Cecilia on her dialogue with David: More differences than meet the eye?
David, a self-described “basic straight guy” from Pennsylvania, spoke with Cecilia, a transgender woman originally from Argentina. Listen to the podcast of their dialogue here. Below, Cecilia reflects on that dialogue months later. In another blog post, David talks about what’s been on his mind since he spoke with Cecilia.
It’s a little weird to meet with a complete stranger and talk about something. Sometimes you talk with a stranger on the subway, for example, but never in as much depth as I talked with David. I was apprehensive, because I wondered, who is this guy and why does he want to talk with a trans woman? Still I enjoyed the experience a lot.
I have a defensive way of being, I’m used to being attacked and criticized. That has to do with being trans and a being a woman and being an immigrant and being so a part of so many groups that are under fire a lot. In those kinds of situations, when I meet people who really disagree with me or just don’t like me because of who I am, I have to argue and make my point and I get agitated.
But I didn’t have to do that with David. He wasn’t as different from me as I thought he would be. Or maybe he’s just not comfortable with fundamentally disagreeing with someone, not out loud anyway. Even if he disagreed with me personally, he doesn’t seem like someone who would say that. I might have provoked him more, but he was such a nice guy!
One thing I wanted to talk about was this: He said he had a wife and child, and I would have asked how he would feel if his child was trans. He might question himself as a parent, or he might think he did something wrong. But me, I’m a stranger, I make no difference in his life. But I didn’t ask because he’s a nice guy and because I respect the idea of parenthood.
When we talked about the bathroom issue—about trans people using the bathroom that agrees with their gender identity—David wasn’t all there. I don’t think he expressed how he really felt about the issue. I respect people who defend their point of view, even if I think they’re super-wrong! In this case, I think he didn’t say how he really felt. There are many factors, like the fact that it was at my place and I gave him food and drinks; maybe he thought it would be disrespectful to disagree with me more.
The biggest thing that people don’t get when it comes to trans people—they just don’t get the idea that gender identity goes beyond your genitalia. They say, “okay you feel like you’re a girl,” but my point is, “no, I AM a girl.” People have a hard time accepting trans women as women. And the closer it gets to their own lives—whether it’s trans women in the women’s bathroom, or maybe having a trans child—the harder it can be to accept.