Did you have a bad experience at the polling stations? Contact us!
In recent years, every time the opportunity has arisen to express my opinion as a citizen by going to the polls, I have experienced an unpleasant, humiliating and a highly stressful experience, which has inhibited my determination to continue to exercise my right and duty.
I found myself having to wait for my turn in line with women, as my personal name is still female and still entered in the female register of voters. I have a great feeling of anger and discomfort at being channeled into a logistic system that divides men and women into two distinct rows, based on the sex on the records, which is so time-consuming and expensive for us transgender people to rectify, without moreover, this has any kind of utility for the success of the operation in progress. I do not find any valid reason why in the exercise of the vote my personal identity should be highlighted, which, not corresponding to my real identity, causes me embarrassment, which I am forced to live in the sight of people unknown to me.
I have had the opportunity to vote only once since I was of age, but obviously I was forced to go to the women’s ballot box as all my identification documents are still female. However, this type of experience made me very uncomfortable as there was no possibility to vote in a “neutral” polling booth suited to my gender.
This is why I ask for the right to vote in suitable ballot boxes and to give people like me the possibility of not having to forcibly reveal their biological gender whenever it is possible to exercise their right to vote.
When I voted for the first time I still remember it, I was in a school near my parents’ house and I arrive there and my mother and I split up, she goes where “ladies” go and I go where “gentlemen” go. In fact, in that school they had even divided men and women into two different classes. I wait alone, I was still a little enterprising girl. I am standing there with these gentlemen who register me, put me in boxes and tell me what to do. The excitement of the moment of the vote outweighed the sense of inadequacy of the situation.
In the years to come I have voted many other times, I have been part of committees for the promotion of collections of signatures for referendums and much more. Yet there was always that “man” label that I didn’t feel on me.
I only went to vote once since I discovered my gender identity. But also pre-testosterone I had discomfort in showing up at the polling station, both for the still “female” documents and because the row was divided MAN / WOMAN.
Many trans and non-binary people experience this discomfort: dividing seats based on male or female gender I find it a very cis-normed and trans-excluding, society is not composed only of people who identify with the assigned gender at birth.
This discourages non-cisgender people when going to vote, first of all if they are not out as trans or non-binary, but also when they are out because the discomfort it feels to be sorted into a row that you do not feel you belong to brings a strong gender dysphoria.
I consider it useful to report a significant episode relating to the last time I went to the polling station. In fact, on this occasion, in addition to the usual discomfort of the glances of others due to the fact that I was in the row of women despite having an evidently masculine appearance, I was repeatedly scolded and scolded aggressively by the seat president precisely because of the fact of ” find myself in the wrong row ”. Having given the document to the person in charge of the women’s register, this one, also after a recall from the president, found herself declaring aloud in front of all the people present in the room, that I was a woman and that so I belonged to that row and that register. It was a particularly embarrassing moment and in which I felt really uncomfortable, in a context not in the least prepared for the mere existence of a trans person and undergoing a double outing, both in having to personally put myself in a row perceived as wrong, and in being declared out loud as a woman in front of unknown people and in a context so unprepared for my existence as a trans man.
The last few years have been situations of discomfort and unpreparedness on the part of the volunteers at the polling stations who, seeing me in the queue of women with an obviously masculine appearance, have repeatedly picked me up in front of all the other people. I had to justify, always in front of everyone, my presence in the queue of women, but each time I had to wait until I showed my papers to be fully understood. My female registry name was of course read out loud by the volunteers so that they could discuss ‘how to behave in that abnormal case’. Once it was even questioned that those were indeed my documents, that there must be a mistake, or that it must be ‘a bad joke’. Each of these moments are a source of great discomfort and embarrassment for me, not because I am ashamed to make it known that I am a trans person, but because at that moment I could not choose not to come out: it is a real constraint.
What can you do?
You can become active as a volunteer by making yourself available to accompany trans* people to the polling stations and inviting your contacts to sign the petition.