Being a Trans Woman in 2023

There has been a lot going on for the past three years: a pandemic, an insurrection, and Twitter changing its symbol to an “X.” Unfortunately, what hasn’t changed is that a large number of the population have to fight for their basic rights because many older white men in power believe they know best when it comes to the bodies of women, trans, and nonbinary folks. Altogether, this creates a recipe for an uncertain life if you fall into one of those categories, which your favorite neighborhood blog writer does.
I have only recently come out as a trans woman, but starting off as a non-binary person along with being black has put me in a unique position to see that the world has layers upon layers of injustices to be called out for, and nearly all are interconnected. Even knowing all this, coming out and living as a black trans woman can still be overwhelming when seeing the state of the world in 2023. Along with the wave of abortion bans across the states, we are also witnessing a wave of restrictions and bans on gender-affirming care under the label of “trying to protect children.” Moreover, the steady pulse of these restrictions has been moving up in age with each new one that arises.
But what does that look like for a black trans woman who lives in a currently safe state?
It means that I’m always on guard. Safety, when it comes to laws in this country, is as ever-changing as the wind. With one election, things can go from peaceful to dystopian, as we have already seen. So, while I could sit in a safe bubble because I currently have no problem getting access to my hormones and all I have to deal with is the occasional transphobic person, another trans person just a few states down could be forced to find other and less safe ways to get their hormones because someone living a completely different existence thinks they know what’s right.
It’s not just the constant fear of not having access to my hormones that keeps me on guard, but it’s also the nature of how people are absorbing their media when it comes to queer, trans, and nonbinary folks. Stereotypes and fears can turn someone into a dangerous and destructive force. The number of trans women being killed rises each year. Now, we are even seeing violence toward cis women by men who think they might be trans. Being aware of how my community is portrayed through media and social media is something that I wish I didn’t have to be conscious of, but when it comes across my feed, I can’t ignore it, knowing that it could be me one day.
Now, the real-world dangers are just one side of the coin. The other side is joy, and it’s not just about figuring out the big gender question for myself. It’s about navigating the world with a freedom I didn’t have or give myself before, and that has shown up in many ways that I didn’t expect. It has allowed me to show up more authentically with my friends and chosen family. I’m starting to lose track of all the “you are so much happier now” observations. It’s a completely different feeling when others can see your happiness as a pure, self-sustaining force. You can be yourself fully and trust yourself to handle the unseen.
That joy also allows me to combat fear and anxiety in a new way than before. With all the dangers that are present for trans folks, it is not as easy as trying to forget about them, but giving those fears their own space to be what they are can be enough for me. I still have space for wonder and fun. All of them can exist in one space, and that allows me to enjoy the world while also knowing when it’s time to take a break from it and recharge.
Altogether, being a trans woman in 2023 is a mixed bag of knowing when to watch out for yourself, prepare, and enjoy life.