What I am noticing, though, is that there are things that I simply don't see the same way as other people. As an example, I got into an e-mail argument/discussion with a couple of colleagues about bigotry against racial and ethnic groups. Someone thought I was somehow implying that white people have never suffered discrimination. I never said that; instead, I explained that indentured servants (to use an example said colleague mentioned) faced bias, but not on account of being white. Furthermore, none were brought here against his or her will, as African-American slaves were. And, I added, indentured servants could gain their freedom after completing their period of servitude, which was usually about seven years. African-American slaves had no such option.
The colleague said that our conversation (which included other colleagues) was "strange." I didn't ask her to elaborate, but she did: "I never heard a white person say those things before."
What I didn't tell them was that now I understand what it's like to face bigotry over some congenital trait rather than something like class. Plus, if I do say so myself, I have some idea of how fearfully complicated life can be. People's actual or perceived identities are simply a reflection of that. So it makes sense, at least to me, that I am seeing--and being seen, at least by some--as someone who's more than just a bunch of therapy sessions, a couple thousand doses of hormones and the surgery. Somehow I think that's, at least in part, the reason why I find myself not talking about those things, and thinking less and less about them. Now that I think of it, that was one of the goals of everything I did.