Friday, July 23, 2010

Blending in, For Better or Worse

"I'm just a face in the crowd,
Nothing to worry about,
Not even trying to stand out;
I'm getting smaller and smaller and smaller."
 -- Nine Inch Nails, Getting Smaller

I've been passing a lot lately, which is nice. Everywhere I go, I get "miss"ed or "ma'am"ed by strangers, including on the phone and voice chat (which was my original voice goal- w00t)! I'm so happy to be talking online again, even if I still get nervous that I'm talking too much, or that I may slip back in to my old voice when I get excited.

Passing is pretty important to me, mostly because I like being able to blend in. Being perceived as female also means that I don't get harassed in bathrooms, and puts the control of when, how, and if I tell people I'm trans in to my hands.

I once read an interesting question: "If you were the only person left in the world, would you still need to transition?" My answer would be a definite "no." To me, transition is an act of moving from one social box to another. If I were the only one left in the world, I wouldn't need to fit in to either box, but I'd still look/talk/act a lot closer to how I do today than how I did two years ago.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that is very focused on the gender binary. I've learned to walk a fine line, as I think many people do, between what's truly me, and what's societally acceptable for my gender. The difference between trying to do this as a male, and trying to do this as a female, is that I feel much more comfortable now.

Over the last year, and especially the last few months, I've continually tried on new aspects of appearance, personality, speech, etc. I try a trait to see if it feels like me, if it's passable, if it's sustainable, then I either adopt it, or toss it in the bin. I like to think that I'm speed-learning the things I may have learned growing up, had my life been a little different. I also know, of course, that I have a long way to go, and that my presentation will always be improving.

It's interesting, all the subtle differences in how strangers look at me and talk to me since I've started presenting as female, but there are two changes that stand out the most.

First, people open doors for me everywhere I go.

And second, random people give Erin and me dirty looks at the slightest sign of PDA. Erin has no problems with it, but it's taken me a long time to get used to. Of course, when I appeared male, nobody had any problem with us. Now, the only thing that's really changed is my appearance, and suddenly they don't approve. If they only knew. >=D

Showing my ID is also getting more and more awkward. Sometimes I warn people that "it's the wrong gender". Most people just furrow their brows a bit and move on, but a few weeks ago at a bar, the server declared "This isn't you."
I replied that it was indeed me, though "I know I looked a little different with the goatee."
"Oh. It is you."
Of course, the fun part was then explaining the confusion to the friends of friends I was with.

I've started figuring out all the paper work for a legal name change. (Thanks Dexter for helping me out!) The first step is to get certification from the sex offender registry that I'm not in it. From there, I basically just fill out a whole bunch of forms, and schedule a court hearing. I'm excited, because it will take a lot of worry and hassle out of life, but at the same time, I'll miss those opportunities to bring attention to my trans status.

I feel like I'm reaching a turning point. Just as I'm learning to like identifying as trans, and beginning to consider how much I have to offer the T community, even just by being out and being me, I can also see how easy it would be to put this behind me and be a "normal" girl. I can understand why a lot of transsexuals choose to move to a new place and start a new life. Even though I knew from the beginning that I couldn't do that, I don't blame them in the slightest.

Personally, I hate keeping secrets about myself, and I'll probably always be out, but how active I want to be as an advocate is a question I've yet to answer.

1 comment:

  1. Once you're over the paperwork hump it's all easy breezy downhill from there on out. :]