Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seeing Through the Fear

"And now I think I am alive,
And that I see reality,
But the truth behind my mind,
Is your insecurities"
   -- Dub FX, Rude

Fun fact about being trans: I wake up every morning feeling like I must be completely insane.

Maybe I should back up a bit. Stick with me if I wander, please.

I've said before that the reason I like the word "transgender," is that it allows me to continue finding a definition for myself, but this is really only part of the story. While it's true that I don't like to be confined to boxes, the main reason I like the word is that I am absolutely terrified of failure. If labeling myself as transgender has the least specific meaning, then it has the least expectations to live up to.

"Transgender" covers a lot of gender variant groups, most of which I don't identify with, and some of which I don't even understand. It includes crossdressers and transvestites, who often retain some form of identity matching their biological gender, but temporarily take on aspects of another. It includes drag kings and queens, who exaggerate gender cues for fun or entertainment value. It even includes those who like to genderf'ck, mixing cues from both genders in order to break down the social binary.

Though none of the above fit me in any major way, there are other terms that I do identify with, including "transsexual." A transsexual identifies with a different sex / gender than the one they were assigned at birth, and seeks to remedy this by taking steps to change their body to match their mind. Like most things in the trans community, the word transsexual changes its scope and definition depending on who you talk to and when.

Many people want to pin down the meaning of transsexual, and remove it from the transgender grouping, out of fear that the medical community will stop supporting us if they suddenly realize how little GID (Gender Identity Disoder) really follows any rules. Some people want to abandon the term completely, since it seems to imply that this has to do with sex, when in fact there are transmen and transwomen of every sexual orientation. More on these subjects later, I'm sure.

My therapist once asked me as a session was ending, "Would you say you're a woman?"
To which I replied "If I felt free to say anything I wanted, yes."
She told me that I could say anything to her, and I just smiled and left, knowing that's not what I meant, but not knowing how to explain it. What I'd meant was that I was afraid of how the world would look at me if I went around saying how I feel.

This journey has a lot of uncertainty, and though I knew the risks when I began it, this is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. I, who don't do anything without being sure of success, am going through this without knowing how it will turn out. I, who value personal connection and identifying with other people above almost anything else, am risking alienation. I, who have never moved to a better state, out of fear of losing contact with people, am risking burning bridges.

Yet, after waking up every morning with so much self doubt, I still know that this is what's best for me. Why? Because of the excitement I feel with every step forward, that I am finally becoming myself. Because I can see with my analytical mind, that I am not changing myself, I am correcting a wrong. Because I know, though it took me a long time to understand it, that I am female inside.

So please, though I know my body still doesn't fit the part, and it never truly will, forgive me if I call myself a girl. It may sound crazy to you, but it keeps me sane.

1 comment:

  1. This currently make you my only lesbian friend.