Desiring transition

Arguably I had two separate desires. When I wanted to present female full time, that was all I wanted, and the desire to be surgically altered came later. Can I know why I wanted that?

I wanted to pass. It is so much safer if you do. Some people are too tall, and some cis women are read as men. Passing privilege is a bad thing- where trans folk who pass are accepted, and those who don’t aren’t- yet most of us would prefer to pass. That was why I had electrolysis to get rid of facial hair, and why I took testosterone suppressors and oestradiol, and why I pushed my testicles back into the inguinal canal and my penis back between my legs and held it all in place with tummy control pants. I did not want a lump under my skirt. So, even if I had not had the operation, I might have been permanently infertile and incapable of erection.

I disliked getting turned on by thoughts of feminisation. I can’t remember how long they lasted, or how long I was getting aroused often: I am only aroused occasionally now. Now on facebook I read people agonising about how long they have to wait for appointments, hormones or surgery, or delighting in getting it, and on one group the person who said she was quite happy with her sex being male and her gender female, shortly after said that she was leaving because she did not want a certain person reading her posts. Even though many of her own posts are public. There are a lot of comments: this is a sore point, and there is some discomfort and difficulty understanding, even though the line is “bodily autonomy is important”- we should get to choose- which it wasn’t on TS-UK around 2000.

Onywye. Social pressure? Dunno. There is social pressure and expectation.

My path to self-acceptance led through transition. I wanted it. I wanted the Op. If now I wish that I could have self-accepted without all that, without any of it, still use the old name and never have wanted to cross-dress- it’s a choice I made knowing there was no going back. The wish is pointless. Ridiculous.

Why did I want it? I just did. What do I feel about it now? Rage, horror, misery-

for I am not a woman. I don’t see myself as a woman. I see myself as a trans woman, inherently ridiculous, victim, pitiable, always chasing after something impossible. I will not revert: Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

I have always done my best. Only Perfect me could have done better, and Perfect me does not exist. The world is not easy for anyone, and perhaps it could not be. I have no solutions, but perhaps infinite forbearance forgiveness and love might mitigate some of the pain. I kind of miss Perfect me. It was never going to be easy, but with Perfect me I could fantasise it was.

Now I read the suggestion that we should eschew the term “gender identity”. The word is simply “gender”- something objective, rather than “identity”, something in my own mind. I like that, actually.

8 thoughts on “Desiring transition

  1. Clare this is a brutally honest reflection on gender dysphoria and a breath of fresh air over most of what I read. The answer is we don’t really know but perhaps the alternative could have been worse and those of us who struggle to avoid transition don’t have a simple path either. It’s like being caught in a trap with either way out providing less than perfect resolution. I return to your blog regularly because of your unromantic and frank examinations . But don’t tell yourself you are not a woman because you are..

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    • Thank you. “Brutally honest breath of fresh air”- purrrrrrr….

      I am a human being. Here and in tomorrow’s post, already written, I purge myself of needing any thing more than myself to be acceptable. If I am acceptable because I am a woman, then I become unacceptable if someone denies I am a woman. I am a human being. That is enough.

      I am very glad you come here. Thank you for your encouragement, I need it.

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      • I agree with Joanna, who also blogs really well. You never fail to provoke me to challenge myself, Clare.

        I long to make that transition, but know the impact that it will have on my life and those I love will be huge. I also fall into the category of unlikely ever to pass completely. On that basis, the thought of transition scares me silly. I couldn’t have put it better than Joanna that it is like being in a trap. If I could go to a point where I didn’t feel like this at all, I think I probably would, reluctantly, take it. But knowing that I always will feel like this and that long periods of every day are taken up with so much sadness because I’m not spending my life presenting as female needs to be addressed. It just can’t continue. I think that resistance, whilst it has been a noble effort to try to protect my loved ones, is ultimately futile. I’ll have to resign myself to do it whether I’m mistaken for a very obvious rugby player in a dress and focus on knowing that I, at least for one, will love myself and will hopefully finally feel true to myself.

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        • Welcome, Rhiannon. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for your honesty.

          Here is the provocative thing. I will just say it, and you can do with it as you wish: What if “female” is not what you are? You are not “unmanly” either. What if you are a man in a way it is not culturally approved, right now, to be a man, but which is just part of normal human diversity? Could you be gender queer without the need for hormones?

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          • Hi Clare, thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment and for the provocativeness!

            I’m finding your comment difficult to unpack as I’m not sure that anyone can truly say that there is no truth in your statement. It could be completely true and I could be pulling the wool over my own eyes and playing a narrative back to myself designed to convince me that transition is the only solution.

            Looking soberly at the situation, the question I ask myself is “why would you want to transition,” – it is not going to be easy and there is a huge amount of risk and pain attached. It makes no sense whatsoever from many perspectives. I think that if I could avoid it, I would strongly consider it. But many years ago, I stopped thinking of myself as a man and when I spend time as Rhiannon and go out and about in the world, despite the stares and the way I’m exposing my inner most person, the deep joy and peace I feel is overwhelming. It contrasts with the deep sorrow I experience when I’m required to switch back. It may turn out to be the worst possible decision ever, but I have no ability to see my future and so I may have to take the risk to find out…

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            • When I transitioned, I thought that there was a possibility that in five years’ time I would be trying to live male- but my only way to that point was through transition. It was my way to self-acceptance. And- at first being Clare was wonderful, being Stephen normal; then being Clare was lovely, being Stephen a bit rubbish; then being Clare was normal, being Stephen horrible. I know that feeling of sorrow. Only now, fourteen years later, I am again wishing some other route to self-acceptance had been possible.

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  2. Thanks, Clare, I do empathise with your writing, or what I have read of it. Personally I identify as a human being, spouse, parent, evangelical Christian, teacher, trade unionist and Newcastle United supporter (lapsed). I am also transsexual. In many ways I wish I didn’t have to transition to fit in with society’s constructs but it was easier for me to change, than society to change. Not changing either was not an option for me. I’ll not waffle on further: this post is about you not about me, but I did want to let you know that I get where you are coming from.

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    • I am delighted to have you here. Congratulations on your transition, and I am glad you are doing the trade union work you are doing. Spouse, parent, evangelical Christian, teacher: transition is hugely courageous of you, and must have been a long journey. I like comments: I am talking into the dark, and it is good to hear an answering voice. You would not make it about you, simply share your experiences and other ways of seeing the issues.

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