Transgender “Uglies”

by Emma Holiday


Shame fear doubt self-hate sadness desperation rejection denial depression disgust anger loathing grief rage anxiety loneliness despair contempt

I am writing this for cisgender readers. Anyone who is transgender already knows these words.

I am not suggesting that those who are transgender have an exclusive monopoly of these feelings, but they feel most, if not all of them, regularly. These words dominate their emotional landscape.

When I read or hear cisgender individuals speak with dismissal or disdain about trans people I feel tremendous anger. They have absolutely no clue about the incredible internal pain that trans people suffer predominantly caused by the intolerant and ignorant world in which they are forced to live. This social reality magnifies just about every negative human emotion a person can experience.

I know this for a fact because I am transgender and I have experienced every one of the “uglies”.

The transgender uglies are an emotional club that we constantly batter ourselves with. Few of us, if any, would choose to be transgender. It would be like asking for a lifetime malady like leprosy. The sad reality for anyone transgender is we were never even given a choice, it just happened to us.

The uglies are the additional burden placed on us by society.

No one ever brags that they know someone who is transgender. In fact, it is the complete opposite. At the very least it confuses and makes people uncomfortable; at the extreme, it makes them hateful and then we internalize that hate.

How else can you explain the staggering percentage of transgender suicide attempts and, sadly, those that are successful, not to mention transgender murders on a global scale?

Trans people are not born depressed. Social intolerance, ignorance and rejection make it so, not in a moment or a day or a year, but over a lifetime. It takes immense courage, strength and desperation to survive the daily internal attacks that are a reflection of the external ones that occur in the world around them.

In spite of the fiction created by the various entertainment media, transgender people are not murderers, pedophiles or sexual deviants. In my experience far from it. In fact, the cisgender population has a much higher percentage in all categories of depravity and criminal behavior. So why demonize us?

But nothing speaks stronger about the quality of the transgender community than their willingness to set aside their own pain to help others. That is something the world needs more of.


So, if you are cisgender and reading this, spread the word: we are worth knowing.

Maybe someday you will be able to brag you know someone transgender.

Emma Holiday

Writers note: If you have read any of my writings on Medium you will have noticed a definite theme: the incredible pain of gender dysphoria and all the difficult aspects of just being transgender.

My writing has three specific goals:

  1. Writing is my therapy. I have a very limited outlet for my thoughts so I write to find a way to process the most profound experience in my life. I need to understand and I need to accept myself to move forward.
  2. Being transgender, for me, is a very lonely existence and if I can share some of the things that I feel and think as I go through the process of transitioning with others who are transgender and, in some way, lessen their pain and sense of loneliness, then all of this public exposure of my personal thoughts is not a waste.
  3. I write to help cisgender people understand that all trans people want is to simply be understood, accepted and treated as a normal person. We are.