Tell Us As You Write Your Story: What’s Been Standing in Your Way?

I’ve learned so much from writing about transphobia

Tucker Lieberman
6 min readAug 10, 2023

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pile of rocks on sandy beach
Photo by the author

When writers don’t know how to continue an essay, we often use the metaphor of a roadblock, as if something stood between us and our goal and we didn’t detect any path to circumvent it. Or we use the metaphor of stuckness, as if our feet were trapped in mud.

Sometimes our own imagination is in our way: We dream up an adversary. Other times, when an adversary really is out there, our lack of imagination can block our escape. In that situation, we’ll find a way out if we believe it’s there to be found and are brave and creative enough to take that path.

Post-Transition, New Gender Roadblocks Appear

Years ago, while I was beginning my gender transition, I once walked into a barbershop, and the barber told me “I don’t cut girls’ hair” and gave me the cold shoulder. That door of that particular barbershop was closed to me that day. That’s a small example of how some specific tasks seemed to be temporary roadblocks.

On other occasions, people reacted more subtly and I took longer to figure out what was happening. Nonetheless, the outcome was similar. Unfortunately, if someone isn’t perceiving my gender the way I intend to…

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Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen and for Identity Current. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." tuckerlieberman.com