4 Strikes Against Me and Proud of It

I belong to four groups that are socially stigmatized (or worse). That’s right I belong to four different groups that are thought less of as people in a good many of American minds. Throughout the world too, but some places are better than others, and I will not relate anything about other countries as I have less knowledge and no lived experience there. I have to say that I am privileged to live in a very liberal county in a basically liberal state.

So what are these four groups? In order of appearance in my life: I am an atheist; I have a mental illness; I am together a transgender woman and a translesbian.

As an atheist I can be viewed by some as a vile human being that will inevitably wind up in hell, burning forever and ever. Marshmallows anyone. A notch down perhaps are those who think I am automatically immoral. Then, their are some who are less judgmental, who think it is just plain weird, or can’t comprehend how anyone could not believe in god. There are those, while they believe personally, accept that others do not believe as they do. They I feel, although I have no statistics to state, are the minority. I think the majority maybe are those that cannot understand. To be an atheist in America is to give up almost all hope of becoming an elected official. I have been told there are no open atheists in the US Congress, and that the majority of Americans would not vote for an atheist for president.

My policy is to be a live and let live atheist, although my private thoughts more align with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Because of this I do not often engage in atheist conversation with others. And, I usually only reveal my atheism to those that already know me. One exception to this is if I feel that there has been attack on my personhood. As I said I am a live and let live atheist, but there would be one exception to this too. That is if someone’s believes in a god or gods and causes harm to others because of it. But, I am mostly silent about this too.

Have I been discriminated based on my atheism? As far as I know I have not suffered adversely. Still I am probably seen as less worthy by some that no me but haven’t actually said and may treat me differently than if I was a believer. Although, I know one believer who does not.

Next in line as stated: I belong to the oft stigmatized group of people with mental illness (bipolar I in my case). Sometimes we or certain sub-populations are the butt of cruel and mean jokes. Or some people believe that most mass shooters are mentally ill. The statistics don’t support this. And, in general mentally ill people, and schizophrenics in particular, commit no more violent crimes than the general populations. Schizophrenia is oft confused with multiple personalities disorder (no longer call this – it is a dissociate disorder). This shows a bit of the ignorance people have in understanding mental illness. Some celebrities come out as having bipolar disease or suffer from anxiety and/or depression. I am not sure of the motives of these people, but hopefully it will help in the acceptance of mentally ill people. While the vast minority, there are those that have schizophrenia that manage to have highly successful careers or contribute to our knowledge pool. Although not an exact portrayal of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind came up with an economic model that has been used by economists in there studies and won the Nobel Prize for Economics.†

My experience in being actually discriminate against is almost nil. But I do experience the stigmatization from afar, but not up close and personal. Again the caveat on non-overt discrimination for my atheism may apply here.

The next two actually mesh together and are directly relate to my tagline. I am a transgender woman. The transgender population in the US maybe as small as 0.5%. That is like one in every two hundred people. I have read 0.7% and also 1%. Still what ever figure you go with it is a very small percentage, but we do total up. Still using the lower percentage it gives 1,650,000‡ in the US. Not exactly peanuts, and if you look at a room of two hundred persons one is likely to be a transgender person.

Now look at those who maybe translesbians (I use this term in an exclusive manner. This transwoman who are also attracted to ciswoman also I consider bisexual. Note – not all would agree with this usage). I suppose that if you half the total of transgender people you get 825,000 transwoman. From my online experience possibly 25% or less will have attraction toward other transwoman with half or less of them more or less having sexual attraction towards other transwomen exclusively, making less than 400,000 translesbian. Even this could be an overestimate.

I have heard it said that transgender persons date transgender persons because they cannot find non-trans heterosexual relationships. This I believe is blatantly not true. Just look at my estimate, which could be an over estimate, and it is like finding a needle in a haystack. And it is definitely not true of this gurl—Stephie. My attraction lies in an emotional realm I find in no other persons.

So, I am statistically abnormal, but I refuse to be consider unnatural, and hence abnormal in a normative sense. Socially, I should be accepted as I am and treated with respect even if you cannot fully understand my personhood as a transgender woman. But, I really think and feel about myself as a woman. I only use transgender to describe me in a comparative mode.

To those that would say that my gender is not the same as any other gendered woman trans or cis I would pitch a bitch and say fuck them, except those are the same people that would seek to do me harm. I have only been transitioning for 9 months, and have experience very little overt discrimination. The worse was being laughed at by a group of kids (I Was Laughed At). But, I have not been physically attack or verbally assault. I do get the weird look at times, but it is hard to tell what is behind those looks. Few were a look of disgust that I could detect, most were looks of confusion. Most people that know my transgender status are either accepting or remain silent. One person at the mental health program I attend was rude and sat opposite from me in the lunch room and initially just stared. And left after I told him I was a transgender woman, saying if that’s what you want in an unkind manner, not like one of my brothers as in a I wish you luck kind of way.

My translesbianism has been less discussed among people I know as it is a more private affair. Online I find lots of acceptance for it. There are some other gurls, who think it is my job to serve men. Well, this gurl ain’t going to serve no one—man, woman, or anyone under transgender umbrella.º

So, I am in four out groups. Groups that are being stigmatized and/or discriminated against. I am an atheist, a transgender woman, a translesbian, and have suffered with mental illness. But I am proud to be each one individually, and even more proud to be in all of them combined together.


† The model is actually essentially mathematics, but there is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, and even the economic one was not originally a prize, but is just administrated by a Nobel committee.

‡ I have recently even heard the number 700,000 trans individuals in the US in Amazon blurb for the book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. This would make 0.2%

º I use this term, although I am not a hundred percent satisfied with it. But, I find it better than using spectrum. Spectrum is putting people on a range, where I find umbrella doesn’t privilege anyone (except me in the middle 🙂). Still using “transgender” as the adjective is not as inclusive as I would like. Do those who are non-binary or some other group of gender non-conforming individuals feel included? I imagine some do and some don’t (agendered?).

3 thoughts on “4 Strikes Against Me and Proud of It

  1. Hi Steffi,
    OMG, I almost lost bladder control at that throw-away “Marshmallows anyone?” HAHAHAHA HI5 !! 😀 😀 😀
    As a Co-ordinator of a transgender support group I’m drawn to your comments regarding non-binary folk and use of the term “spectrum”. You make a good point. I think maybe umbrella is a better term, although the use of spectrum is more illustrative of the fact that people may think of themselves at various levels of masculinity or feminity.
    As an example, we had someone come along to our group meetings in their mid 20’s who was born male. They introduced themself with a female name, (initial K), dressed in a manner which was toward the feminine side of androgenous, and wore a degree of feminely applied makeup. As time went on it became clear that they percieved themself as non-binary and, despite the fact that they had started on Estrogen patches they made a comment at one point which (not being non-binary myself) I have to admit I still struggle to fully understand. They said that although the Estrogen was helping them to feel more like themself they hated the fact that it was causing them to grow breasts.
    I think this is a case which would, possibly, support use of the word spectrum. But then again … ?
    As it happens we had a mid-20’s trans female (L) join our group a little while after K. They soon became a couple and have been living together for over 2 years now. 😀


    1. Hi Tish,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I feel it should ultimately be up to the individual to choose a general term they are comfortable. I felt that since I occupy one end of the spectrum that I was privileging myself, so that is a major reason why I use umbrella most of the time.

      I have a neighbor who is non-binary. They dress in feminine attire and has a definitely womanly body. They told me later that their clothing choice was based on their weight. When they way less they tend to go with androgynous outfits.

      I do have trouble understanding how non-binary or agender persons internally feel. But, it is probably not a whole lot different from how people have trouble understanding my feeling of being a transgender woman.


      I was about to go to a trans support group and then the pandemic hit so meetings are on hold.



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