This is a guest post by Nicole Balcom. It was originally published here.
A tiny part of my personality is growing rapidly, and I don’t like what it’s becoming: androphobia (the fear of men). I am quite certain that I’m not mistaking my feelings from misandry, as I hold no dislike, contempt, or ill will towards men; they just make me feel uncomfortable, with a side of uneasy, and a touch of fear. I do not believe that I have androphobia, and I hope I can get a handle on the situation before it becomes that, but I don’t have a better word at the moment.
First, I should be clear about a few things, as they relate to why I’m writing this.
I am a transsexual woman, and I have been living full time for about 7 months at the time of writing this. This means that I am pretty new to living a life where I am perceived as a woman, and my previous understanding of what women dealt with has in no way prepared me for living it. As a point of reference, living my life as a woman causes me just as much fear as living my life as a transsexual*.
*This is not true for all transsexuals and I don’t want people to think that it is. I have “passing privilege”, which means when people see me, their perception is of a cis woman, not a transsexual, so a lot of the discrimination and prejudice that I deal with is based on that. Cissexism/transphobia is a very real and scary thing, however this piece is not about trans* issues, so I will not elaborate on those here; please see my other essays for more on that subject.
Being educated on issues, an outspoken activist, or even understanding discrimination as it relates to a different “ism” is not the same, and can’t prepare you for the experience of sexism as a woman. There aren’t enough words to convey the fear associated with walking at night, feeling like you can’t speak out against misogynistic jokes, or feeling like you don’t have respect or ownership over your own body. Continue reading