Disclaimer: this subject maybe sort of foreign or uncomfortable for some of y'all, so I will try to explain some terms that I will be using, and to keep the political issues surrounding the LGBTQ community as far as I can from this post. These are my personal experiences and nothing else. I will also try to keep this brief.
While trying to distract myself from a multitude of things, including how crummy the Astros have been the past week, I decided to finally write an article about my experience as a sports fan, but specifically as a baseball fan. My experience isn't that different from most of the other fans on this blog, my dad got me into baseball early, I grew up during the Killer B heydays. The Astros became a comforting constant for me. I didn't miss a game from 2005-2007. I had Biggo and Bagwell posters hung on my wall (which were eventually joined by my unused 2005 Game 5 WS ticket). I had a picture from the combined no hitter signed by all 6 pitchers. The 15-30 comeback inspired me to pull myself out my own depression. It didn't matter, good or bad, whether I was going through a break up or I was on top of the world, my Stros were always there for me.
My story, however, is a little different from here.
I am a bisexual transgender woman (she/her pronouns), something which, while I don't try to hide it, is not something I try to constantly throw in people's faces on here. Growing up trans is scary enough, even if you're in the closet. I try not to let it affect my fandom, it can be difficult in a largely cisgender (someone whose gender identity matches their gender assigned at birth, it's the straight to trans' gay) heterosexual man's dominated world. I wish it was something I could just brush off, but unfortunately it just isn't possible in the sports world.
The recent acceptance of cis gay men in sports, while not universal by any stretch of the imagination, has been very nice to see, but dwarfs any sort of acceptance trans people receive. In fact, I think it's fair to say sport culture, as well as our culture as a whole, is less than hospitable to trans people. I can't help but feel disheartened seeing the sometimes disturbing response to trans athletes like Fallon Fox, or trans sports professionals.
Despite this acceptance, or lack thereof, there is still quite a bit of ignorance or straight out bigotry in the sports world. I wish I could go a week without a player calling someone a faggot, or see a fan use gender and sexuality as insults to a player's ability. I've even seen it on this very site.
I distinctly remember a game in 2012 against the Brewers, which was only a few months after my coming out. There was a rather large person who apparently was male, but wearing a dress. I was scrolling through the comments on here when i saw a mass of comments mocking the "fat tranny" in the Milwaukee stands. That cut me to my core. What if that was me they were mocking? Could I ever go to a game again without the fear of being clocked (when someone spots that you are trans) and ridiculed and maybe even face violence (which is a big worry for trans women who have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered)? Suddenly I was just like R. Kelly, trapped in a closet. I was a more skiddish and timid person, so I stepped away, closed the site, turned off the game, and crawled into bed and cried (insert "there's no crying in baseball" joke here).
I didn't come back to the Crawfish Boxes, which I had been coming to regularly for years, for over a month.
I felt like I was broken and felt as if one of the few things i found true comfort in was being taken away from me. I knew being trans and a fan would be difficult, but I didn't know if i would have to hide just to continue my fandom. I wondered if I could go stealth (presenting myself as cisgender) as a man - before the hormones of course - just to survive. In the end I decided that if I couldn't be who I am just to enjoy or be apart of something, then in wasn't worth it Fortunately, I decided that the acceptance and comfort I felt was worth way more than throwing away 20 years of fandom because of a few a-holes. I was going to be me, and if someone took issue, well, they're the one's with a problem, not me.
Some of you maybe wondering why I even made this post in the first place. That's a fair thing to wonder. When I', not reading or talking about sports, I spend a lot my internet times advocating for LGBTQ rights, and in that time I have found that if you put a relatable human face on LGBTQ people, cishet (cisgender heterosexual) people become sympathetic. I hope, if nothing else, that you gain awareness from this post. I don'f have an agenda to push or am looking to change people's opinions. All I ask is that you be considerate of others, and we'll do the same for you. We're all Astros fans, hopefully who we are besides that can be put aside and we can all root fror the good guys together.