On my morning commute, I ended up walking directly into a very interesting conversation. I take an open seat near 3 people (2 college students and a middle-aged woman) who are having a discussion about the children’s gender identity clinic here in Chicago. The theme of the conversation seemed to be, “kids don’t know what they’re doing, therefore, shouldn’t medically transition.” They continued talking, seemingly focused on the idea that if a child is trans, it’s because their parents are forcing them to be trans in order to protect them (yes, because nothing says, “life will be easier, kid” quite like being trans…). and finally, the middle-aged woman said, “since none of us are transgender, we don’t know what goes through their heads at a young age.”

This is where I decided to join the conversation, as I had a viewpoint that none of them could directly relate to.

“I think I’ve got some perspective here,” I say.

They look to me, and the middle-aged woman said, “yeah, I bet growing up you were a tom boy, right? Aren’t you glad that your parents didn’t force you into being a boy?”

Oh, wow. Um, hmmm… she thought I was just a masculine cis woman. 

“Well, actually, I’m a transgender woman. Honestly, I first knew this at a really young age, but out of fear and societal conditioning, I repressed this. Honestly, I wish I would have just run with this when I was a kid instead of waiting 26 years into my life to do anything about this.”

Nearby, there’s a woman with a 6-8 year old daughter. The woman is staring at me. She turns to her daughter, and says, “try not to listen, okay? Some people are just sick and confused.”

I’m not about to get into an argument with a stranger, especially in front of her kid, so I just turn away.

Back to the original conversation, the 3 people discussing gender seemed to settle on their original thought (“kids shouldn’t transition, even if they say they’re trans”), but at least I was able to provide a little more perspective on the topic to people who seemed interested in diving down the gender well.

Ding. It was my stop. I told them all to have a great day, and went off to work.