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Safety is not just another word

Commentary: Trans Progressive

Transgender San Diego

July 2010, I received the following text in an email: “You are a liar. You are not out of the closet Adam Sandeen or whatever the f*** your name is. Grow up for once and admit you are still in the closet. I rest knowing you will get what you and your kind deserve soon enough.”

The writer wrote this in response to a piece I wrote for Pam’s House Blend, commenting on a blog entry I’d written about how being out as transgender is often a one-way trip through the closet door. The writer further commented to the effect that transgender people couldn’t be out of the closet unless they shared their previous names. In other words, the writer was arguing that I’m not out of the closet unless I share the name I was previously known as, before legally assuming the name Autumn.

In another comment on the Web, the same writer wrote to a blogger:

“I have Sandeen’s home address and would give it to you.”

Here in a comment thread for the online version of LGBT Weekly, the same writer wrote in a comment:

“I came by your address, you sent it to me and I have the original email to prove it. You thought I would fall for the bait, well I haven’t besides your address and phone number are public information, thanks for sending it to me anyway.”

I went and looked online, and I do have an old domain address which I no longer use that’s registered through 2013 by an Internet host that’s no longer in business. I used my own street address and my unlisted phone number to register that Web site, when anonymous listings weren’t available with the Internet host.

Discovering my home address on the Web after I thought I scrubbed my home address off was a bit disconcerting.

As for sending someone my old address by email, I can’t find where I might have sent my address to this person – at least sending my home address to the email address she currently uses.

I like to think I’m bulletproof. I chained myself to the White House fence without much thought for my own safety in jail. I assumed that if anything happened to me in jail, it would further the narrative that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed. I take risks for equality under the law, but there are risks I choose to take and risks I don’t choose to take. I chose to have safety in my dwelling place, but I was less safe than I thought I was. Someone who really, really hates me had my home address.

And now I say “had.” I recently moved, taking multiple steps to more securely protect my home address from being discovered by someone I don’t know – by someone who might want to do me harm because of what I write; because of the trans activism I’m involved in; because I’m transgender.

And it’s not like I don’t know it’s not exactly safe for trans people out in the brick-and-mortar world. There are some in society who hate trans people specifically because they’re trans, and I’ve been aware of that for an awful long time.

So why even mention that I’ve moved? Well, there’s a community based reason for sharing this. It’s because when we in the LGBT community are out of the closet in broader society, especially when we’re publicly known, we take some risks with our safety that we’re aware of. I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t as safe in my home as I thought I was, and that was something I really needed to know.

Well, I know now. I know well enough to know I should move to limit the level of risk I experience as a publicly visible trans member of the LGBT community.

Safety … it’s not just another word. I’m so much more aware of that concept than I was, even a few months ago.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=19606

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012. Filed under Top Highlights, Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Safety is not just another word”

  1. I too am a woman. A woman with significant history living as a man. I have chosen to be rather out in my community. This is not to say that I go around flag waving, yelling, screaming. However, I do take opportunities as they arise to allow folks to get to know me as I am. It is my hope that being open, honest about all that I am will help, at least in some small way, change the world. Naive, perhaps, but if I don’t try I cannot succeed in my efforts, desires.

  2. KittyBarber, you’re right, Autumn does make you, and all who think like you, look stupid. Also malicious, petty, spiteful, jealous, irrational etc.

    So… what have *you* done for a GLB cause like repeal of DADT? Not a GLBT one, because Trans and Intersex people are still subject to dismissal?

    To get the attention you so obviously are desperate for, just do something useful, rather than violent. Otherwise you’ll remain an irrelevancy to Lesbians and Feminists, and sane human beings generally.

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