Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The strangest thing happened...

I put my books in my bag, donned my shoes and walked to class, trying to recall kanji characters I should have memorized by now. We had a quiz today I hadn't really studied for, and, even worse, I had missed the previous lecture.

I'm taking Japanese as my arts elective this semester. I'd spent a few weeks in Japan in 2012 and wanted to learn more of the language.「みなさん、こんばんは」 said our sensei as I came in and sat down: good evening everyone.

And then I noticed it. One of my classmates— a guy, or so I had thought— was dressed as a girl.

Or was she? Yes, I decided, that's definitely a woman's jacket. And arched eyebrows. And makeup. She was clearly presenting female. That's strange, I thought. At first I worried it might be some kind of transphobic joke: perhaps "he" had lost a bet or some stupid thing like that. But when she opened her mouth to ask a question, and I heard her straining to speak in a higher register the way a lot of new trans women do, it was clear to me that this was serious. I guess she's a girl now, I said to myself.

Later I would learn that during the previous lecture, the one I had missed, she had come out to the class as transsexual, stating that she would be presenting female from now on. Ironically, I had missed that class because of my own gender dysphoria: it was one of those times when I just couldn't bear the thought of interacting with others as a boy. Of all the classes to miss, I miss the one where someone comes out as trans.

There are two things about this that are kind of blowing my mind. One is the statistical improbability of it. There's only 21 people in that class: the odds of selecting 21 people at random and getting two closeted trans girls must be pretty low. The other is that I hadn't noticed anything before. When I tell people I'm trans the response is usually along the lines of "well obviously." But in her case, I didn't pick up on any clues. (Well, there was the time she crossdressed for a skit, but it was done so deliberately badly I didn't think it meant anything...)

I didn't get a chance to talk to her after class, and now there's only one class left before the semester ends. I don't actually know her very well, and I don't really know what I would say— ("I'm a girl too, let's be friends!" ??), but I feel like I should reach out in some way. We t-folk gotta stick together, right?

"I'm a girl too!"


  1. Did you talk to her?

    1. No, I didn't end up talking to her. I might send her a message through facebook though.