Amazon’s Transparent and Fear

I’ve been trying to watch Amazon’s Transparent. I was a little nervous at first, as shows on transexual issues are usually pretty bad, but they’ve done a really good job with it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go look at the Wikipedia article on it… it describes it well.

The way they’ve done the show is really gut-wrenching if you’re trans. They’ve got a running story line, but along the way they have flashbacks to various times in the lead character’s life, and it’s so easy to see myself. Some of those flashbacks are things that actually happened to me before coming out.

Last night I attempted to watch the fourth episode. There’s a little bit of a spoiler here, so if you care, you might wanna stop reading now.

In this part of the story, Mora (the father) is out in public for the first time with her two daughters. She’s 70 and her daughters appear to be about my age. (Late 30s.) The kids are struggling with how to address their father, but that’s all understandable.

While out at a mall-like place, Mora needs to use the restroom, so her kids lead her to the the Women’s restroom. When they get inside they flub a bit and keep saying “Dad,” and it draws the attention of a transphobic loudmouth.

The transphobic loudmouth goes off on her, and threatens to call the cops. (I started freaking out here.) When I turned it off, they had left and had found a porta-potty at a construction site for their Dad to use. I don’t know what happened next, I couldn’t go on.

This impacted me very deeply. I constantly live in fear of getting chased out of a restroom. There are times when I just hold it for way longer than I should out of fear of using the restroom in public. (I survive by having found a few places I know are safe – my apartment, the restroom at work, and the private bathrooms on the ferry.)

What I was seeing played out on the screen is my worse fear. It was being acted out very well, in vivd detail, and it just scared me badly.

I’ve been thinking about why this impacted me so much. I mean, I sometimes watch scary movies, or things like The Walking Dead, and it’s not that big of a deal, really. What I think it comes down to is that I know the odds of the zombie apocalypse happening are pretty small. The odds of me getting trapped in some unknown house, late at night, with a stranger that’s out to kill me is very small.

But the threat of getting yelled at because I have to pee? That’s real life. That’s something I deal with every single day, whether I want to or not. It’s not fiction to me, it’s my every day real life.

I’m really happy Amazon made Transparent. I hope it’s eye opening to people that have never had a transsexual loved one, or are trans themselves. But for me, it’s just too much like real life to enjoy it. Maybe in a few years when I’m on the other side of transition, but not today.

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