“I have to tell you something,” I said. He looked at me, eyes narrowing. We’d just met, so I can only imagine the infinite possibilities swirling in his head. He had just moved to Atlanta from Chicago and had this whole stereotypical macho thing about him. He was an amateur MMA fighter, came from the hood — apparently a former gang member, as I learned later.
It wasn’t that he necessarily made me feel threatened, but I knew the statistics. I knew about girls like me. We’re the ones who guys love in the dark. We’re the dirty little secrets who get calls only after hours. No matter how beautiful, intelligent, or successful, we are the ones who have to settle for being nothing more than receptacles for men’s desires and insecurities.
I imagined the worst, but I said it anyway. “I’m a transgender woman.” I emphasized the woman part. That didn’t stop the intense expression of confusion that spread across his face.