their jealousy of me.
Being trans is so cool that I spend all of my time working, often on little sleep with colleagues who think I’m a bit too showy but “admire” the fact that I’m sacrificing my social life and my health to pay for laser hair removal, voice therapy and occasionally a doctor to tell me I dress well
Being trans is so cool that all anyone ever tells me is how much they respect me before telling me how they don’t understand why I feel the way I do or whether I think it’s a symptom of mental illness
Being trans is so cool that liberal minded people tell me they’ll always protect me before they say I’m too preoccupied with my gender identity and that I shouldn’t make it all I talk about
Being trans is so cool that people try to use my friends and allies who don’t ascribe to a binarist view of gender as ways to compliment me in contrast
When I tell people I’m trans I always make sure to tell them I’m cool, because, if I don’t, they’re never going to believe it.

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