It’s now been five years since I started living as female, despite the role I was born into.
There’s not so much to write anymore about the topic. I still have to finish my voice training and hair removal, which are both at a comfortably good stage but need a bit more work. And I still have yet to get genital surgery, and don’t really want to think about how long it will take as it just frustrates me. But these things aside, I have nothing else to do in my transition.
I thought my transition would be “over” when I finally got surgery. And probably that will feel like a release. But right now I kind of already feel like it’s over. I just don’t think about being trans in my day to day life. My friends accept me for who I am, strangers don’t know that I’m transgender and thus can’t reject me for that, and I feel no stress or conflict when thinking about my own identity. When I look in the mirror, I see myself.
I do feel a bit weird about my voice still. I don’t get “clocked” for it, but its sound does vary quite a bit and at times I feel dissociated from it. I’m starting to think, though, that it may be more an issue of me seeing it in a distorted way than anything else.
Apart from that, the biggest internal shift that happened recently which is somehow related to my gender is discovering that I am lesbian and not bisexual. Though it wasn’t nearly as intense as some internal shifts I’ve gone through, I’ve been cycling through a few different emotions related to the topic as time goes on. Sometimes I feel glad that I’m a lesbian, seeing as male conditioning is so oppressive and even “good” men can exasperate me sometimes. Sometimes I feel jealous of people who are actually bisexual, as it’s definitely somehow nice to be able to have different sorts of partners, and I sort of miss the feeling of community amongst bisexuals, such as it is. I often think about wanting to have more lesbians in my life and to get more into the lesbian culture and identity. And so on.
And somehow, the gender you’re attracted you feels almost like a part of your own gender. Thinking I was a women attracted to men feels different from knowing I’m a woman who only likes women. Sometimes, I guess, heterosexual or homosexual attraction has a way of helping one feel confirmed in one’s gender identity. And now I do feel intrigued by this new way of looking at myself. The butch elements of my presentation take on a new meaning (even if I probably count as “femme” by normative lesbian standards – I don’t feel especially femme but yeah).
So being not just a woman but a lesbian woman seems like another step closer to my most authentic identity, and I feel more secure and stable this way.
One issue that I mentioned in my article about being lesbian was that I had an irrational feeling that being lesbian made my gender less valid, or the large number of trans lesbians that exist made trans womanhood in general less valid. Well, I’m starting to see things from a different point of view: lesbians are awesome and therefore, lesbian trans women are awesome too.
An aspect of this that I hadn’t really seen, which I perhaps couldn’t see so long as I was fighting with my own lesbianness, was that this feeling wasn’t just (internally) transphobic, it was (internally) lesbophobic too. If I think lesbianism is normal and good and amazing, why would trans lesbianism be a problem?
It also helped me to read this article which rebuts some transphobic rhetoric that comes from the cis lesbian scene, which I had internalised. Some cis lesbians (the worst ones) think that trans women want to “force” them to have sex with us. As the writer of the article explains, trans women have no interest in having sex with transphobes; in fact we most often have sex with each other, and thus, don’t need cis lesbians. I now feel more comfortable in the knowledge that I can date cis lesbians (the ones who are not assholes, naturally) and don’t worry about scarcity of women to date in general.
That is something I’m still slowly processing, but it seems to be getting better. I think coming to understand myself as lesbian was what removed the block to moving forward with this. I needed lesbophobia to stay in the closet (yes, the bisexual label was a closet for me) and now I can let go of that lesbophobia.
It seems to me that the first few years of a gender transition are one long, long freakout. I’m over the freakout.
In the first years, transgender community is so important, and I even became a little suspicious of hanging out with cis people. That has changed now. It helps of course that the cis people I hang out with are cool, and that the people I meet who are not cool generally do not find out that I’m trans. But in general I have no need of expressly seeking out transgender community; in fact at times I would rather avoid it, as transgender community essentially consists of early-transition trans people, who are still in their long slow freakout. The conversations about early-transition issues stress me out a bit, and of course I’ve heard them all again and again a thousand times. For such conversations, early transition trans people have each other. Perhaps one day I’ll have rested enough and be able to return to the trans community as a wise old mentor, but right now I’m done.
Right now being trans has become what I’ve always wanted it to be: basically unimportant, a sidenote in my history and not a defining feature of it.
And with that, I end an article which at 1000+ words says surprisingly much more than I expected to be able to wring out of this topic. There probably won’t be another article next year, but who knows.