Here is a journal entry of mine dated 17th February 2013. It’s not edited for public consumption, and some of the bits are written in language that only I will understand. But I thought that for those who are going through the same questioning process as I went through, it could be a useful resource. If you have any questions feel free to post a comment.
Doubts. And looking rationally at them.
Note: I came back to 7A repeatedly. A large part of it was written after I had done points up to 13.
1. Could I be gender-fluid?
– I do seem to be a little. But I am sure I am at the very least more a woman than a man. And I have felt comfortable and congruent – mostly – all year.
2. What about the incongruencies?
– They were mostly slight and I think I have explanations for them. Even if I kept having them all my life, it wouldn’t be so bad. It seems pretty sure that with time to grow into my new identity, and with the effects of hormones, I will have less.
3. What about when I felt like a man after living a bit more like a man?
– I felt more disconnected from myself, I think. Even if I didn’t –
– A. When I live like a woman and am percieved like a woman, I never feel like a man. I wouldn’t have any problems if I did transition. The most fanciful possibility is that I could possibly not need to transition.
– B. When I was living as a man, when I was aware of the possibility of being trans but not living as a woman, I had occasional bouts of really wanting to be a woman, longing to be a woman. At most I felt comfortable being a man. But I have never longed to be a man or enjoyed being a man like I’ve enjoyed being a woman. That is for sure.
4. What if being a woman doesn’t heal the disconnection I have from my reflection as I thought it would?
– A. thinking about that more clearly, I don’t see any chance of that. At the most conservative, it’s impossible to deny that at the very least a LARGE part of my disconnection came from being male.
– B. Today (17th) I felt really identified with who I was in the mirror. Compare to a few days ago when I felt shocked to be me. The difference was in seeing myself as female. I’m sure of it.
5. What about when I told Gully I wanted to protect her?
– A. You don’t need to be a man for that. I probably interpreted it from my masculine-identified frame. But you could just as easily call that “butch” or not even call it anything.
– B. It may be I changed a little. (For sure I believed I was a man. So I’m sure certain expressions were more likely to surface). And it’s okay if I changed. The risk of changing back will never be zero, but I think it’s currently pretty sure that it’s small enough to be worth the risk. And I can indeed be a butch woman.
6. What about enjoying using my penis?
– That doesn’t mean I’m not trans. And – while I’m almost certain I do want a vagina – the choice to operate will come later.
A. What if I can’t get erect after hormones?
– I’m pretty sure that will be fine, even good. If it’s not… and that’s a tiny chance – it won’t be so bad.
7. So basically: do I want to be male now?
A. Could I want to be male in the future?
-That’s the big question isn’t it? The answer seems to be no, by all evidence.
– A. I have been comfortable at times as male and at times even seemed to like it (though I even question that). But I have longed to be a woman. And I have never longed to be a man.
– B. I think the change in identity has been to do with discovering a deeper part of myself, and not to do with gender-fluid change, or not much to do with it. Having a stable identity for one year seems to indicate that.
The fact that I seem happier and more at peace now, too.
The fact that I feel disassociated with my male pictures, with male-looking reflections in the mirror, but associated with female-looking reflections definitely points that way.
The fact that I always used to feel uncomfortable with myself and disconnected from myself points that way.
The fact that I never loved male clothes but absolutely love female clothes points that way.
The fact that I find my hairyness disgusting points that way.
The fact that I feel so different, those days when I cover up my beard shadow with foundation, points that way.
The fact that I see myself in my female image, but not in my male image, points that way.
C. With this in mind, what is the probability, as far as I can tell, of this being a deep realisation of who I am and not a gender-fluid change?
I. Note, I do not see any other possibility for me not being a woman than this being a gender-fluid change rather than a self-realisation. So this answer is key.
– Most of my incongruencies were in the early stages of my transition and seemed to have to do with my fear of what people would think, and my own self-judgement (latent transphobia). I think this explains most of the times when I felt uncomfortable with my new identity. I was not uncomfortable due to me being a man.
– I also felt incongruent due to how people percieved me.
– One year of not feeling like a man seems to be a good indicator of the future. I only have another 70 or so years, optimistically speaking. So this is a considerable proportion of my whole life. And I’ve been fine as a woman.
– I have never made a life decision before that wasn’t true in some way for me. Even the decision to be 100% raw, which didn’t work out, did have a large basis in my true self / my true desires. So I don’t have a history of fooling myself. Not on such fundamental issues, I mean. (I have showed myself up many times, but never on something that mattered so much to me).
– Why would I not want to be a woman? – No real reason I can see. We are of course dealing with the strange possibility I could want to have a penis again in future after inverting it. That doesn’t seem likely. Being a woman doesn’t restrict me in any of the freedoms that matter to me. (Except some travel locations, but that’s not such a big deal in comparison to most of the reasons I do want to be a woman).
– Could I be gender-fluid?
– No. I don’t think that what I have is something that can change. I think the nature of what I have now, already contains its permanence.
– I have had times when I secretly longed to be a woman all my life.
When I said that thing to Boxi; when I was a woman on videogames because it felt good; when I secretly enjoyed Ranma 1/2 a little *too* much.
That’s all my life, meaning I’m not genderfluid if those experiences are to have any meaning at all.
Think: how certain am I they have meaning? Take your time on this question.
– I do think I was discovering and uncovering an urge I had kept covered. As such, I wasn’t merely discovering a gender-fluid essence.
– If I were gender-fluid, it would have happened without my control – at least, you would expect so sometimes. As it was, my choice to live as a woman, uncovered my ability and desire to feel like a woman.
– Does it even make sense that I could have been gender-fluid? One day I try being a woman and I love it. Where is the fluidity there?
Reverse this. Simply ask, does it even make sense to be questioning whether I could be gender fluid? And, if it doesn’t, we have our readiness to move forward.
8. What about people seeing me as male?
That means nothing. Lana Wachowski has people seeing her as male. There is not a drop of male blood in her.
A. What about whatever gesture or sound I do seeming male?
Trans folks all deal with that. It doesn’t mean they are male. In some ways, I seem to be more female naturally than many. My gestures have always been feminine, for example, if I let them flow.
9. Ah yes – couldn’t my gestures mean I’m just queer? Or even, would all men do them if they weren’t oppressed?
Unlikely. For all the reasons mentioned above it seems I am not a queer man. When I don’t attempt to be cis, I have no middle ground – I become a woman. The gestures seem to be yet another marker of my identity. Not infallible on their own, but one of many indicators.
10. – Worth mentioning.
When I imagine myself as a cis guy, I feel disconnected from the thought. When I try to be a non-cis guy, I see no limit to my femininity within the bounds of maleness – no place where I’d stop and say, “OK, now I’m feminine enough.” If I don’t try to be a cis guy, and let myself be as feminine as I like, I become a woman – there is no middle ground for me.
A. Could I want to be a cis guy?
– No way.
B. Like seriously?
– OK, let’s try – once again – to take this question seriously.
– What would I wear? How would I hold myself? I feel just fake imagining it. I feel horrible thinking of it. I do not want to be male.
– It is absolutely clear that right now I want to be a woman. The only doubt there has been for a long time is if I could change later somehow.
11. So I have to let go of who I used to be, who I used to think I was.
– Yes. This process shouldn’t hold me back from my self-understanding though. It will happen in its own time.
12. But I’m scared of being discriminated against!
– Sure, but you always decided that social pressure was not going to hold you back from being yourself – not ever. And you inspire people with that.
Don’t let your fear hold you back from self-understanding. You can deal with the fear in your own time.
13. What if it’s not worth the effort? E.g. I could be happy as a guy and don’t need to go through this?
I could be happy as a guy. But why would I be one? And I’ve invested enough in this already. I know this kind of self-care is worth the effort. The benefits show themselves to be almost certainly worth the effort. I will love being a woman.
Just to not be discriminated against, it’d be better to transition than to stay where I am. And I don’t feel like going back.
14. I’m scared of – or otherwise attached to – what my parents would think.
Be aware of that, let it resolve itself in its own time, and in the meantime don’t let it distract you from your own truth.
Do I want to transition? Yes.
Could I be okay with being a man? Probably not. But I want to transition for sure. So, let’s consider that question done with.
Could I later want to change back and regret transition?
It feels like by asking that question I’m invalidating my own feelings. My feelings are that I am a woman and always will be, at least in this incarnation. Does it even make sense to ask it?
Let’s turn the question around.
Do I feel that my womanhood is an integral part of who I am, something that’s not going to change in this lifetime?
Do I want to be – not just a woman, but a woman immutably?
Would I enjoy the power to never have my womanhood taken away from me, ever again?
16. Why did I ever think I could be gender-fluid?
– There doesn’t seem to be any logical basis for such a thought. Maybe because of the inconsistencies I felt at the beginning, when I was still uncomfortable with my identity, with how people percieved me, and so on.
– I think I might be very slightly gender-fluid, or capable of being. This doesn’t change anything significantly though. And these changes did seem to have to do with people’s perceptions of me. I am more stable now. So.
– Is there any other reason I think I could possibly be gender-fluid rather than what I think I am?
– Is it more likely than what I’d expect for most trans people, the majority of who experience no regrets?
– I thought I could be gender-fluid because I spent so long not knowing who I was, and I thought it was so strange that maybe I *became* a woman rather than always having been one.
– A. About half of the trans people I met didn’t always know. For many people, they spent a MUCH LONGER time not knowing. E.g. Tina.
– B. If they didn’t know, and this doesn’t mean anything for them, why should it for me?
– C. That 50% is included in the large proportion of trans women who have no regrets.
– D. But I didn’t *become* a woman. I had wanted to be a woman all my life. I just buried the thought. That seems quite clear by now.
– I. It seems that I used to think that I was creating my gender. But that was wrong. I was uncovering it. So I guess that’s why I thought that maybe… well, that I was creating my gender and that it could turn back.
– II. If I had such power, then I would have the power to not end up feeling like a man and regretting transition.
– E. So, well, it seems like my old fallacy was wrong. I have always been a woman. I didn’t make myself a woman, I just uncovered it. My gender didn’t “change”. And so it’s unlikely it will change.
– I. How sure am I with that statement?
– II. Very sure.
17. So is there any logical reason to continue questioning if I might be gender fluid? (Note difference between asking if I am gender-fluid. With this question, I ask if there is a validity to the question of gender-fluidity).
– Well, OK, so there is the pragmatic reason to be sure I’m not genderfluid.
– A. OK, but is there any other reason to think I could actually be? Any tendencies I’ve seen? Any desires for goals that could only be achieved as a man? Any attraction to manhood whatsoever? Any memory of being attracted to manhood before?
– I. Memory? Good question. I know I fooled myself a lot about my gender. But already when I was getting with partners I was feeling my femininity. When I tried to be masculine, I actually had no success with girls. And maybe that’s because I couldn’t stand the role I was putting myself into with them.
– II. I remember obsessing about masculinity, thinking it’s what I should be, thinking about masculinity, but not much about really enjoying it or being it. At most there was the sparring, which I see now as closer to a dance – femininity. Also, masculinity and femininity doesn’t mean gender. I can be a butch woman.
– III. I think it’s fair to say that when I was into masculinity culture, I was absolutely fooling myself. People then sometimes even saw through my guise and thought I was queer. (And I’m sure plenty more thought that without telling me). So there you go.
– IV. I have never really, genuinely enjoyed being a man. I have tried to be a man, obliged myself to be a man. Never enjoyed it.
– V. I do remember feeling that not having a penis would make me feel vulnerable. I think I felt that.
– V-1. But I think that if I didn’t fear vulnerability – a conditioned fear – then I would enjoy it as femininity, as I do now.
– V-2. That doesn’t seem like a valid reason to believe I used to be “really” male.
– VI. I always remember my true self being rather gentle, soft, uncomfortable with agression. I liked flowy things – such as I express now with both my hair and my clothing. And gentle, non-rough voice, graceful movements, etc.
– VII. Not to mention I’ve always been a woman.
– Anything else? Do I really think I could change who I am?
– A. I am changeable.
– I. But not in this. I have found a fundamental part of myself, just as with veganism. If I ever change veganism it won’t be because I think it’s OK to treat animals as feelingless. That can never change. And I think my gender is another immutable part of me.
– No. I have always been soft and flowy. I have always been better expressed as a woman than as a man. I have always longed to be a woman. I have never enjoyed being a man. I LOVE being a woman and always will.
– A. My love of cute, frilly clothes will never change.
– I. And my womanhood has been known to me ever since I knew of that love. I can’t concieve of simply being a crossdressing man. I am not one. I am a woman. The love of the clothes doesn’t prove it, but I can’t de-attach that love from my womanhood. And as I know I will always love them, I know I will always be a woman.
– I was wrong about being a man before. I was wrong thinking that I constructed my gender. I was wrong thinking that I could be gender-fluid.
– Most trans people don’t go to such lengths as me to disprove this possibility (or so I think). Why am I personally making such a big deal about it?
– Back to a previous point. I am not genderfluid if my old longings to be a woman were real. Because I have no longings to be a man now.
– I am not gender-fluid.
18. I dislike how some percieve me as less dignified as a woman, or how my own conditioning might still suggest that.
– So fight it. That’s what you are here for. In the meantime, don’t let the discomfort take away from your truth. The feeling of being less dignified isn’t the same as not wanting to be a woman. It’s wanting to solve that unnatural, wrong feeling.
19. I used to think I might be doing this as a crazy stunt and not really feeling it.
That thought is obviously wrong now. My womanhood is much more sure than it was to me before.
20. In a similar vein, a lot of my old doubts are just outdated.
If I am not genderfluid, I am sure I want to transition.
I am not genderfluid because –
– I have the sense that my womanhood contains in itself a quality of immutability.
– I identify always having had longings for womanhood, even if I covered them up.
– I have always felt flowy and soft and gentle. (I think the exact quality that I was looking for was womanhood, but as I couldn’t admit that to myself, I focused on aspects of it.)
– I did not create my gender when I began living as a woman, I uncovered it.
– Being a woman explains a lot about me.
– I have never had similar urges to be a man as I have had to be a woman. I have never enjoyed manhood like I’ve enjoyed womanhood. I have never said, “being a man is so great!”
22. Summary summary.
I am a woman. I am not gender-fluid. It is worthwhile and low-risk for me to go ahead with transition.
I should stop doubting myself.
All of this is doubting myself.
I should trust what I feel.
Things were crazy at the start. So much inner resistance. So much confusion. I was fighting against my own internalised transphobia. And my resistance to being who I am.
Now that’s done.