Gina's Trans Diary, 17.09.16: entry 5 On Paranoia
It starts with a couple's laughter. I have spent a peaceful late afternoon at Waterstones and am walking along Edinburgh's high street when I come to traffic lights and I wait. I'm staring into space, perhaps too much, like a zombie. I look up and I see the two girls giggling opposite me, having taken a photo. They're looking at me, and they're laughing. I look away, then moments later glance and they're still looking at me, laughing, looking at me and looking at their camera. Laughing. I look away, occasional glances and they're still looking at me. They're laughing.
The light is yet to show the green man but I see there's no traffic and now I'm anxious to cross and stop being stared at, laughed at, two tourists – I presume, I could be wrong – taking pictures of me. I walk briskly up the hill, and now I notice how everyone's looking at me as they pass. They look at me in a strange way. There's something wrong with me. My wig, it must be dishevelled, or my make-up, something wrong. My skirt?
I cannot wait to get to my university building where I can be beyond all these people.
I pass the university's union, Teviot, the one nicknamed 'Hogwarts' because that's what it looks like. There is a huge Saturday night queue snaking towards it, everyone dressed well, and many glamorously. The queue is the length of two football pitches. I'm walking past them and I know there's something wrong with me. Every laugh I hear I know is about me. Is my skirt tucked into my underwear? What is it that's wrong with me? My wig, my skirt, my make-up, my one-of-those-days?
I get to my quiet corridors inside a silent university building. I go into the bathroom and check my appearance. My hair is okay, not amazing but okay. My make-up is fine. My skirt isn't stuck in my underwear. I look like I always do, more or less.In a support group meeting I went to several months ago, a trans person told me she thought someone was laughing at her, when she turned and realized the person was laughing at a car going past. I know this, I know all this. I also know that the more self-conscious you become, the more it can affect your walk, and the more you're likely to attract attention. I should be more relaxed, some coping mechanism stored away. Deep breaths, Gina. They're not looking at you any more than usual, any more than they look at anyone else. Deep breaths, Gina, deep breaths.