As the months passed by and my body further masculinized, my confidence was slowly displaced by strong feelings of anger. My sense of pride became muddied by the societal expectations of black masculinity. Specifically, the racist assumption that black men are full of rage and prone to violence. This became extremely evident in the new ways my body was policed by others. Whenever I spoke up, asserted myself, or failed to make those around me feel safe through complacency, I became the physically threatening angry black male. This realization intensified my anger but I quickly learned to contain my rage in ways that I never had to before, lest I became the dangerous stereotype in which I knew that I wasn’t.
Beyond the unexpected racist assumptions of my identity from acquaintances and strangers, my personal relationships experienced their own type of transition. I remember when a friendly debate about politics with a friend turned into a tense disagreement. As prideful intellectuals, we both vehemently defended our beliefs but our differing views quickly turned ugly as I was taken aback with my friend’s reminder “that testosterone is really making you angry.” Although I wanted to inform my friend of the fallacy of her statement, the conversation ended quickly thereafter but not before I profusely apologized and shamefully agreed that perhaps my anger was displaced and unnecessary.
While I had already learned that as a black male I had little room to express anger in fear of the potentially harmful repercussions, what became even more clear to me is that as a black transgender male, I have even less room to be angry. Simply put, because black transmen have to deal with the unfortunate disposition of carrying the racist baggage of an assumed brute masculinity and the damaging myth of aggression as a result of synthetic hormone use, our expressions of anger and frustration are sometimes interpreted by others as inauthentic. In effect, preventing potentially healthy and constructive uses of anger in our on-going process of self-fashioning.