So here are a few more experiences and observations from my current gender transition.
Experience With Transphobia
In general people have been far more accepting of this than I expected. Though a lot of people *do* get wierd about all this, I haven’t been attacked, which was kind of a fear I had since I’d heard the experience of the friend of a friend who got mugged (as I understood, because of transphobia). Sometimes people treat me a little less politely, or slightly wierdly, giving me funny looks. Sometimes, I seem to be treated better, especially by women. I suppose it’s normal that bringing out your feminine side could bring out sympathetic reactions from women.
I think women are generally more comfortable or even happy about transsexual men because they’re used to men being on the “other side” of the Battle of the Sexes, and it must be refreshing to see a man willingly change over to this more disadvantaged side of society. In the same vein, I think some men see this as a kind of trechery, consorting with the enemy or betraying men’s mandate to reign over women. (This seems a bit exaggerated but I think something like this happens on an unconscious level).
As I said, I haven’t had many problematic reactions from people. The first couple of days I got funny looks on the metro, but since then I’ve somehow learnt to blend into the crowd. At the first glance I definitely appear like a woman, without any major inconsistencies, and I think you have to look a bit closer to notice. I think it’s cause I’m now so comfortable and confident in my womanhood, and subconsciously people pick up on that. I’m not sure because I haven’t asked, but I think I’ve had a few longish interactions where I didn’t get found out at all.
The worst reactions have come from my girlfriend’s friends, who are very “normal”.
I purposely filter my friends by being very overt with my nonconformity. Anyone who isn’t okay with nonconformity just naturally finds the exit and disappears from my life, usually without fuss.
However, María José is more covert. She doesn’t really hide anything, but she also doesn’t expressly communicate everything that she is to everyone she meets. (I pretty much do. There is practically no such thing as a secret in my world. Well, you’ve seen how I write in my blog).
I think that’s fine, by the way. I admire how she lives her life and think she does it in a way that’s consistent with her values. At the same time, it’s not for me, which is also fine.
So — María José still has some more or less “normal” friends. There were some amusing, and occasionally not so amusing, happenings caused by that.
The first time María José came out as having a transsexual girlfriend to her friends was at a party she held at her house. I hadn’t arrived yet, and they took that opportunity to quietly freak out about me.
“What shall we say??”
“What will he look like??”
During the party, there was not a single mention of my transsexuality, which is odd considering that they certainly seemed to have found it interesting before I arrived. I introduced myself to everyone with the standard Spanish two kisses. Men normally shake each other’s hands rather than kissing each other. Watching the expression on their faces to my kisses was rather amusing.
Worse was yesterday, where the husband of one of María José’s friends wrote to her saying that he didn’t want me in his house (I’d been there for a “girls’ night” with María José’s girl friends) and that he didn’t want any hint of me in his life. Actually, he referred to himself as “we”. This either means he was trying to be more imposing by pretending to have the support of other guys in that social circle, or that the social circle actually was so sheep-like as to have a homogenous opinion about me. Pretty incredible either way.
I haven’t been very affected by this, because I didn’t read the message, don’t particularly care to be friends with most of these people, and I managed not to take it personally. María José had a very hard time of it emotionally, though.
I’m starting to feel a sense of general exhaustion recently. These last three weeks have been a very sustained effort and of course emotionally very intense too. I’m starting to feel the need to pace myself, go easy on it for a while.
I think for now that means stop being scared of what people will think or whether people see me as a transsexual.
I’m generally pretty good at that, but this time it wasn’t so easy, particularly because I was scared of being actually physically attacked or mistreated, and also because this was something that mattered to me and not just an attempt to screw with people’s minds like a lot of my stunts are.
If I can wake up to the fact that most people just aren’t making that big a deal of me, I think I can maybe then slow down a little and give myself some space to breathe and regain my strength. I think I need that. While I’m very enthusiastic to see this project completed and just enjoy being a woman without all this awkwardness, I think I should be able to relax and accept this step of the journey too.
I put up with being male for 22 years, another year or so of ambiguity can’t be so bad. Besides, I’ve already come really far; a lot of people say I really look like a woman now. So I should be proud of that. <3
The experience of being suddenly, and pretty much unexpectedly, a woman is almost surreal. For this reason I think I still have these thoughts of, “Can I really be trans?”. Well, I have that thought too because I know I have to be sure before taking certain steps, but I’m trying to chill out on that for a while; I know I don’t need to do everything at once and answers will, as always, come in their own time.
One of the things that made me question recently, and have done in the past, is that having an idea of myself as a woman can occasionally feel… humiliating.
And that is such a terrible thing to say. But I think in society we have such a twisted way of viewing women that it’s seen as somehow slightly degrading just to be a woman.
If I look at being a woman through that lens, obviously it’s not such an attractive thing. But I know I don’t have to look through that lens, and becoming a woman is an excellent time to get rid of that. (I know many women, despite it being their own sex, haven’t done so yet, but perhaps doing this change gives me an extra chance to be aware of it).
I’m seeing now clearer than ever that being an awake woman basically forces you to be feminist. There are so many stupid ideas attached to society’s definition of woman. To live as a healthy being, you basically have to be defying people’s expectations at every turn.
My special challenge is to break down my subconscious sexism and find a personal concept of “woman” that contains dignity and unabashed strength on one hand, and unrestrained femininity on the other.
What It Means To Be Female
Since the last post I’ve been pondering what it really means to be female or male. I don’t presume to have an answer to that, though I did come to a metaphor which may help to shed light on the matter, or not, as the case may be.
We have feminine or masculine energy. They are independent of your body or chosen gender. Spirits, by which I mean our non-physical aspects*, have both feminine and masculine energy and can even be roughly classed into “feminine” spirits and “masculine”, though I don’t think they usually have a gender as such.
*This works as a metaphor if you can’t stomach New Age type concepts.
Imagine each of us is a painting. There are many things in the painting, many different aspects of ourselves.
By “aspects” we could mean interests, habits, forms of presenting oneself, and so on. I hope this is understood. Let us continue.
Some of these aspects will be more feminine – let us imagine these to be red. And some of these aspects will be masculine – let us imagine them to be blue. And of course some aspects will be varying shades of purple.
All of us can have both feminine and masculine aspects and that says nothing about our gender whatsoever. It’s common for women to be have mostly feminine aspects and men to have mostly masculine aspects, but the opposite can happen. It’s not healthy or even really practical or possible for anyone to have ONLY feminine or ONLY masculine aspects.
Our gender can be considered to be the colour of the background which all of these aspects are painted upon. For instance a masculine girl could have a red background with lots of blue things encompassed within that space. Or a feminine man could have a blue background with lots of red things within that. A feminine girl would be red on red, and a masculine man, blue on blue.
While you’re free to have as many feminine or masculine things in you whatever your gender is, your gender serves to give a context for that, and flavours it by its contrast or concordance.
I have no idea if this metaphor is accurate but it sounds good.
My biggest challenge I think now is finding out who is this Sophia person anyway.
This is the biggest identity crisis I’ve had in my life. I had false assumptions about who I was for such a long time. Now I have no assumptions, and no real idea of what I am. I don’t have much of a mental image of myself. I don’t have much of a feel for my own energy.
I think… maybe…
I think that Sophia is the sort of girl who likes to laugh and dance. I think she’s absolutely in love with life and loves to express her playful exhuberance.
I think that Sophia is kind of a soft peaceful, earth-mother hippy girl with a leaning into lavish princess-like tendencies as far as style is concerned. I think she really loves to look good and to look in the mirror. I’m trying to let that feel okay. I don’t think there’s anything bad about it.
I think that Sophia is really, really, peace-loving. I think she hates any kind of conflict whatsoever. And I think she might have a hidden ability to console warring sides in a conflict, to bring people together, and to heal wounded souls. I think she’s full of shining energy, very creative and very caring, with a sense of calm purposefulness, but at the same time she’s very rooted and very still. I think she’s in love with Mother Earth, even though she never knew it until now. I think she could hug the Earth and feel herself sink into that energy like a sweet and profoundly nurturing death.
I think she also loves to fly. I think she’s one of the freest people I know. She’s beautiful in her freedom.
I think she also loves children and wants to be a playful joyful mother of a gaggle of kids in a polyamorous commune.
She’s creative and loves to write and do art and create businesses. She’s very intelligent and spiritually aware and powerful. She doesn’t worry about making men insecure with that. The guys who have a problem with that are the ones who need to be shaken up a bit. She’s rather feminist, actually.
Within her peaceful energy lies a revolutionariness that’s set to change the world. The peacefulness makes it even stronger as there’s nothing to prove and no-where to go; it’s almost inevitable in quality. She has ideas and expresses them. She inspires others to change, inspires others to love, and leads the way by changing herself and expressing pure and authentic love.
She combines strength and tenderness, love and power, self respect and a tender vulnerability that is her feminine core. She aspires to be there for everyone who needs her and not let anyone feel alone or rejected as she once felt.
I think Sophia is far more tender and soft than she ever admitted as a man. At the same time, I think she’s one of the strongest people I know, and one of the largest non-physical presences I know that’s incarnate.
This is who I think Sophia is now. I think I will learn much more about Sophia in the coming months and years. Actually, I think it will be when I really know who I am, that I’ll know I’m ready to take the first irreversible steps in my gender transition.
Being Beautiful Because I Want To Be
As a woman, I’ve suddenly found myself caring about my appearence. It’s not true that women do this just because they “have” to. As a part of my newly discovered gender, and perhaps also as a result of being able to look at myself comfortably in the mirror now due to reduced gender dysphoria, I find myself doing it very naturally.
I often find myself brushing my hair and doing my makeup even though I’m having a night alone in my house. It just feels good, in some way that’s almost indescribable for me, perhaps because I’m so un-used to it.
At the same time as I’ve discovered this impulse, as a woman I’ve also come under more pressure to be attractive from the outside. I suppose it’s normal to confuse these two things.
I have a very strong disdain for anyone telling me how I should look or whether I look good enough or not. I like beauty but I don’t care for fashion.
However, the way people see you can be a feedback for how you see yourself, if you filter it right. It’s like everyone who surrounds you is a walking mirror. So you want to make some special effort to look good before you go out.
I’m learning to filter new influences now, having to learn a new set of what I do and do not like. There’s a lot of messages directed towards women that I don’t know what to do with.
I know I don’t want to pick up the sort of insecurity women can get because of societal influences. I don’t want to fall for “you’re not beautiful enough” or “you need to buy more products or be more of a submissive masochist to be beautiful enough”. But, I do want to be beautiful, and I know that’s a pure desire in itself, and has nothing to do with external influences.
Not Caring About Passing As A Woman
I mentioned this before but I want to stop caring so much about people seeing me as a transsexual now.
I’m chilling out a bit and seeing people don’t make that much of a big deal of me as I’d like to think. I feel a bit safer.
I’m seeing that I, personally, can feel fine with the idea that people see me as a transsexual. I feel uncomfortable if I have anything about me that really doesn’t fit into a female persona, but that’s just my personal gender dysphoria, mostly, I think.
I’m realising that what matters to me is to feel like a woman, and insofar as I want to care about what people think about me, what matters is that they see me as a woman. They can also see me as a transsexual. That doesn’t matter; so long as they see me as a woman, first.
The more I’m comfortable with this the more I think other people are comfortable with this.
A friend of mine told me something interesting which she heard in theatre school.
Her teacher had told her, “people look at the places where you maintain your consciousness.”
So if you’re very conscious of one part of the body, people will look at that. If you’re very conscious about being transsexual, people will look at that.
Since hearing that I’ve been endeavouring to maintain my awareness in my sense of myself as female. It’s very easy to find that energy and rest in it. When I look in the mirror, I try to see and feel that energy rather than focusing on details like how maybe my face’s contours are a little masculine. When I’m really feeling my feminine essence, all those details fade into the background and become irrelevant.
It amused me to get interest from heterosexual men on OKCupid recently. I’ve also had slightly flirtatious interactions with men I’ve met in shops and so on. It seems to me a strong proof that I’m connected with my female essence that I can attract straight men like this. Some of my other relationships have transformed too, that is some people have become less attracted to me and some more, depending on their gender preferences (and my own attraction has generally changed to reciprocate that).
This is what feels best to me: to lose awareness of details and focus on, live in, that overall sense of female-ness. It feels very comfortable and very joyful. Now I need to let go of any remaining nervousness and really release myself into this experience, really enjoy it and be one with it.
Then maybe I’ll discover who is Sophia.