More on Transgender Socialization

Connie responded to the Cyrsti’s Condo post on transgender socialization with a look of her own:

“It’s true, at least in my case, that living a gender-dichotomous life has required a different sort of socialization. My experiences have been three decades ahead of Ms Tanenbaum’s, and, as such, included even more of a self-induced socialization – especially during my formative years. Society was largely black and white on gender in the 50s and 60s. In those days, if one displayed behaviors that did not strictly adhere to society’s expectations, they would probably be labeled homosexual. As much as I wished I were a girl, I was more afraid of being seen as a gay boy. From what little I knew (or thought I knew) of gay people at the time, I was absolutely certain that I didn’t fit that mold – certain most of the time, that is. I often contemplated the possibility that I was, but would dismiss it because I was attracted to girls. But, then, I would wonder whether I were only attracted to girls because I wanted to be like them, or that I wanted to be “with” them.

Perhaps, the bigger question would be: If I were like them, would they still want to be “with” me? In real life, I was socialized male by default. In my own secret fairy tale life, I was astute enough to the socialization of the girls that I could appropriate femininity any time my male-self was not in demand.

There were so many times that I would come home dead-tired from football practice, but become completely regenerated by the chance to express my feminine-self when I knew nobody else would be home for an hour or two. Looking back on it, football was my release, while abandoning all male expectation in favor of my female-self was my relief.

Eventually, long after my football days, it was becoming dead-tired of just meeting male socialized expectations, at all, that led me to a more-feminine socialized existence. Inasmuch as “trans socialization” is being used as an argument against certain feminists’ accusations that male socialization invalidates a trans woman’s actual womanhood, I’m not sure it’s enough to change their minds. 

Personally, I’m not really concerned, anyway. For those who would judge me more by how I got here than by who I am now, I have no time for wasting. I had already wasted enough valuable time judging myself the same way.”

Thanks for the comment!

Non Binary Gender Discussion

 This comment on considering yourself “non binary” or not, comes from Connie:

“I know that I am not non-binary, and never have been. I have purposely lived toward either end of the gender spectrum for nearly seventy years, but never felt comfortable anywhere in-between. For those who are wanting to find comfort there, I can only imagine how difficult that might be. Of course, I absolutely know how difficult it has been for me to live as either a man or a woman, but I have always tried to be as unambiguous about it as I could be; people can usually conclude my gender by my presentation (whether they accept it, or not, is a different subject). To be non-binary in one’s gender (or genderless) identity, though, can only be made known to others by declaration.

Non-binary people don’t necessarily present themselves ambiguously or as androgynous. Some can be easily perceived by the average person as decidedly binary. As difficult as it may sometimes be for a binary trans person to project their true gender identity, non-binary people cannot rely on their presentation for others to see them as they see themselves to be. Mis-gendering must be a constant problem for those who see themselves as neither he/him/his or she/her/hers. They/them/theirs would have to be conveyed in some way other than physical presentation, anyway.

Somewhere between gender binary and gender non-binary, there are those who consider themselves to be bi-gender, or even pan-gender. Others may still be gender questioning. The only thing we can be sure about, then, comes from the adage: If you’ve met one trans person, you have met one trans person.”

Perhaps the difference comes with the younger generation. Several of the ones I have met recently have steered clear of the “transgender” label.  But as I said, a label is just a label. 

Damn Dysphoria

Yesterday we had a visitor to the house to finally fix our cable television. Turns out third time was a charm since the system seems to be working fine this morning.

In advance of the technicians arrival, I had to decide how I was going to prepare. Since I was going to be wearing a mask for safety, I reasoned I could take the easy way out and just apply a touch of eye make up. Which turned out to be fine since the person who fixed the system didn’t seem to look at me at all. I was the only one looking at me.

For some reason these days, I have been looking at myself longer it seems. Not so much out of vanity but more out of desiring to reassure myself of who I have become since I am not getting regular feedback in the world. By this time, my gender dysphoria was starting to really kick in. One time I looked in the mirror I saw myself as a barely feminized man and the second time I see a fully feminine trans woman. Deep down inside I know from long experience the mirror is just playing games with my dysphoria and I (in reality) land somewhere in between both images in my head. 

My surprise has been how much I need the public feedback to combat my dysphoria. I don’t need to go through the contortions of getting all dressed up to help myself feel better. I just need to have a cute encounter with a young woman bank teller to accomplish it.

Last week I finally did receive my stimulus check the old fashion way…by a paper check. I received it because since I am on Social Security for several years now, Internal Revenue doesn’t have a electronic deposit number on file for me. Getting a check though, was the good news. The bad news was, it came with my dead name on it. So, since I happened to have a deposit slip too with my dead name on it (which ties in with my legal name also) I felt I was covered. 
The girl was a classic. She looked at the name and then at me a couple times before I went ahead and outed myself. Anything for twelve hundred bucks! Right?? The teller didn’t miss a beat and said, there was no problem with me being trans, she was just concerned with the money finding it’s way into my correct account. It was overall a  reassuring pleasurable experience.

Even though Ohio is beginning to slowly reopen businesses, I am fairly sure we will not be heading out very much anytime soon. Leaving me again to be alone with my transgender dysphoria.

A Delicate Subject

As I am continuing to write different chapters in my book, one in particular has me slightly on edge. I have named the Chapter, “What is a Woman?” It’s one of the chapters I literally started years ago and I was surprised how much my ideas have changed. For one, I have mellowed out in my overall ideas. Even though my basic ideas have not changed. I  don’t believe biological females are born women. I also believe biological males are not born men. Both genders are socialized during their lives to hopefully become women and/or men. So where does that leave transgender women? If it walks like a duck, acts like a duck and look likes a duck…is it a duck? 

Naturally, we trans women find ourselves in a different place than biological women. We found our path to our own unique brand of womanhood a totally different way. Unfortunately, many of us were torn from the process. Personally I knew women operated on a more layered existence than men. Although times do seem to be changing slightly, it is normally up to the women to raise a family (including taking care of a man) kids and a house while often having to hold down a job. I can’t imagine the stress involved with living that kind of life. 
All of this takes me back to my cross dressing days when my wife accused me of just wanting to pick the “fun” aspects of being a woman and leaving the rest behind. I was guilty as charged. 

It’s true also that cis women lead a rather intense hormonal driven life. At puberty they go through the intense changes which basically stick around (with monthly periods mixed in for good measure) until menopause. Even though the binary gender known as cis women live longer than cis men, they face an old age made of of various illnesses such as brittle bones. I read somewhere that men live brief violent lives compared to long miserable lives for women. 

Regardless of all of that, I believe my journey on both sides of the gender fence has led me to quite a few unique perspectives. Plus, my addition of feminine hormones has given my emotions a feminine edge, or at the least more of a softer exterior to match an interior person who often longed for the feminine side of life. I don’t think HRT has made me anymore of a trans woman but has helped me to feel more of the world along the way. 
Bottom line is, for either binary gender, it’s not how you feel as much as how you interact with the world. It just so happened that everyday when I woke up in the morning, I questioned my gender and I forever will regret having to do that. Along the way, I had to find away to succeed in the male dominated world I was in and I did. Thus, I knew how I felt but was never sure how I was going to interact and maintain any of the life as I knew it. 

I am going to take the easy way out here and say a “female” knows what she is from birth and sometimes grows into a woman. A transgender woman is not sure sure of what she is at first. But once she does discover it, she has a much of a chance of growing into a woman too as the female.

Sean Hayes…As a Woman

In another twist to the gender spectrum, Sean Hayes of Will and Grace fame is playing a woman. Not a drag act but playing a woman called “Lazy Susan”  In fact, this month Hayes will star in the film he co-wrote as the title character. The character (Susan) is a middle aged woman stuck in a teenage mentality. She constantly mooches money from her family. She shops at K-Mart and lives on blended ice cream drinks. Susan’s life suddenly changes and she finds a renewed purpose when she meets a new handsome man.  The plot evolves further when her mother cuts off her fiances and Susan has to find a way to survive adulthood on her own.
The true gender twist to this movie comes from the fact Hayes never plays Susan as a man impersonating a woman such as what happened in Tootsie. Unfortunately, don’t look for the movie soon in an independent theater near you. If everything comes back to normal soon, the production will premier on Broadway next winter and be released as a film next summer.  

Is Burger King Playing with Gender?

Perhaps you have heard (from the far right) fast food giant Burger King is offering a new vegetarian Whopper sandwich. 

According to right wing zealots, when men eat the new sandwich they can grow boobs, decrease the size of their genitals and become homosexuals. 

So, there you go, I now have an inexpensive way to cut back on my Estradiol and Spiro! 🙂

Russian Bride

From the Moscow Times:

“Authorities in Russia have registered one of the first transgender marriages in a country that positions itself as a bastion of traditional family values.

Erika Askarova and Viktor Manuilin’s otherwise ordinary wedding made national headlines after the

two postedphotographs from the registry office in the city of Kazan on Dec. 12. Askarova, 30, and Manuilin, 20, told news outlets that they decided to make their relationship official months after they both changed their gender.”

Reportively, Russia still classifies transgender people as mentally ill.

Transgender Essence

This week I had an appointment with the doctor who prescribes my bi-polar medications. She is normally very pleasant, business like and the visit only lasts approximately 15 minutes.

On this day though, she had a student with her and I guess needed the extra time with me.  I am happy to say I haven’t had many problems with depression or anxiety lately. She surprised me when she brought up my Mtf gender dysphoria being a factor in feeling better. Undoubtedly I said it was.

Then she questioned dysphoria as being a part of the essence of being transgender. About this time, I noticed the student staring intently at me waiting for an answer. Sensing a time to educate two civilians, I used part of my time to explain my problems with gender dysphoria during my life. Quickly I decided  trying to reflect totally on the true essence of being transgender would have bored everyone in the room. Plus, the truth of the matter is all of our essences are different. An example would be, we have two new attendee’s in our support group who are just coming out of the closet. Just think of all the exciting yet terrifying times ahead for them. 

I also told her the experiences I have had recently with compliments on my hair. And how Thanksgiving for me was a time to step back and reflect on the good things in my life. 

Finally, I pointed out I haven’t had any extreme surgery and aside from my HRT hormone regimen, what you see of me is what you get. Even though it has literally been years since I have received any negative feedback from the public, I still have a tinge of paranoia in certain situations and probably will have till I die. 

In order to wrap this up as simply as I can, I feel the essence of being transgender is living with the knowledge of being on both sides of the gender fence. As my doctor said this week, undoubtedly I have seen a tremendous amount of living in my life. 

Over the years, recently I have come to appreciate it!

Trans Visibility

It’s election day and I am proud to say I haven’t missed many elections over the years. I am sad to say I have witnessed a couple of very bad presidents in my lifetime. Nixon was one. I think you can figure out the other. 

I am not going to dwell on politics though in this post. I have a couple of comments to get to as well as the experience of voting for the first time as my feminine transgender self. I was a little nervous when I did it but on the other hand couldn’t wait to produce my brand new driver’s license which said “F” in the gender category, rather than “M”. The license was scanned and nothing was said. I was just given my ballot to cast. Wow! It felt good! I guess now, the bad part is voting as a woman has become very mundane.

Both comments indirectly touch on the mechanics of getting to the mundane part if you are considering exploring a life as your true self (transgender) or just feel an affinity to dress as the opposite gender (cross dresser).

The first comes from Dawnautom who reads most of my posts on the WordPress blog platform:

 “Over the years I’ve talked to hundreds of transgender people all over the world most loved it when they could get out as them selves but a few found it felt to weird to be out in public like that. We’re all different in how it affects us, some it has no effect on others spend their whole life in the closet. 

 I’m happy for you that your able to get out and be your self, I think the biggest problem we face is self love and confidence ones you master that everything else is down hill ( so to speak ).”

Looking back, I can see how someone would think it was weird to go through a sudden change of gender privilege . In fact, at the last cross dresser – transgender support group meeting, a young trans man was explaining the difference approach society uses when dealing with different genders. 

The second comment comes from Connie:

“I believe that many, if not most, trans women go through a stage where their choice of feminine presentation is based on what they think a man would find appealing. I would take that one step further and say that it is often the case that the man they are seeking to please is themselves. After all, especially when one is closeted, the only man who will see “her” is “himself.” Presenting oneself as a bit of a slut in public, though, does not necessarily garner the kind of attention her inner feminine-self was looking to receive. 

There’s a reason that moms warn their children about this kind of woman – not marriage material. It’s not that marriage is the goal of every trans woman, but it is that more-conventional kind of woman many of us transition toward. Gender dysphoria, I think, is on a spectrum and can vary for each of us, just as gender does itself. Gender expression can be a manifestation of one’s perceived gender, the dysphoria, or both. For me, it’s been as though my perceived feminine-self were the angel on my right shoulder, while the dysphoria sat like the devil digging his claws into the left. The more I listened to the sweet words of the angel, though, the less of a hold the dysphoric one had on me. I still like to wear my high heels, but the devil does not make me do it! :-)”

I agree gender dysphoria is also on a spectrum along with gender and sexuality. Good point!

Thank you both for your thoughtful comments!

Gender Quiz

Yesterday, I went in for my pulmonary breathing test. 

I arrived early, checked in at the kiosk and pulled out my phone to pass the time. Nobody gave me a second look. 

As I sat there though, my regular Doctor appeared briefly and saw me. Since I wasn’t supposed to see her, I was surprised when she came over to talk. She is very nice and I enjoyed talking to her quite a bit until…she stuck the dreaded “he word” into the conversation. For the life of me, I don’t know why all of the sudden I am having such a miserable time being mis-gendered. 

I have examined how I go about my prep work before I go out and don’t think there is much of a difference. But why would someone call a person obviously wearing feminine clothes with breasts and wearing makeup a he?

I have always believed in the power of how a person projects their personal aura. Perhaps, with time, I have become more lackadaisical in public. I just assume most of the public accepts me as a feminine being.

Maybe I should spend more time channeling my inner female.

Then again, the great majority of people don’t understand what it does to a transgender person to be mis-gendered. I know it can really destroy or make my day when I have achieved the lofty “she” status in a conversation. 

One thing is for sure, the redneck woman glaring and staring at me on the way out didn’t care about pronouns. She was just all ugliness. 

Then again, you can’t educate everyone.