Before I started expressing myself female at work, I would spend all weekend female. On Sundays I went to the Metropolitan Community Church, the church founded to welcome and accept gay people, and after we would go for a drink or a meal together. On the Monday morning I would be presenting male again, and not nice to know. I was stressed and angry.
As a friend said, at first presenting male was normal, and expressing female was Wonderful. Then expressing female was really nice, and presenting male a bit of a pain. Finally expressing female was normal, and presenting male unbearably horrible. Yet letting the man out remained possible. When I saw this video first, it was an excerpt, shared on facebook, and I wondered how someone had just happened to film it- a confrontation between a rude man and a trans woman, without any explanation that it was a “social experiment”. Yet her/his reaction, snapping, responding in a male way is something we will recognise. A friend of a friend living on a council estate was bullied until she turned and beat up one of her tormentors; but being the man again traumatised her.
My friend changed jobs, cities, friends when she transitioned, but had loose ends from her old life to tie up. We were having lunch, and the phone rang.
I’m busy at the moment. Can we talk later?
It was the one time I saw her male self. It was shocking, and seemed aggressively rude.
That video excerpt, without the commentary showing it was staged, seemed staged to me, but it was something I could recognise. Off I went to stay with J, and we would go out round North Wales, and I got a gorgeous evening gown in a sale in Prestatyn, then I would have to put on the male to go to work. I had tried so hard to make a man of myself. That seems to be the alternative to transition- Macho-man, acting what a real man should be, terrified of getting found out and loathing the act, feeling constant anger and fear. Transition was liberation. I finally got to be myself.
I am uncomfortable, now, in the role of “trans woman”. I would rather be otherwise. I wrote this, as a draft blog post:
What did I want from transitioning? What did it achieve for me?
How you see it matters- positive or negative. I have been viewing it negatively, which has dragged me down. Perfectionism and black and white thinking make it worse. What did I gain, or lose, by it?
I saw transition as a sacrifice to buy acceptance. I can’t be like this as a man only as a woman. Then I find that I still have difficulties expressing myself female. Or, I saw at the time that “I am not a transsexual“- I don’t fit the box others have created, I am myself- and yet my transition was pretty much as I saw standard transitioning. Hair removal, hormones, transition at work, gender confirmation surgery, presenting in an entirely binary way as a woman, even if not seen as one but as a trans woman.
That is I did not do it simply to please myself, but also to placate others: I lived up to what I saw society expected of trans women. And that does not work, because it is a cultural expectation or stereotype which does not fit how people actually react, what people want or expect. It is a coarse concept, while interactions with others are ever changing.
My draft is just not how I felt at the time of transition. Nor how I felt when I wanted the operation, when delays and setbacks immiserated me, steps towards Thailand elated me. Possibly there was some unconscious motivation like that- unconscious motivation, I think, making me go against my own interests, as I judge myself all the time. Transition felt authentic and desired, but it could not have been really. I second guess myself- I am back seeing my radical feminist friend, so possibly my unconscious motivation for writing that draft was moving more to her way of thinking. I am thinking this through, and unsure that thinking has any value- you can’t avoid missteps except by not moving, which is worse. Do what you feel you want and learn by your mistakes.
My draft sounds so sincere, so convincing! Except now I am writing the opposite. I am just too confused. I don’t know what I want. Just like when I had aversion therapy. I had two views.
- I have a stressful job. If I want to relax by cross-dressing, it is completely harmless.
- I am a man, and cross-dressing is unmanly, so I should stop.
Either of these seem reasonable to me, but changing between perfect conviction of one, then the other, then the first again, within six or eight weeks, terrified me. It was mad. And expensive, buying clothes and throwing them away. Eventually I managed to buy a gorgeous dress, keep it, but not wear it for a year. Then I started cross-dressing again.
I started on this post thinking of asking you. Well, what are the alternatives to transition? It felt like that macho act is the only one, but can you live like a feminine male? A Beta-male, perhaps? Would you change from your normal appearance, which gives a lot of cis privilege, if there was any alternative? Being Beta-male and quite that feminine was far more frightening than transition, perhaps because transition was the societally sanctioned escape route.
What part does sexual arousal play in this? Would that I could divorce arousal from how I live my life. Would I have transitioned if I had not been aroused by the thought?
I do not know myself. I seek to know myself. It is now the most important thing to me.