Chelsea Manning and Caitlyn Jenner Changed My Cop’s Mind

pixiv-らつくきのこ

pixiv @ らつくきのこ: Mirai Kuriyama

Yesterday, while trying to hash out the details of my mother’s disabled car I was using being wrongfully towed – hazard lights flashing and all which led to the battery being completely dead – due to an officer doing their job, the sergeant that was helping me with the paperwork asked me for my driver’s license. This piece of identification which is still, due to lack of funds, from 2012, has strangely enough become ever more common for me to show unsuspecting cis people since I began my transition in 2013. He looked at me flat-out and said,

“Who is this?”

My response?

“That’s an outdated representation of me that I’ve unfortunately yet to have updated.”

Using the paperwork as a cover-up, he proceeded to lead me into the back office, away from my two friends,​ who were thankfully available to come to my aid, and sat me down. Unconvinced, he asked me again, eluding to not wanting me to reveal myself in front of my friends who, for the record, have been with me since my transition began. I said in simpler terms, “That’s me. I don’t know how else to say it.

Still unconvinced, he said something along the lines of, “There’s a discrepancy with the info presented that I need you to confirm. So I need you to be straight with me.”

With that, I finally said, “Well, I’m transgender. It’s not something I like to make obvious, but always a fun game to play whenever I’m asked for my license,” I said with a smile.

Between fielding a few occasional call-ins, he thanked me for saying it outright. Saying, “I was unsure if that was the case. I preferred if you said it yourself.” I totally understood why he would go that route. He then casually asked me a surprising question.

“You happy?”

“Very.” I replied, more brightly than before, though opting for simplicity throughout our conversation as my concern wasn’t educating him, but getting the car back.

After the calls stopped coming in, he proceeded to mention instances in the media where he had heard of transgender people, but had never had a personal encounter himself. He mentioned “that military person who came out, but looked like a man dressed as a woman” (Chelsea Manning). He had the decency to use “her” when referring to them, but now regret not taking the opportunity to share with him that “passing” is not the goal for those of us who walk this path. It’s release, happiness, and self-actualization in whatever form(s) we individually need to obtain it.

He went on.

“You really need to get this changed. You look nothing like this photo.”

“I’d really like to, but circumstances keep me from doing so.”

“..Honestly, two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

“Ohh..because of Caitlyn Jenner,” I said, having mixed feelings about what that implied. That the publicity she received helped wake up this man to the reality that trans persons are real people deserving of the same respect as cis people. That this candid conversation between us could have been much more antagonistic or difficult for me in getting honest help from this law enforcer. Though I took Caitlyn’s reveal as purely the media’s obsession over her physical appearance, I never thought that despite me about to be 2 years old in my transition that her actions would have reached me and this current frustrating situation I was in.

“Before then, I would have just thought this was your younger brother and not bought your claim. …You look good.”

“Oh, thank you!” I beamed, flashing as nice of a smile as I could. I was well aware that I definitely looked and felt like hell. I had stood out in the rain multiple times with various men coming to my aid to push the car to the side of the road, nudge the car back to life with oil offerings, & some just seemingly pleased to have a nice, pretty female to talk to – still in my work clothes having gone to work earlier that day. I was relieved that I had opted against changing, certain these cues had worked in my favor.


Some would say this was a win for me as a transwoman. Perhaps. Well aware of my personal worth & the blessing of having strong, genetic, feminine cues among society, winning in the art of “passing” is hardly where my personal focus as a woman lies any longer. When people say to me “you’re so beautiful”, I’m at a point where, despite my intense humbleness regarding my attractive qualities, I’m liable to take them seriously and feel damn good about it.

What I do know is that I must express my gratitude for Chelsea and Caitlyn’s willingness to take the spotlight and highlight the reality of our existence in whatever way they have decided, or otherwise forced, to do so. They are reaching people like this sergeant who wouldn’t find out any other way than the media latching onto these sensationalized trans narratives of “men becoming female”. It’s never been my way to focus on those over-publicized narratives, but the hard work of those behind the scenes in journalism, community outreach, non-profit sectors, etc. that are telling the real, dark, desperate stories of these men and women that the media are not. However, the hard truth is that it’s the former, magazine-glossed stories that are continuing to wake society to giving respect and rights to trans people like myself. The latter are building the foundation of information for society to obtain once the media has become bored.

Now that I’ve experienced this in my own personal narrative, my perspective of seeing both as powerful, merit-worthy methods working hand-in-hand to reach the hearts and minds of millions has matured. I would be remiss to not say thank you to Chelsea Manning and Caitlyn Jenner for being educational in your own rights in the fight for our individuality as human beings.

Moving at the speed of life

pixiv-KR0NPR1NZ

pixiv @ KR0NPR1NZ: Sachi Nanjou

As I sit here writing another entry, I begin to assess all that’s happened to me and in the world since my previous entry. Life has a way of shifting gears like that of a rookie driver learning stick for the first time – jerky & awkward, with a vague, fleeting sense of control. All I have control over is when I decide to chronicle another portion of my existence here for my curious blog follower. Funny how even such awareness comes with the honest truth of relinquishing control of who chooses to lay eyes here.

I never did post a picture to recognize my 365-ish days of being on HRT. Instead, that post wound up on my Instagram & Facebook accounts, receiving quite a bit of attention. Much of which was centered around confusing my anniversary on HRT (5/20) with my public coming out (8/3). Saying things like “wow it feels like it came so quickly” and blithe things like “happy anniversary” – the latter likely having no knowledge of what HRT even is or means for me as a person. One person who did ask what HRT is put a smile on my face. In the interest of our increasingly TL;DR online culture I opted to leave out scholarly info, but this person openly gave me a chance to educate them. Opportunities such as those are all I seek to create through being open about my personal transgender narrative among my cis friends. 

Ironically, it’s those deeply personal posts related to my current life as a girl learning to be a woman that bring the curious and usually unengaged out of the woodwork. As if my life is only as interesting as the trials & medical treatments I share as likely the only trans person they know. Thinking that way places much fear and trepidation into my heart, but I want to keep believing that my story isn’t so trivial among the socially visible coming out stories of Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and so many other activists & journalists facing discrimination on a regular basis. 

Meanwhile, I’ve begun my first full-time job where only my friend who sent in my resume (and likely HR who required my legal info) has any previous knowledge of me pre-transition. I’d like to assume even those memories for my friend are becoming fuzzier by the day. Being in a company where everyone generally “sees me” is refreshing & freeing. Moments of apprehension & dysphoria are few because I’m not worrying about who I am. I’ve never felt more beautiful & self-confident wearing minimal makeup than I do now. It’s a new start with room to grow – I want this to be the last job I ever hold until my voice acting career or creative media business can sustain me. 

My life has shifted to first gear after sitting in neutral for nearly a year. Between my job, narrating & assisting with engineering for my second audiobook (my first one can be found here), and my small business, I am literally not sleeping. At the end of the day, this is what I wanted. What I need. 

Never would I have believed nearly every part of my lifestyle could be preserved as a trans female. Through careful planning, a decisive attitude, and emotional resilience, I’ve been blessed to continue the fervent pursuit of my ambitions despite my legal info still claiming me as a person I barely recognize in my memories. Perhaps I can still leave behind the legacy I believe I exist to fulfill. Maybe even being so lucky to be seen as an example one day to other trans men and women that one’s past hard work need not be completely forsaken to live their authentic reality. 

…and then in the midst of such lofty idealisms, I am jolted back to reality. Self-preservation among a transphobic, cisnormative society trumps all regardless of narrative or media presence. No matter how far along in transition, that truth remains an ever-present constant myself & others face in countless forms.

May we all, as human beings, remain vigilant through adversity, hanging on to the truths that preserve our honest reality as life demands an ever-moving, unforgiving pace. 

Better left unsaid

artist-haruyuki

Art by yukichasoba


My previous entry was something I should have chronicled in my physical diary, not here. I was frustrated, in a lot of emotional pain, and experiencing a deep sense of rejection with a single particular matter that I had blown completely out of proportion. My policy is to never have regrets when writing here – so the entry will not be removed. I do, however, apologize for anyone who may have found it childish or pretentious in any way.

As for my life as of late…it has not been very pleasant. Not terrible, but certainly not pleasant. Continue reading