Thinking aloud

Let’s start with the obligatory double entendre. I mean: I’ve only done it about twice already, but its one of those bits of humour which sugar coats a very serious point. Because, yes: the next stage of my transition feels like a very small thing indeed.

Cue voice over: well, after a year of hormones, it probably feels a lot smaller… {sigh}

Yes. It works, sort of, because the “it” in question can apply equally to the next stage of my transition or my penis.

Please stop defining me!

However, after a week in which I have od’d on various bods – from rad fems to psychiatrists who have no first hand experience of transitioning whatsoever – attempting to “explain” or “define” what this thing is…I’m pretty bored of the whole shebang.

First because: not only is there no definitive answer but there almost certainly cannot be. I am infinitely skeptical of the idea that we are going to find some sort of one-to-one genetic correspondence for anything as complex as “being gay” or “being trans” and whether we do, or don’t, so what?

We don’t believe in genetic determinism in any other walk of life: if – please note the importance of that small word “if” – we discovered tomorrow that women or Asians or any other group “tend” towards higher or lower intelligence or manual dexterity or anything…we wouldn’t then demand that every member of that group adhere to their genetic fate. We’d continue to treat them as individuals.

And if we can’t “define” what this trans thing is, we certainly have no good scientific explanation of what causes it to manifest in some individuals and not in others. Not, again, do I believe such a model is possible in any meaningful way.

I am what I am. So is everyone else.

The things they say i am

But still, people continue to theorise about what I am and what I “must” be demanding. I’m some sort of failed or repressed homosexual. Or I’m a gender conservative, obsessed with re-inforcing the gender binary. Some reckon its sexual. Others claim its an attempt to live up to some fantasy.

Only, none of the above feel like they remotely apply. I am on a journey. Behind me is one mode of existence – the male side of the binary – that I have never ever fitted well/at all. I am happier, better adjusted, more productive than I have been before.

I love shopping for clothes and having my hair done: but not in any obviously fetishistic sense. Rather, they are part of my existence now and just fun. Never forget that: sometimes, life is meant to be that.

I am conscious that my very existence causes some individuals – from religious fundamentalists to some species of feminist – a degree of discomfort and where I can, I seek to minimize that. I don’t want to impose myself on groups that would rather not have me and…my experience on the whole has been one of welcome.

A new me

Most women I know seem very comfortable with me: I am even beginning, slowly, to find a niche for myself, which was never there before, dealing with male society.

Many of my old neuroses are gone, replaced by practical considerations – like avoiding drunken blokes on side streets after dark.

I have problems with prejudice, and some of my problems closely parallel the issues that women grow up with. That doesn’t in any way lessen the import of those issues for women – nor, I hope, mean that I am trying to claim the oppression of women as my own. (Nah! The problems I have are both: a reflection of my current status, as well as mimic for issues that afflict some women some of the time).

And its not a big thing. I am very lucky, in having no parents around to disapprove, as well as friends, relatives, work colleagues who are mostly supportive.

Even “the op” – the supposed point of no return is not big. Its only big if you think that I esteem my maleness in any meaningful way. I don’t. Its major surgery, but less big than some, bigger than other: its only blown up into a major thing because of the way society sees it. For me, its just a small adjustment, bringing my physical existence into line with how I am and how I live now.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kathz said,

    I’ve noticed that, while many people are concerned about trans issues in theory, their attitudes usually change for the better when it’s a matter of someone they know. It’s obviously an experience that’s hard to understand for people who aren’t trans and that can cause fear and prejudice. It’s the individual instances that erase prejudice because we don’t actually have to understand in some theoretical way but to respond to the friend who speaks of a particular experience. I think that’s why your blogs are so important. It’s not about “tolerance” which is a limited word but about accepting the great variety of human experiences and getting to know that the world isn’t – thank goodness – filled with “people like us”.

    (I should note that I first came across the phrase “people like us” when I found it was used by a church school primary school headmaster as a code for the sort of pupils he wanted – in that case it meant rich, white, arty and definitely not from the council estate.)

  2. 2

    […] So this is going to say what the last post was meant to – only in plain […]

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