I guess even a woman with a beard has some sensitivity lessons left to learn.
My step-sister has been getting eczema off and on for a while now, and recently developed an infection in the eczema around her eyes. It's gotten emergency-room severe a couple of times now, as antibiotics in pill-form seem unable to help her overcome it. Her face has become a hard, cracking, crusty, scaly, itchy, painful visage. Because of the infectious nature of the infection, she is not allowed to attend her college classes. So she spends much of her time in her room. She says its because she doesn't like people looking at her.
I caught myself saying, rather haughtily, "Well, now she knows how I feel all the time!" What the heck was that? When did I start thinking I have the monopoly on humiliating cosmetic conditions?
So what if a sudden acute attack of a skin condition is not quite comparable to an incurable chronic issue that calls into question one's gender identity? That's just technicalities. It's all about the way a person feels about themselves. Whatever the severity of someone's perceived "problem" with their body, it's all relative. It's not a contest to see who is the most hard-done-by.
There are girls who call themselves "bearded ladies" who simply have a lot of blond vellus hair on their chins. I might wish that was all I had to contend with, but the way they feel about themselves is valid. They might very well feel worse than I do. I've got to be careful of this tendency to be too full of self pity.
I think sometimes, as human beings, we enjoy self pity. We enjoy being in pain. Maybe becoming okay with ourselves as women with beards involves letting go of the pleasure of wallowing.
I have promised myself to be more understanding and encouraging to my step-sister from here on. Maybe it could be worse. But to her, nothing could be worse right now.