Thursday, September 14, 2006

growing up!

I turned 21 last Wednesday, and I pretty much celebrated all week. It's great not to have to be nervous going out to bars anymore or having to mess with a fake ID, especially since my fake ID was from this girl I went to college with. The picture was from January 05, and it was clearly a girl- longish hair, etc. I'd decided that if I were going to use someone else's ID, I might as well use a girl ID because then I could counter any suspicions with "Of course it doesn't look like me! I'm a transsexual!" Which pretty much worked in queer spaces, but didn't fly so well in heterosexual spaces. Though I could never get too annoyed when I got rejected because, after all, it really DIDN'T look anything like me.

It was a different level of nervousness, though, depending on where I was. It was more risky at straight establishments, but sometimes (especially before I started T) they just assumed I was some sort of butch dyke type and didn't give me any trouble. After T and sideburns and voicedropping, the one straight place I tried to go to just laughed.

Queer spaces, on the other hand, were almost more embarassing to go to, because I didn't necessarily want to be outed as trans...if that makes any sense at all. That's one embarassment that is new- now I don't want to show places my real ID because I don't want to disclose my name, etc.

It's a complicated matter, bound up with the fact that I'm consistently read as male now- essentially 100% of the time, especially since my surgery. Now that coming out as trans is in fact a choice, I get more indignent about the moments when my trans status is disclosed against my will, such as when I have to show my ID.

Although as an aside, it's amazing how many folks look at my ID and don't really understand what they're seeing- skip the little F, and ask me questions with unspoken implications: What kind of a name is that[for a guy]? People will follow the cues that are most obvious to them, I suppose.

Anyway, this new landscape is tricky to navigate, because I've got fears on everys side of me. On the one hand I'm (as always) afraid of blending into the landscape and losing my queer identity by being just another guy who's kinda short with kinda scruffy sideburns and a girlfriend. But then I counter that with the reminder that there are plenty of elements to my self and that indelibly mark me as queer, namely my trans(itioning) body when put to closer scrutiny, my queer mindset and mannerisms and my even queerer girlfriend. Which is a relief, but then little elements of that argument start to bore their own holes into my brain. Like the worry that my masculinity will forever be silently belied by the female bits of my body- lately it's my hips that have me sighing at mirrors.

And how fucked up is that, might I add, that as soon as I'm happy with part of myself, my critical eyes swing elsewhere? Now that I don't have to worry about my breasts, I fret about my hips. While I love my chest in my tight black a-shirts, but now glower at my belly as it protrudes from the same. Though that last point is also a reminder that not all of my quibbles with my body are based in my gender identity: my belly is steadily increasing but there's certainly nothing about it that makes me feel less masculine.

I think part of it, too, is that I just don't know how to be satisfied and happy with my body. It's been so long since I was uncritically pleased with myself. Now it's going to take me a while to assemble all of the elements of true comfort inside my skin. My body is different, so I need to re-acquire familiarity with myself. But also I need to just flat out learn what it means to be satisfied with myself as a package. Now that I've dealt with the major sticking points of gender-related discomfort, I can settle in to learn what my body is really all about. I know that I'm supposed to love my body for what it is; now I think it's just about safe to start teaching myself what that means exactly.

So, a goal to be patient with myself. Maybe by 22 I'll be more settled in.

And hey, that's a big reason I wanted to get this transition rolling as soon as I came to the conclusion that it'd be the best thing for me. I wanted to be a guy in my twenties. I didn't want to miss out on being a young man. I guess now I'm missing out on being a young genderqueer (I don't think I ever was really a young woman...I went straight from tomboy kid to babydyke with barely a pause, so I didn't really get a chance to know what being a woman was about. That's an important point, I think- some trans folks tell their stories, or have stories told about them, in a way that describes being a woman, and then becoming a man, or some such. While I think labels like FTM are technically apt and useful/relevant for me, I don't think I ever really was a girl so much as a sort of pre-trans person, and I don't think I'll ever be a man, but a transman. And that idea may require some fleshing out, and it's hard to type the words, but it's true. I'm not going to be a man. I'm a transguy. Uh, I think I owe this parenthetical aside a closing bracket.) but now I can be a vaguely gender variant transguy. Am I talking myself in circles here? Moral of the story: I'm glad I have my 20s ahead of me in which to continue finding myself, a traditional activity to engage in during one's 20s, and I know I can do it so much more effectively now that I've gotten myself to steady ground on the gender front.

1 comment:

CaptLex said...

I feel the same way about being a transman instead of a man. Thanks for the update - and happy birthday! :D