It Takes Time

I went to a very sparsely attended cross dresser – transgender support group meeting recently. Due to the holidays, only eight attended. Out of the eight though, I was amazed at the diversity represented under the trans umbrella.

We had one person who attended who is is only three weeks away from going under the knife for genital realignment surgery on one end of the spectrum, all the way to a gender fluid person who still is exploring which way she wants to lead her life. I used the feminine pronouns because she did when I saw her.

Then there was one of the board members who is slowly coming out to her family accompanied by another who described herself as a stay at home house wife, who brought Christmas cookies. Of course there was me. I live full time as a woman but have no desire to have any surgery done in my future.

Finally, there were two first time attendees. One of which is moving to Cincinnati from the Phoenix area and the other who I can only describe as a grumpy old man. Along the way he tried to pull the age card which didn’t work with me. It turns out we were the same age and he was another Viet Nam war era vet. I wondered just why the hell he was there until he said he was looking for a surgeon to do GRS on him. Chances might be dim though since he just went through open heart surgery.

I wondered how much time he has spent living in the feminine world. You may remember you used to have to prove you had lived as a woman for two years before surgery would be considered. I don’t see the need for that but then again I would think a person would want to try a gender “test drive” before going to the extreme of changing the equipment.

Not long ago I wrote a post discussing my own progression from cross dresser to transgender woman and Paula commented:

“There is so much difference between dressing up glam to go out and have fun and living a regular every day life. I will admit to missing some of the thrill of going out cross dressed. Sure there was an element of fear in that excitement, but was so much fun.

I thought I would never be free of the compulsion that drove me to cross dress, but it is nearly six years since I last cross dressed, I can in all honesty say that since I first “went full time” I have felt no inclination to furtively buy a pair of brogues dress up in masculine clothes and sneak out hoping the neighbors won’t see me.”  

I agree with you Paula. I believe when you go “full time” you really join the cis women of the world. An example would be my partner Liz, who is a cis woman. She works at home and spends most of her time in jeans and sweaters as I do. On the other hand it is great fun to get dressed up for a holiday party. The party was a reminder too of my long ago cross dressing days when get dressed up was mandatory. 

Learning life as a trans woman just takes time!

Trans of a Certain Age

If you have been following my three part series about my life lived mostly in the gender closet, perhaps you saw a glimpse of your life too. 

Connie did, and here is her comment. *Please note we share several similar experiences because of our age.

“For those of us trans women of a certain age, there was no way to know anything, other than some confused notion that being a boy for us seemed to be different than it was for the other boys. Whatever might have been drawing us toward being the other gender (there were only two back then, you know), did not seem to be enough for us to be like the girls, either. Not only was the knowledge and language yet to be formulated by the professionals, let alone society in general, our young minds had no means with which to express ourselves, either.

I must have been about three when I felt the need to express my feminine side. While my mother was busy doing something in the living room, I went into her bedroom and climbed onto the bench in front of her Art Deco vanity. The low counter top and mirror were easily accessible for even a child of my size, and, after clipping on a pair of shiny earrings and applying a not-inside-the-lines coat of lipstick, I remember admiring myself in the mirror. I was so happy with myself that I just had to share it with my mom. I can still taste the soap and feel the harshness of the washcloth on my face as she admonished me for doing something boys just are not to do.

Knowing there is something different about oneself certainly is not a choice. Being ashamed of being different could be a choice, but, like with many things in childhood, the choice is often made by adults who place it upon the child. For decades thereafter, any conscious effort I made to express my feminine-self was a choice to do the wrong thing – or so I was made to think of it. It was also a choice I made to suppress my feminine-self for many years, and another choice to finally”give in” to it again. It wasn’t until I had the revelation that my choices were all about what I was doing, and not who I was, that I found a peace within myself. I then made one more choice, that being to transition, because I really had no choice at that point.

I now turn around that question of when I knew, when asked by a cis person. Their answer is always that they always did, or that they never even had to think about it. Then I tell them that I was always who I was, as well, but I was so painfully aware and have had to think about it almost every day of my life. I’m still waiting for that day when I don’t think about my gender identity, but it’s so much easier to think about it, even dismiss it most times when I do, because I made that choice to accept myself as the woman I was born to be (and to live it, as well).”

Thanks Connie for yet another thoughtful heart-felt comment!