I am both a man and a woman, masculine and feminine, male and female.
Of course I understand the disgust- I feel it! The reason we do not associate with each other is that we remind us of ourselves! Like that woman at the showers- hair hanging straight down to the shoulders, as far forward as the edge of the eyes, fringe covering the eyebrows, some sort of 1960s hippie dress in Autumn colours, high neck mid calf long sleeves- the voice was well-practised, light, above the break, and instantly recognisable as trans.
She was as careful not to offend as a whipped dog, and no-one comfortable in their own skin would have been bothered. I felt disgust and pity, and it was because she reminded me of me.
Be fully and completely yourself. Of course you are not responsible for how people react to you! You should not alter yourself to avoid intoxicating others with lust or rage, disgust or pity. I do nothing else. It is an impossible trick to pull off- in a room of three people, there is no sweet spot which will make all of them love, or merely tolerate, me, and usually they do not care all that much. I cannot fit one Procrustean bed, leave alone several at once, and yet I still try. Without knowledge I try to predict others’ reactions, and get it wildly wrong, or forget myself and become embarrassed. Embarrassment is my constant state.
No woman would dress like that. We are not, really, like women, we are ourselves. I want to show extreme soft femininity, and there are other ways women show that. I show weakness. Creeping about in fear, shame and embarrassment increases those feelings. Self-consciousness disempowers.
Letting go of this burden means ceasing to judge my own actions as “manly”, “feminine”, “provocative”, even “weak”. There is the desire, and the judgment opposing it, as I tie myself in knots. The answer is to affirm my choices. Ah, that is my feminine side. This is joyous strong Manhood. I cannot be consistent, or sensible, or womanly, as my self-censorship is incapable of judging these things, either too restrictive or too permissive. That hippie dress is a trans woman’s dress, even if a cis woman might get away with it.
One way is to delight in the condemnations my inner critic throws at me. That is self-indulgent, or selfish, or ridiculous, or cowardly. Well- Yes! Hooray! It is what I want! How could I ever fail to be ridiculous?
I saw my friend dying in hospital, and before that I saw her in conversation, staring downwards, occasionally glancing up to meet my eyes then looking down again. “I’m tired of living and scared of dying,” she said. She had been an Elder then was driven out of her church. Of course it was better for her, expressing female rather than presenting male, or she would not have done it, and it had huge cost, to try to find a trans-woman’s way of being, experiencing the real and imagined dislike of others.
Or there was the educated woman with a less-educated partner who objected to the long words she used. By the time she escaped him she only used words of one syllable.
I cannot win their tolerance. They might not want me to try. I cannot find some rule, some pre-formed way of being that will keep me safe- not “being a man”, not mere transition, not something else. All I can do is be myself and trust in God. But then, I have been practising this, and getting better at it, for years, so encourage myself, and express it better.