I find myself a bit estranged sometimes when I talk to certain people – trans or not – who have an idea that all trans people are a certain way.
For instance, a lot of trans people “knew” ever since they were very young. Which is fine, except that both non-trans people and some trans people expect ALL trans people to be like that. In fact, I hear in some places you won’t get treatment through social security unless you can prove you were like that.
I also get people generalising experiences like feeling “trapped in your body” to all trans people. I didn’t feel trapped in my body – more like shut out of my body, seeing as my coping mechanism was to disassociate from it.
Someone left a comment on my blog saying that trans people don’t like the label e.g. MtF (Male to Female) because it implies that they were previously male when they feel that they never were male. That annoyed me a bit because I *am* trans and I use that word. I’m not sure if the commenter hadn’t realised that I was trans or if she was implicitly putting it into question. I’ve seen plenty of other trans people use that word, incidentally.
I don’t mind using phrases like “when I was a guy” and so on. Perhaps because I’m fairly relaxed about language, perhaps because I am not SO clear on the idea that I NEVER was a guy – I guess that’s semantics really, as it depends how you define “being a guy”, and also I haven’t always felt my female identity perhaps with the same intensity – at the very least not the same clarity – as other people. Sometimes I’ve felt like a guy. The difference for me is that I *don’t like* feeling like a guy. It feels ugly for me or just out of place.
Perhaps that disqualifies me from being trans? I don’t think so though, because – get this – I want to have a vagina. I think any male-bodied person who wants to have a vagina has a right to call herself trans if she chooses to.
The more I’ve seen of the trans world, the more I know that everyone is different. I think there may be more divergences in our experiences than similarities in some ways. There’s not just one story of what it means to be trans – not by a long shot. And divergence from the popular narrative doesn’t mean you’re not trans. It just means you’re an individual with your own story. If you were born one sex and want to affirm and express yourself as the other, no matter why or to what extent or what that means to you – I think you have a right to call yourself trans and hold your personal story in the same regard as anyone else’s.