Saturday, April 30, 2011

A View Into Being Trans

Today I have a guest post by a Blogger I really like. Biki shares the journey of being Trans and all the ups and downs that self discovery and life presents. Biki's blog The Great Wide Open is very heartfelt and open. Share the Journey yourself.

Now A View Into Being Trans by my friend Biki.

Describing what it means to be trans is tricky endeavor indeed.  Why is it so hard to explain what it's like, how it feels to be trans?  Well, tis a different experience for each of us, but what it really boils down to is that it's almost like trying to explain the color blue to someone that is blind.  Cisgender people, (someone whose gender identity matches their anatomical gender at birth) haven't ever felt the separation of their mental and physical selves.  And that's why trans people fall back on a few cliché statements; in the wrong body, never felt right when I looked in the mirror, always felt there was something different about me, I never felt like I fit in with people of my sex, etc.  While those are true as to how we do feel, it's only the tip of the iceberg. 

How best to describe it…. I feel like a stranger from a distant planet.  My childhood was filled with adults telling me that "girls" don't: sit that way, stand that way, be loud, jump around, etc, etc, etc.  I never could trust my natural instincts on how to be me.  And so I learned to watch and emulate a foreign species, women to attempt to fit in.  While I can blend in, I don't fit in at all well.  In the world of women, I'm a foreigner who is confused as to the subtext as to what is really being said.  I can't trust my instincts as to how to act, I don't mesh well with people of my sex; I live life feeling slightly off kilter.

There is a wide variant as to how strongly the disconnect between the physical self and the gender self is among transgender people.  For most trans, life is livable wearing a sex that doesn't match our gender.   For other trans, life inside the wrong sex is a constant soul pain, and has been so their entire lives.  The only way to cure the pain is opposite sex hormones and surgery.  Something I would do in a flash, except I can't perceive my life without my adorable husband, who isn't comfortable with the thought of being married to a guy, and I totally understand his feelings.

While I would be more comfortable living within the skin of a male, instead of just the mind of one, there is yet another piece of the trans puzzle.  To never be seen as to who one actually is.  Forever and ever, I'll only be seen as a woman, never the man I actually am.  Living an invisible life slowly corrodes who you are into a blurry reflection of both and yet neither.

As a child I fully knew that I was a boy, without any doubt.  Gift giving occasions were usually a let down for me as I asked for traditionally male playthings, cars, trucks, trains, race tracks, etc.  Yes, I had Barbies, and baby dolls, and yes I played with them, males do have a nurturing side if they are allowed to express it.  Then came puberty and all the physical changes that occur, without a doubt the worst time in my life ever.  With puberty comes the end of magical thinking, and I finally stopped believing I would wake up one day to find that I was a boy for real.  With the end of that belief was a vast wasteland of what next?  How to be a girl?

Many of us go the extreme opposite of what we feel to be, attempting to feel whole by being extremely feminine, or taking masculinity to the extreme.  Many M2F's have served in the armed forces, the Marines and Army seem to be the favorites.  Several F2M's have tried breast implants, overly feminine clothing trying to feel more feminine, less fractured.  Me?  I couldn't do the overly feminine thing, I haunted the line between the two sexes.  Dressing my female body in male clothing, with long hair and sometimes make-up.  Or wearing some articles of each sexes clothing together.  So, canvas high tops and a skirt with a boys long sleeved t-shirt, and people looked at me like a freak.  Yes, there were times I dressed "normally", in full on female attire, and it's always felt like a costume.  And as I age, the feeling of being in costume has gotten stronger to the point where last year I ditched all my girl clothing.

Trans people are straight, bi, and gay in around the same numbers as are cisgender people.  Within the trans community ones sexuality isn't really a big issue.  What is a huge issue is the ability to "pass" well.  Those that pass well, really look down upon those of us that don't pass well.  The transwomen strive to be ultra feminine, the transmen desire to be as masculine as possible.  If one is a femme transman, he will be looked down on and at the least ignored, at the most, hated.  A "butchy" transwoman?  Holy cats and ants you wouldn't believe the hate she will have to endure.  The trans community adheres so strongly to the cookie cutter gender roles our society cranks out, step outside of those roles with dress or actions and be prepared to be hated on.  As for where I fall?  More of a femme kinda guy.  Living all of these years in "girl world" has taken it's toll on how masculine I could have grown up to be. 

When I went to the transgender conference in Boston, I gathered me some misunderstanding and some disbelief of my status of trans.  Why?  Because they could only see one way to be a transman, to be a F2M, and I didn't fit into it at all.  Like all oppressed minorities we have taken the rules of normalcy to an extreme degree, and use them against our own community members.  What bothered them about me?  I don't bind my breasts down, its vastly uncomfortable and it has the backlash of making me think more about my breasts than I normally ever do.  I wear earrings, even though I wore male ones, they only saw earrings.  I had painted my nails black for the decade dance, I went as a metal rocker.  I don't know of any metal rocker worth his high who doesn't have black nails.  But because I forgot the nail polish remover, that was a mark against me as well.  However I did meet one awesome F2M who has told me that he uses my life and how I live it as an example for others that there isn't one correct way of being trans.

By breaking the silence and refusing to stay hidden another minute, gays and lesbians and bi's have forced our society to exam what is considered "normal" sexual behavior.  Transgender people force the examination of what is considered "normal" in the realms of gender and sex.  Gender roles, pigeon holing of what behavior is acceptable out of each sex, and even more scary for the blinkered straights is the fact that there is more than one way to be male, female one; can be a multihued blend of both.   In my viewpoint, if allowed to grow naturally from puberty only a very few people would think of themselves as fully straight, or gay, most of us would fall somewhere within the city limits of bi-ville.  And I think the same thing about gender.  If we didn't so rigidly adhere to the fallacy that everyone is whole cloth only one gender, we would see an easing of our stupid roles and scripts as to what it means to be male or female. 

Love is Never Wrong

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