Yes, I've fucking snapped.

Yes, I've lost my shit. Many who have only gotten to know me in more recent years have started to see another side of me that might scare them. A vicious, intense rage. A seemingly unending fury. Unprofessional behavior. Strong language. Content warning. Hide the kids.

This is the story of the last six years of my life. The story about my slow descent into madness. It’s not cute and it isn’t for the faint of heart.

If you somehow missed the memo, I am a transgender womxn. I started taking hormones when I turned 18 and fought hard to get my name and sex legally changed on my documents. My entire childhood was a horrible battle against a world that refused to accept a core component of my identity while prodding me with demands to "prove it"; to justify my existence.

By 2014, I had finally come out at Starbucks, where I worked. I was surrounded by incredibly supportive coworkers (including Jessica, the womxn I ended up marrying). I was barely scraping together enough cash to cover rent for a rundown studio apartment... but I was happy. I lived authentically and openly. Obama was the president. The world felt like it might finally be opening its mind to the idea of diversity and acceptance. So maybe people didn’t really quite "get it", but at least it was okay to be trans.

And then I moved to Southern Maryland. I was denied housing on the basis of being transgender. The landlord wasn't "comfortable" with the idea. That was really hard to stomach.

My new Starbucks location wasn't exactly welcoming either. The manager yelled at me and belittled me until I cried.

I ended up renting a small room on a farm. I didn't mention that I was trans.

Things with Jess were getting serious and she started to worry about what her family would think about me being trans.

All the work I'd put in to just being myself began to crumble around me. It felt like I couldn't be a trans womxn and be taken seriously. I might lose my job, my home. No one would ever love me.

I stopped taking the hormones. My mother said she was relieved about that.

It didn't take long for testosterone to reassert itself. I transferred to another store with a better, kinder, manager. People started calling me "he" again and I got really good at not wincing. I let my beard grow. I always got a lot of compliments about that beard.

I threw out my clothes and replaced them with button down shirts and neckties. I was even put on the management track! Maybe it would be okay. Maybe it wasn't so bad being a man.

When people asked about my name, I'd say "I'm androgynous." They didn't know what that meant, but it was probably okay because I was a man.

Most people didn't ask about the name.

Trans people started making news headlines as the world debated bathrooms, and people spread some nonsense about trans people "grooming" children.

Trump was elected president and declared trans people unfit for military service.

I tuned it all out. It hurt too much, and it hurt even more because I'd gone back into the closet. I'd once been an educator, on the front lines of spreading trans awareness. I should have been out there fighting with my brothers and sisters who weren't afraid to be themselves.

I kept up the facade, but it was so much worse than the dysphoria I had as a kid. This time, I knew I was a womxn, but I was INTENTIONALLY suppressing it.

I started gaining weight from the stress of living a lie. I drank a lot. I got really into weed and skyrim. I did absolutely everything I could to escape from myself.

We moved back to Virginia. I started working at a new store, still on the management track. But things were a bit off. I found and reported health code violations and was gaslit by upper management. Instead of promoting me, they hired tons of new managers from outside the company and expected me to train them.

I was moved to another store, where a new manager was installed, apparently with instructions to fire everyone. She began terminating good workers, one by one, for bullshit reasons. I quit before she got to me.

I took the first job I was offered. A part time tutor gig, helping underprivileged inner city kids learn to read. The pay cut was drastic, especially since they only gave me around 25 hours per week and I had to start paying out of pocket for health insurance. The work was rewarding and the kids were wonderful, but I died inside a little every time they called me "Mister Persephone".

By this point, I knew I needed to get back out of the closet. Pretending to be a man didn't really get me anywhere in the end, just more misery. In the news, people were accusing trans people of being pedophiles, and a substitute teacher in Texas had lost her job solely because she was trans. There was just no way I could come out and reasonably expect to keep the teaching job. I already couldn't afford the rent.

And then Jess went in for her double lung transplant. She almost died, several times. I had a complete breakdown. I didn't have time to think about or worry about myself. I *couldn't* worry about myself. I barely slept. People kept calling me for updates.

My wife was on death's doorstep and I was in shock. We were looking at a possible eviction. I couldn't focus and I couldn't handle any feedback at work. I had to quit the tutoring job for the sake of my sanity.

Jess is okay. She eventually made it out of the hospital and has made as full a recovery as she can.

I started driving for uber and seeing a doctor about my obesity and depression. I got back on hormones. I started taking voice feminization lessons. I made a new years resolution to once more live authentically and openly as a womxn.

And then the covid pandemic hit.

Black Lives Matter protests hit the street and apparently the Confederacy rose again (albeit half-assed and pathetically).

JK Rowling dropped a transphobic manifesto and empowered even more bigots around the world to openly hate and harass trans people.

Trump declared that sex is set in stone by "biology".

Well, I'm not having any of this shit. Not anymore. I'm sorry and I don't give a fuck if my existence makes you mad. I'm not going to waste my energy pretending to be "professional" anymore. I played nice as a womxn, and I played nice as a man. It amounted to nothing.

So if you're any kind of bigot, I'm going to go ahead and call you a bigot. If you're a racist, I'm going to call you a racist. If you're a transphobe, I'm going to call you a fucking anal-dwelling pinworm and I don't give a damn if it hurts your feelings. You clearly never cared about mine.

If you can't handle any of this, fuck off.

It's someone else's turn to be calm and diplomatic.

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Persephone Rose is a writer, actor, and the creator of Emperor Pigs; an audio drama series about demons that work at a pizza and marijuana shop.

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Persephone Rose

Persephone Rose

Persephone Rose is a writer, actor, and the creator of Emperor Pigs; an audio drama series about demons that work at a pizza and marijuana shop.

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