What Trans Means To Me | Toni Robinson

Being trans was something that I only knew about in my late twenties and then it became something that I understood when I turned 30. But, being trans is something I have always been from the age of 5. How is it possible for a 5-year-old to know who they are? I have no idea, but I knew. I knew when I used my imagination while playing alone: I would walk into the house to great my wife who would kiss me and ask me how my day was. I knew when I took my shirt off and laid around the house without one on because that was natural to me. I knew when I was confused when I was told that I couldn’t do that and when I was giving training bras… and I certainly knew that I was not happy when I had a visit every month from an unwanted cycle.

Even after all of this I still felt as though I was dealt a wrong hand. I still did not understand and became very frustrated when I was forced to wear dresses. I tried my best to be who everyone wanted me to be. I tried the dresses, the hair, nails, makeup.. hell, I even tried the man! (also please note that sexual identity and gender expression are two different things…TBC). But no matter how much I tried to be how others saw me, I was always unhappy and felt as though I was pretending.

When I found out about the term trans I immediately got it! It was as if the lights had finally been turn on and I could see my way. This is who I am, this explained so much and they were people out there just like me who understood it. Well not just like me cause I had never seen a black Caribbean trans man until recently and even now we don’t look the same as our other brothers. We don’t have the privilege of transitioning in the Caribbean so for us being trans is way more than just how you look. It is a mindset, it is an inner feeling and knowledge of self. Yes, most of us would like to change the vessel we walk around in but that vessel does not validate our trans identity. If anything the vessel allows you to see us more clearly and grants us the ability to be more comfortable.

Trans for me is a blessing and a curse. Curse because we are one of the most under looked, misunderstood, mistreated groups at this moment across the world. Most of you see us as abominations or mistakes that need to be erased from the pages of history. But it is also a blessing, because we appreciate life more, we enjoy the simplest moments because we understand that at any moment it can be taken away from us because someone else decided we were not worthy of it. We get to live life on both sides of the fences if we are lucky; from the point of view of the gender we were born as and, if we are lucky to transition, we get to live and experience life as our true selves. Thereby enriching us with life long experiences and equipping us to handle most if not all things thrown our way.

When you hear trans, most people think of trans women or MTF (male to female) but they forget about us the trans men or the FTM (female to male). Remember us both, it is important that you do. Our voices are often buried under shouts of disdain and anger. But we are here and though we may have hidden in fear of your harsh words and violent touch, we continue to live and sound our voices so that you know… WE ARE HERE!

Trans for me is a privilege, trans for me is a Journey.