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August 2, 2012

The Standard Trans Narrative



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.


Related:

The Myth That All Trans People Know They Are Trans Since About Age 3 Or 4

Sex Change

Transsexual Perspective

Transsexual Facebook Updates

More Gender Transition Experiences

Tolerance

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7 Comments

  1. Nathan says:

    Agreed 🙂
    After I realised my real gender at age 23, I got a lot of shit from people I came out to ¬¬ Neither the doctors nor my family believed me, because in their opinion _all_ trans people know it from as soon as they can talk…

  2. Gwen says:

    My ex-gf is mtf and she is actually fine with her fully functional male parts… she never intends to get any surgeries or anything. I guess my point being- wanting a vadge can make you trans, but not wanting one doesn’t negate it either 🙂

    • Sophia Gubb says:

      True, I also thought about that after making the post.. the vagina bit is intended to make a point, but nothing more. Really I think anyone who calls themselves trans has a right to call themselves trans. Who could possibly know better than themselves?

  3. Tina says:

    “I think any male-bodied person who wants to have a vagina has a right to call herself trans if she chooses to.”

    I LOL’ed at that one. I think it’s pretty true and I don’t understand why all the gatekeepers need more info than that. Also for me it’s a bit different: I don’t want to have a vagina, I feel that I have one and of course I want a body that reflects the feeling that I have of my body.

  4. janelle says:

    I agree with what you say here and in your other post on the myth of knowing since you were very young. Although I cross dressed intermittently from my teens, purging and giving into my ex wife’s demands that I not cross dress for the sake of our marriage along the way, I didn’t have the courage to admit to myself that it was more than some “hobby” or “kink” until in my 40’s.

    I began my transition a few years ago and started living full time as a woman almost 2 years ago at the age of 46. I can honestly say that I have never felt happier or more comfortable in my own skin. has that erased any other problems I might have had? Of course not, but I definitely feel my life has vastly improved as a result of transition. I, too, want a vagina, but I’m not sure it is the only or main thing that makes me transsexual. I think only a trans woman would want to give up male privilege and live as a woman. Likewise, making the decision to modify your body with hormones or anything else (including FFS, etc) might be an indication of being a trans woman. Maybe there are no one set of criteria. Instead, what might be some indications?

    In other words, you might be transsexual if…

  5. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this entry, I completely relate.

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