Trans and Truth

I had my world-view blown apart. I knew what manliness was, how I should be, what was right and wrong, how the world worked or ought to work. A friend said in her teens she was looking at everything, trying to work out how it fitted, but I was quite sure. And there was this shameful thing which did not fit, so I rejected it. I cross-dressed, but that was not me, or involved in how I understood anything. But it would not go away. It was the loose thread, which I kept pulling, and it turned my world inside out.

The rejection of everything I valued was traumatic. I am lying on the floor weeping, repeating “I am not a man”. There is something I know to be true, even though it contradicts everything which makes me feel safe, even though it terrifies me. “I am not a man”. Then I devoted all my energies to making transition happen.

I find it hard to claim any good quality, but I am learning. I am intelligent. I am expressive. I am good with words. People tell me these things repeatedly, I find lots of supportive evidence, I have come to believe them. One person said, in delighted admiration, “You have fantastic emotional intelligence” and that has stuck with me, and also seems backed up with the evidence. I have emotional intelligence. I would not have believed it, when trying to make a man of myself.

I have difficulty asserting “I am a woman”. I would say, “I am not a man”, “I want to transition”, even “I am transsexual”. “I am Clare”. Possibly I don’t need to say that I am a woman, or believe it, just this is the way I express myself. I fear contradiction.

It was the thread I pulled, and expressing female seems like real me underneath the stifling convention, all that learned behaviour, learned understanding, useless concepts of manhood and virtue. But I have not created an alternative world view, just partial, contingent understandings. And especially while transitioning but also since I have sometimes had the feeling of being completely at sea, having no understanding-

the fact that I sense or believe something is no evidence for or against its truth or falsehood

of knowing nothing at all. It is disorienting, terrifying, nauseating.

In a world where Mr Trump is busy destroying the shared values and understanding of truth, this may be an advantage. These people believe the opposite of me- well, that has always been the case. I know how disorienting it can be to lose Truth as an anchor. Possibilities remain, and you have to be satisfied with that.

And Truth has mattered to me. It is true- transition is right for me. I am trans. I worried away at it- could it just be a fantasy or perversion, but it is not just that. Yet- it is important to me not to need anything to be true- I am a woman!- because it could be snatched from me at any time.

alice-pike-barney-medusa

16 thoughts on “Trans and Truth

  1. Clare, a lot of people will fight you over your womanhood. Hang on to it. Life is what we make it, and we are what we make of ourselves. A belated welcome to the world of women. No idea why you want to join the gender treated as “the lesser sex” but I hope you come to love the ups and downs.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Oops. blame it on Android’s auto correct “feature”. Yes I meant “lesser”. I did realise what you meant. I have to admit, that in the communities I grew up in no one would have thought that females were in any way lesser/weaker/subservient to males. Back when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, there was a huge public campaign that “girls can do anything”. For most of us that seemed obvious. It wasn’t until I was into my late 20s before I realised that women had fewer opportunities than men. It came as quite a shock to me.

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          • Barry, that’s because many people provide lip service to gender equality but don’t follow up with actions.

            I’ve learned every man wants a strong woman by their side, but none that might be strongER. Then she becomes a threat, not an asset. I watched my mother go through that, and my grandma, and had to put my own foot down too when I got married.

            I’m glad you can see it for yourself now. There’s a lot of men out there still claiming women already have enough rights and opportunities.

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            • My wife is Japanese and I had to put my foot down on the first night of our honeymoon. She told me that she would be a good and obedient wife and serve me faithfully. I was flabbergasted. I remember staring at her for a moment before I told her that if I wanted a servant I would have hired one. What I wanted was a partner to share my life with.

              I think you’re wrong about every man thinks a stronger woman is a threat. To be honest I’m not even sure that I understand what is meant by stronger. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Most couples I know (not all of them are heterosexual) have learnt to play off the strengths of each other. The thought that anyone should be subservient to another makes my skin crawl. Perhaps the concept of egalitarianism that flows through the whānau (extended family) and much of NZ society is why I think that way. What I have noticed within the whānau is that the few relationships that have failed are those where one partner has tried to exert control in some way. And on a rough count the genders are equally to blame.

              I’m also baffled by the concept of a wife being an “asset” I thought that disappeared generations ago. Perhaps in a commercial sense it might still be possible to think of someone as being an asset, but in a relationship? No way!

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            • I think you took my words more literally than I meant them.

              Arguing semantics really takes away from the actual point I was trying to make, and that was that women, especially strong women, are not respected or treated well.

              Asset = beneficial to the other person’s life

              Strength = self-discipline, ambition, and emotional stability

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            • I think you took my words more literally than I meant them. Quite probably 🙂

              In very broad terms I agree with you. I think perhaps it was the use of “every man” and “none” that side tracked me. I’ve given what you said some thought, and I’ll concede that my own circumstances are not universal. But absolute terms such as “every”, “all”, “always”, “never” and “none” mean exactly what they say, whereas “often”, “seldom”, “few”, “a great many” or even “most”, if you have to, would have been more accurate and meaningful. Perhaps it was meant to be an exaggeration to make the point, but I didn’t see any indicators that you meant it that way.

              As for “asset”, I’ve never heard it used in that way, but that could simply because of subtle differences in word use between your part of the world and mine.

              The attributes you have associated with “strength” are not those that I would think of first. Attributes such as “compassion”, “tolerance”, “inventiveness”, “fairness” and “openness to new ideas” rank much more highly for me, as it is for those people who have had most influence on my life.

              I’ll grant that Western society as it is currently structured requires the attributes for strength that you describe if one wants to move into positions of power economically, politically or socially. My question is: is that the right way of doing it? Should we mould people to fit society, or should we mould society to better fit its members?

              It’s a pet topic for me, so perhaps I should stop before I tie myself in logical knots 🙂

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            • All of that was prefaced by “in my experience” which means they were never absolute or broadly sweeping to begin with. As I said, semantics.

              We can agree to disagree on the definition of strength. The most compassionate, tolerant and fair people I know are great people, but have difficulty standing up for themselves. To me, that is not strength. That’s going with the flow to avoid confrontation. Compassion and tolerance are feminine, not masculine qualities, as well. Feminine qualities are rarely associated with strength. But that could also be a cultural difference.

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            • I struggle with semantics. It’s not one of my strong points 😦

              There are ways to move mountains without being confrontational. One can be compassionate and tolerant without being a pushover. Think about what you imply when you say “Compassion and tolerance are feminine, not masculine qualities, as well”. That sounds very much like gender stereotyping to me and actually reinforces the attitude you oppose.

              Yes, I guess there are considerable cultural differences between us. What constitutes strength is one of them. Talking about fairness or being able to have a fair go or creating a fairer society will win politicians votes, whereas freedom and liberty will not. They’ll argue for equality of outcomes, instead of equality of opportunity.

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    • It is often treated as the lesser sex, isn’t it? And women are pushed down if they get too uppity. That comes from fear. I am letting go of a lot of my fear. I find my value in personhood, and no-one can take that from me. And thank you for the welcome: this is where I want to be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that has been my experience. My ambition has rubbed many a man the wrong way, even my husband. If he could have his way, I would be content to stay home and serve and support. That’s not a role I want.

        Be a strong woman Clare. You’ll need the strength for this socio-political climate. Drop by any time for chats!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is why your words are so important in the world. I have many friends who are LGBTQIA and the torment they so often go through – even in just their own minds, let alone in the outer world – is so hard. But, there’s strength in numbers and strength in community. Keep using your voice and you will also build that community that loves you for exactly who you are. Because who you are is BEAUTIFUL!! Sending you hugs and love. xo

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