Abraham Solomon, 'Waiting for the Verdict' 1857I am a woman. If you don’t believe me, trust the Gender Recognition Panel. Though not the psychiatrists, who still use the term “homosexual TS” to refer to an androphile M-F.

Okaaay- I am a woman. Breathe it in.

I have not, even after transition, particularly valued my Womanhood. I have felt no desire to revert, or to present male (horrible idea) but have feared being Female. What does it mean?

I am aware how the words “feminine” and “unfeminine” may be used to curb and control women, and even if “feminine” is used approvingly it may be curbing some other behaviour. I am aware that men may be more “feminine” than women- on a scale, both sexes form overlapping bell curves; and yet the women’s bell curve is closer to the “feminine” end. So the word “feminine” has some descriptive meaning as well as an oppressive one. For me, it is affirming. I am “feminine”. And that is a good thing, because I am a “woman”. Even the psychiatrists who say I am not say I should express myself as one, that is the path they accept for such as me.

I am a Woman.


One of the characteristics I noticed when I was a solicitor representing pursuers in defended debt actions was that I want Conciliation and harmony more than anything else. This is Feminine. Note what I am saying. I am not saying women should be infant school teachers- or homemakers- rather than litigators, just that I was not really cut out to be a litigator, even if I gave that role all I could then and also in the Employment Tribunal, and see that it is a good role. I was a litigator by accident, I had not found my calling. Of course having joy in combat is a Wonderful characteristic, and fitting in a litigator, but my craving for it was not. The mistake that got me sacked as a solicitor was in the case of a man who looked me in the eye and said “I want a solicitor with fire in his belly”, and I looked him in the eye and gave a firm handshake, and then let him down.

So I could perceive this desire for harmony as weakness. It is not ideal in litigation, where even the negotiation of a settlement is a combat. But in the right place, it is a Good thing, a Blessing on me and those around me.

S, who likes men who like to dress as women, finds me “too feminine” for her taste. In that particular relationship I might find my femininity to be lack, I am just not good enough. This is my habit, after all- when I was pursuing the Masculine Ideal all the bits which did not fit were Bad, all the characteristics I did not have were how I Ought to be, I did not measure up. And- I dare to hope that I might celebrate my Femininity, which is mine own and not for anyone else, as Right and Fitting in me and in a place in society I might create for myself, as a Blessing on myself and others.

I saw the pictures at the Tate on Sunday. That lawyer, pulling away from the emotional client, is particularly fine. I have met, in several men, the solicitor in Bleak House.

6 thoughts on “Woman

    • Reporting in scientific journals, researchers use the term “homosexual transsexual” to refer to an androphilic M-F, whereas androphilic would be more precise. And, oddly, “non-homosexual” for the lesbian ones- I know, I know, they include asexual and bisexual, but they avoid the term “heterosexual” because, well, that is normal, and we are definitely not normal. No-one has used the term to my face.


      • “Heteronormative” is a bit harsh. Some have the attitude that they are proper transsexuals and we are not, which I think they have got from unduly timorous, or prejudiced, psychiatrists- but not all are heteronormative. But even if they are, yes, they are seen as gay men in drag. Sometimes.

        Thank you for introducing me to the word “femminiello”. Fascinating concept, traditional, tolerant yet with its own restrictions and exclusions.


  1. “A bit too feminine for her taste….” Oh, dear, is she selecting fruit at the grocers….? What about considering whether she likes YOU?

    Clare, I love your posts. I was thinking about them this morning, and feeling happy because of them. They are so interesting, and full of colour and beauty. As you are.

    xxxx 🙂


All comments welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.