I’ve never quite believed that “the devil has all the best tunes”: on the other hand, some of the more interesting critique of any issue can often come from “the other side”.
So, a few weeks back, i gained (briefly) a critic. A transgender individual who had started down the transitioning route and found it not for them. They write scathingly about how, when the novelty wears off, you are just an ordinary middle-aged woman. The attention stops. You are no longer a focus of sexual interest (!). So at that point transsexuals turn back, realising they can never be a “real woman”.
That, they wrote, is why blogs like these peter out after a bit…because people lose enthusiasm.
An alternative perspective came from a couple of women i very much respect. One – who means a lot to me, because she helped me decide to start this journey – will not friend me on facebook, because she has moved on. She is now a woman: has put her previous life behind her; and feels that too much association with the trans world is a backward step.
I get that, though its sad she won’t be in my life.
Another, who has also been all the way through this process, warns me that i may regret being so open. That once i am through, i may wish to put my past aside, and move on. She may be right: i think she isn’t. We’ll see.
Why? I am aware i have had a media boost by being openly transgender. It does put me in the spotlight slightly and already i am developing a slight irritation at being used as the obligatory “tame tranny” whenever a trans perspective is needed.
On the other hand, i was a high profile person before all this. I can’t cut myself off from my past, and don’t especially wish to. I have always sought to make my life a unified whole, not hiding bits from people, and i dislike having internalised stuff: secrets.
I am who i am, and that includes a less than satisfactory past.
Which brings me to the essential, or rather “essentialism”, which a third friend introduced me to at the weekend. I was saying how i felt so much more at ease now, but worry slightly that i don’t quite fit the official script.
I am living a female life – whatever that is: though the most important bits of that life are the way i can now live openly, mix more closely with other women socially, be accepted that i don’t think i ever could, no matter how “feminine” a bloke i ever became. That bit is like joining a club, and it is wonderful.
Surgery? That is about making me whole: having the body that fits who i am.
Beyond that, i don’t have much time for people talking about how i might “be” a woman, or “have been” a bloke, although i understand i am supposed to make all manner of claims on that front.
Which is where the essentialism comes in.
My friend explained it as the eternal battle between those who like the world boxed up into neat categories (essentialists) and those who live happily with fuzziness (non-essentialists).
I am firmly in the latter camp. I am what i am, and don’t seek specific labels. OK: it is nice to be greeted as “Ma’am” – but non-essentialism means never having to say sorry (for being inconsistent)!
And that brings me back to the start. I don’t think i can possibly engage the critic in dialogue, because they start from such a different place. This is not about becoming anything. Its about living my life as it should have been.
Its certainly not about being the centre of attention. Much less about getting sex, no matter how exotic. I am starting to get tired of “explaining” how i got here…and that’s about that. For now.
I think i’ll get back to this again later, as it feels like something important to me.