The Fear of Getting Clocked - The Weekly Rant with Mila Madison -Transgender Universe

The Fear of Getting Clocked

For those of us who are transgender, the paranoia of being clocked can often be a big issue. You may be walking down a busy street and it seems like everyone is staring. You might be in a store or out at a club. You start to look at people’s faces and wonder what mat be going through their mind. Are they really looking at me?  Maybe they think I am pretty? That would be a great reason. In my mind however, they are probably clocking me as transgender.

Let’s face it, we have all experienced some form of clocking. It could be by a stranger or even a friend. Maybe even a family member. We all have that one relative who can’t get the pronouns right or they accidentally call you by your old name in a crowded place. Usually in that instant my dysphoria is triggered. The downward spiral begins and I try my best to get myself out of it.

Some of us are lucky enough to have passing privilege. The degree in which we have it can often determine how many problems we will have out in the world. But even in the scenario where one has such privilege, the paranoia can still set in. You can be afraid your voice will give you away. It can be those features you possess that you hate the most. It can be anything really. We all have things that we don’t like about ourselves. We all go through it in our own way.

“We are the only group in society where it is still okay to openly discriminate against us.”

This is something that cisgender people take for granted. It is a privilege to be able to run down the block to the store in your sweatpants with no makeup on and do so without the fear of confrontation. For many of us this could be dangerous proposition depending on where we live. We exist in a world where we see people trying to pass bills that won’t even allow us to use the bathroom. We are the only group in society where it is still okay to openly discriminate against us. There are bills being passed that allow businesses to deny us service for religious reasons. Tell me, would it be okay to deny all women services for religious reasons? How about denying people services because they are not of the same religion? Is that okay? You get the point. This is why it is dangerous for us. There are people who are simply out to hurt us. The issue for us is not vanity. It is safety. It affects both transgender men and women alike.

The Fear of Getting Clocked - The Weekly Rant - Transgender Universe

While we all have insecurities, having gender dysphoria can take them to new heights. Cisgender people don’t have to worry about something triggering their dysphoria. It is one thing to have a bad hair day or worry about people not finding you attractive. It is an entirely different experience when you throw dysphoria in the mix. It can lead to all kinds of dangers if we don’t know how to cope with it.

Are these thoughts and fears justified? Maybe sometimes. Mostly it is just an extension of our dysphoria when we worry about being clocked. The thought that everyone is staring. It could be our own paranoia triggered by gender dysphoria. In the end it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this is mostly in our head. A product of our condition. Though there will always be bad people, most others are not really that concerned with us or anyone else. It is just our fears manifesting themselves.

“If someone wants to hurt me for being what I am, so be it”

The Fear of Getting Clocked 3 - The Weekly rant -Transgender UniverseThe truth is for me I am out. I am really out. I am on the Internet for everyone to see. It is no secret that I am transgender and I am proud of who I am. There are times when I don’t care about what anyone will do. I know I am going to continue to be me no matter what happens. If someone wants to hurt me for being what I am, so be it. I know that by being out and open I am helping others like me by allowing myself to be seen. People need to see us. The more they see us the more they get used to us in society. This leads to acceptance.

But to be truly honest, there are also other times when I don’t want to be transgender. I just want to be like every other girl out there. It would be nice to go out every once and a while and not think about it. To exist for a moment without having to think about gender. To not worry about what I look like in the mirror. To not have to look over my shoulder. I would love to just exist as who I am with everything perfectly aligned. It is a feeling I have never known. It seems so far out of reach. Sometimes I just want to blend in and be like everyone else and not worry about getting clocked.


Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us!

Love and peace,

Mila Madison

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  • Chrissie See

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s the one inescapable constant, no matter how much we think we’re blending in.While there’s no question but that what’s become known as passing privilege is real, I’ve yet to meet a transwoman who doesn’t wonder if that glance from across the room signified something more than just, “Wow, she looks nice.”

    Owning it, just saying, “Yes, I’m trans, and unashamed of it” is a way to knock the fear of being clocked down…but I wonder – no matter how often we say it to ourselves, can we ever escape that nagging little thought that our being different carries a negative connotation?

    I hope so… but, for me, I’ll confess, it’s still there.

  • Jennifer Eastep

    If being “noticed” as Trans is considered being “Clocked”, then I am the “Big Ben” of the Trans community! As a non passable Trans woman I have learned to notice the positive and negatives of being trans and I have discovered that once you let go and truly focus on your personal happiness, that is when you start living your life for “YOU”..
    Stop living in fear of being clocked. As long as that fear remains, you are still living your life for others. Their are so many more positive things to focus on besides what other people may think and we have to let go of that fear in order to be happy. I understand that some in our community have to live in stealth for employment or safety reasons (i.e. living in a small town etc) But I also firmly believe that by living in stealth, it does nothing to further the fight for equality (IMHO) Being Trans should not “trigger” dysphoria, It should be something to be proud of especially when we stand up and say this is who we are like it or lump it! We are here and we will gain equality by standing tall and proud! and NOT allowing society to dictate “how” we should look or be!

  • Richelle Mulka

    If you can truly love yourself without conditions you will present an image of self confidence that will repel most detractors , if you show no doubt they will sense it and look for far easier prey to harass. Think of abusive Trans-hating people as sharks who can sense blood in the water and will close in on attack. If they can’t sense self doubt in you (the blood in the water) they likely will move on to a more vulnerable target to vent their contempt on. Myself, I realized (finally !) that if I saw myself as just another woman in the crowd I was far less likely to be confronted so I’ve dropped the “Trans” qualifier most of the time now when meeting new people. If we could only understand that arbitrarily dividing ourselves into Trans or Cis groups is really serving only to cause divisions among fellow Human Beings that serve little or no purpose. WE are denying our OWN commonality as fellow Humans or carbon-based units as the Trekkies say !