There are many reasons to feel excited about the end of the year´s activities. Meeting with family, the holidays, and maybe taking some days off after a whole year of working. October has its enchantment; in my case, baseball is a huge reason to enjoy this month, but there´s another one that almost every trans person looks forward to: HALLOWEEN! And you may wonder why…
I can speak for myself.
I started feeling that I was a girl around age 4, and I had no idea how to deal with that. It was unthinkable to even slightly express myself in a “feminine” way at my catholic school for boys, with complete certainty that I´d become a target of violence. Telling my parents was also dangerous because I only had one chance to find out if they would be supportive or if they would punish me badly, and I would have to live ashamed forever.
That´s how fantasy became my only resource, and I could only imagine what it would be like to dress and behave the way I wanted. As a kid, I was let down in significant ways by adults who were supposed to know better, adults who were there to teach me to be a good person when I grew up. So, if they´re not what they´re supposed to be, what´s true? And the line between true and false became blurry for me.
I believe that nothing in life is a coincidence, but amazing synchronicities that one day will help us have a coherent view of the world, but only if we’re paying attention. The world that had let me down assured me that I was a boy, but what a nerve to believe that they knew better than me who I was! I noticed that they were all playing roles; everyone was pretending their best to get something, and it was rare to find someone authentic. What a rare value it is to be authentic nowadays! I was launched into a quest for authenticity.
I thought changing schools to a mixed one would make my life easier. I pointed out to my parents that it was forced and unnatural to have a school only for boys or for girls given the natural thing was to bring them all together. They never let me change schools, and they kept sending signals that they were not safe people to come out to; like my mother saying randomly that she preferred a dead child to a gay kid. “That cannot be true; she doesn´t mean it,” I thought, but I couldn´t risk telling, and my only chance was to remain stuck with fantasizing about being a girl.
There was a Christmas representation in which they assigned me the role of an enslaved Egyptian, and the costume was a golden miniskirt. Of course, that´s what Egyptians wore back then! But I panicked and overacted that I didn´t want to wear the skirt “because it was girly.” Not that I wouldn´t have enjoyed wearing the skirt, but my parents would put the dots together, and they would have discovered my intentions. I know it´s weird, but trans people often act as if they are the farthest thing from trans to avoid getting into trouble.
Halloween is supposed to be a night in which the line that divides the world of the dead and the living gets blurred, and they can meet in celebration. But the ancient traditions speak about other kinds of divisions between worlds, and they assure that there´s a veil that doesn´t let us separate truth from illusion, and that was consistent with my observations. Halloween was the perfect opportunity to cross to the other world without being questioned, and I don´t mean the world of the dead, but that of authenticity. It happened gradually. I didn´t dress as a girl immediately, but with time, I dared change my outfit more and more, and Halloween became a very exciting time of the year. The world was backward, and every day should be Halloween, not just one, but what could I do? Ah, I wouldn´t surrender having tasted the sweetness of authenticity!
I started wearing dark clothes, skulls, and such things, and I started hanging out at gothic clubs and cafés wearing eyeliner and painting my nails black, even in front of colleagues from the office, who just thought I was a little crazy but never suspected I was queer.
I asked trans kiddos to tell me in their own words why they like Halloween so much, and here are some examples:
“We can dress however we want, and adults can´t say anything!”
“It´s always beautiful to dress the way you always wanted to dress!”
“I started hating it because I didn´t dare dress the way I wanted and envied other girls; then I finally dared to wear a dress, and now I love it!”
“First, I hated the idea that it was only a costume and not who I am, but this is the first year I´ll wear what I always wanted, and I´m gonna be a witch!”
Halloween is a whole metaphor that makes you challenge boundaries and ask yourself what´s true, what´s false, and what´s possible when you remove your artificially imposed limits, and that goes for cisgender people too. How authentic are you? What things could you be doing if you had the courage? How genuine are other people?
Now, if you´re trans, Halloween can help you discover that the actual costume is what you´re forced to wear the other 364 days of the year… until enough is enough.