06/16/2015 03:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Cisgender Gaze: An Open Letter to Those Who Stare


Photo by Barta IV

It's funny how obscure you act when I enter a room. Yes, I see you glancing up casually from eating your burrito to examine me as I wait in line. You forget to finish chewing. I notice you in theaters, your eyes locked upon me as if sitting was a crime. Every time I look down at a magazine, there are your eyes, in the corner of mine just looking for whatever it is you expect from me. To be honest I'm quite content with myself. I've worked so very hard to become this person you gawk at rudely in the waiting room. It's taken me so many years of affirmation and strength to love myself, and it's something I continually work to re-affirm. Self love and self care are a daily uphill struggle for most of us, so why is it your place to deny me with the only contact we make? I love myself damn it, and I will not apologize for it. I'm tired of saying sorry.

One of the first things I always wonder is if you remember manners. Those old things? Yes, manners. I know they say chivalry is dead, but general respect and saying thank you never goes out of style in my world. My mother taught me that it's rude to stare. She told me how disrespectful it comes off to suddenly start ignoring the person in front of you having a conversation. Despite what you may have been convinced, I do not enter society everyday to pass your test. I do not dress myself in accordance to your mandates, and I refuse to console you because this isn't about you. Yet here you are, staring at me. Your gaze burning a hole through my being, casting a judgement upon my soul. I constantly wonder if you realize how you look, how others see you.

When you're frozen there for about 30 seconds, you turn into a lifeless statue. Unlike you, I know how people see me. I've spent more than enough time watching people watch me. People of all ages, young and old alike. It's funny, children never seem to notice me that much. I drift on by. It's usually middle aged adults. Some gaze, look at me and see a beautiful woman. Some see a man in a dress. Some just stare and don't know what to think. However you see me, I don't want to know. It's not fair for you to invade the sanctity of my body with your complete contempt of human decency. Next time when you're out in the world and you see someone like me, keep your gaze to yourself. I don't want your opinion, your validation, and I don't care to cater to your audacity. After all, didn't your mama teach you any manners?

an unapologetic trans girl.