To be seen

So many levels of meta that you can’t figure out what is being said:

I awoke this morning as I do every morning with a burning, unquenchable lust to be seen. Thankfully, what with it being Transgender Day of Visibility and all, I might finally have that need met.

You see what I mean. That sounds like self-mockery, but would the Guardian be publishing genuine self-mockery by a trans person? Does any trans person ever self-mock? Especially for wanting to be seen every god damn second?

I, personally, began my morning with a mantra: “I am seen. I am visible. I am here to represent.” I repeated this into my phone screen, its front-facing camera reflecting my face back to me, while still lying in bed, wrapped in the powder-pink weighted blanket I got for free last summer in a Pride sponsorship with Local Linens, the national bedding conglomerate that partnered with Amazon for an exclusive line of products.

Clearly self-mocking, surely, but…to what purpose? Aren’t we under strict orders to take all this with deadly seriousness?

My friend Xanthippe, a New York-based diversity and inclusion consultant who’s been working with Amazon

Oh come on – laying it on a bit thick don’t you think?

who’s been working with Amazon for the past couple of years to help them improve their facial recognition software so that it stops misgendering trans and nonbinary people, helped get me that deal. I’m so lucky to have the support of my community.

Rolling out of bed, I slipped on my fluffy, trans flag Ugg slides and ambled to my dresser where I retrieved an oversize black T-shirt made made by Macy Rodman, a musician here in Brooklyn and trans woman herself. If I was going to be seen today – think of it as me channeling Annette Bening in American Beauty, will be seen today – it would only be right that I use my platform, ie, myself, to promote members of my community, yeah?

Consumerism, pop culture, insatiable narcissism, yes, we get it, but…

Lacing up my boots and donning my new favorite mask – a cloth one featuring a beaded portrait of Dr Rachel Levine, the first openly trans federal official confirmed by the Senate, that was hand-embroidered here in Brooklyn by a local trans ally – I set out to scrounge up the visibility I deserved at the coffee shop two blocks away.

Visibility is a fraught subject for many within the trans community, which itself is a very real thing and not a reductive myth of a fictive monolith perpetuated to make it easier for individuals to make sweeping, universal claims on behalf of the whole collective. “Trans visibility and recognition has skyrocketed,” wrote Alex V Green for BuzzFeed two years ago, “but Black and brown trans women are still dying. It doesn’t seem like a politics of visibility can really save the most vulnerable among us.”

Those are very good points, but what about me – the first openly trans woman to order an iced oat milk latte at my neighborhood coffee shop this morning? Surely, that’s significant – brave, even. That kind of representation is so important … right?

It was published on March 31 – maybe it was meant as April Fool hur hur but a mole at the Guardian jumped the gun.

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