Updated: Jun 26, 2022
by Katherine Benson
Confused. A word that comes up all too much from bystanders, friends and family towards people within the LGBT community, oftentimes in a disparaging and somewhat dehumanizing manner.
The word confused has been tacked on to almost everyone within the community.
"You're not a man, you're just confused"
"You like women and men? It's ok to be confused"
"What does non binary mean? I think you are just confused"
"Why do you dress like that? Are you confused or something?"
A whole bunch of us have to deal with these comments on a frequent basis. The lack of understanding of our identities is rampant, and while the comprehension has gotten much better, many just resort to saying that you are confused, projecting their knowledge, ignorance and beliefs onto us. Whether they do not care to learn or genuinely cannot understand, it does affect us.
Trying to convey my identity to others is one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. Yes, I do have a label, I am a trans woman, but still, there is so much that comes with that. Some just cannot wrap their head around the concept of being trans. Coming out to friends and family can be extremely challenging, with a flurry of emotions and questions, and there will always be those who just can't grasp it.
Explaining these things to certain people can be quite the task, but to be Frank (or as I like to say, to be Francine), most will never absolutely 100% understand, and to me, that’s very liberating. I know that I don't need to waste my time explaining myself to people who will never get it. These topics are incredibly complex and difficult to understand if they haven't felt the same feelings.
One thing to keep in mind, understanding isn't necessary to acceptance and love. It seems that many people feel they must know every little detail about a person's identity in order to accept them, which in my opinion, is just flat out wrong. Push away your preconceived notions and beliefs and just let the love in.
A message to those who call us confused. Many of us are far from it, we know exactly what we want. We know what our true identity is, we know who we want to be with, we know who we are. You may be confused, but we aren't.
To those who haven't quite yet gotten to that point, the day will come. You aren't confused, you are learning, discovering and growing; self discovery doesn't happen overnight, it's a lifelong journey. All of which is paramount to finding our true selves and ultimately, our happiness.
Growing up as a man to later discover that I am a trans woman was interesting to say the least. I wasn't confused by my identity, I was confused by the way people were treating, molding and making me. As I've said, I have an extremely difficult time explaining my identity and who I am. I know who I am and if you don't get it, that's fine, but there is one thing for sure. I am not confused.