In I Am J, what does Marcia mean when she tells J, "we're all transgender"?

What Marcia means when she tells J "we're all transgender" is that all of us have at some point felt out of place in our bodies and experienced a kind of disconnect between our outer and inner selves.

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Marcia is a transgender woman who works as a prostitute in New York on the Greenwich Village piers. She meets J, who's run away to the big city, at the hotel where they're both staying. Though only twenty-one years old, Marcia is wise beyond her years and is able to...

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Marcia is a transgender woman who works as a prostitute in New York on the Greenwich Village piers. She meets J, who's run away to the big city, at the hotel where they're both staying. Though only twenty-one years old, Marcia is wise beyond her years and is able to give J the benefit of her advice.

Not long after Marcia knocks on J's door, they start chatting, although it's Marcia who does most of the talking. She asks J a whole bunch of questions—Where are you from? Have you run away?—which he does his best to answer.

J has never met anyone quite like Marcia before. There were plenty of bold, sassy women in his neighborhood and at home, but nothing quite like Marcia. J figures out fairly quickly that Marcia is transgender. Before long, and for the very first time in his life, J openly says out loud that he too is transgender.

Marcia's response to this is to say,

Oh, honey, we're all transgender.

By this, of course, she doesn't literally mean that everyone on the face of the planet is transgender. What she means is that everyone, at some point in their lives, has felt somewhat out of place in their bodies, has experienced a kind of disconnect between their outer and inner selves.

Though such experiences may not be quite as universal as Marcia suggests they are, they're certainly a lot more common than most people realize.

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