For nearly the last 10 days I have been in relative isolation as COVID—19 starts its growth in the United States. The grocery stores have been sold out, businesses are closed. Social life in my city has more or less slowed to a crawl. Fear and apprehension lay like a blanket of tar across the city. Everyone is terrified, nobody is taking things seriously. Somehow these things are both true. My sole contact has been with my partner and with the world through digital means. With Trans Day of Visibility coming up on March 31, what does it mean to be visible when you can’t be around people?
Gender is a strange thing. It’s something we have internally, my womanhood doesn’t go away when I go home, but it’s kind of this dance that we do with each other, right? I describe it like a waltz and the feminine parts come naturally to me and I love to do that and interact with people as myself, as a woman. And now there is just me, my partner, and my phone. And this dance that I’m having to adjust to is a very different dance, and I’m trying to figure out what the feminine steps are when I’m more or less alone.
It’s weird to think that before I transitioned I used to spend all of my time in isolation to avoid being seen and I used to also do everything I could to distract me from me. I immersed myself in games and distractions, really anything to keep my mind off of me and the body I had. The steps I knew then were survival and distraction.
Now I’m kinda here, alone with my thoughts and my needs are so different. A lot of the dance of my daily life was based in whether or not people would see me as a woman or not. It was intoxicating, to finally have people see me. And while navigating that I’ve been trying on and exploring different expressions of femininity to see which ones fit me and feel right. But now I’m finding out who Evey Winters is when she’s not out and around people — and can’t be.
I think a lot of trans people are sort of struggling with this same struggle. We feel as though in a strange way we’ve been thrust back into the closet, forced to hide ourselves and our bodies away for our own protection just like before. I know in my friend group it’s cast a lot of us back into depressive places as we struggle with sort of being forced into routines that we had just broken free from. We’re just passing the days, waiting until we can be seen again.
I won’t pretend it’s easy, being locked away like this. I can feel that it’s worn on my mind as well. Between my worries about my family and friends and my isolation, I know my mental health has suffered. I’ve been trying to keep exploring my femininity as much as I can. I’ve been going wild with my clothing options and self expression and doing wild looks with my eyeshadow just because there’s no consequence — nobody will see me anyway.
I’ve been live streaming with my friends and family and trying to connect with them digitally. I’d grown used to seeing myself in the reflection of others’ eyes. I miss that already. I hope soon we can all be visible again and be around each other again. I know we’ll have a lot of struggles while we wait for that day and I hope that we all lean on each other, in whatever ways we can, for support to get through this.
I hope you all are well, happy, and peaceful during these times. I hope everyone is well, happy, and peaceful during these times.