The Six Things I Love Most About Being Transgender

One of the most revolutionary things I’ve come to realize about being transgender is that, try as I might, there’s never a day when I don’t think about it. I really do love being transgender, though. When I was younger, I really expected that someday I wouldn’t feel different from other women. I would just go about my business of being a heterosexual woman, not thinking about gender. Just, sort of…doing what straight women do.

A simple desire, you see.

Psychiatrists used to tell transsexual women to think that way when we we went to see them for our psych evals (in order to have sexual reassignment surgery, transsexuals are required to have two different evaluations of the diagnosis that today is called gender dysphoria). In the olden days, the psychiatrists directed us to begin thinking of ourselves as women, not as transsexuals. This way, we would have smooth and easy lives following our surgeries. This made a great deal of sense to me at 22.

If only such direction had been useful or appropriate.

Aside from fueling an artificial us-and-them barrier between pre- and post-operative transwomen, which exists on top of all of the other intragroup feuding that fracture the greater queer community, psychiatric opinion of who I needed to be gave me nothing to either validate my personhood or prepare me to exist within it over the remainder of my life . In many respects, I was being prepared for a life that I would never have.

In fact, as much as the dominant psychiatric discourse wanted us to think of ourselves as women, society has often unkindly reminded us of the ways that we are not. At some point in the last 10 years or so, I finally realized and accepted this fact. Now looking back over my childhood, I’m really glad I wasn’t raised as a girl. There would have been things that were great about it, particularly if I could have been a member of my high school dance team (such a Texas thing). Still, for all the glory that being a Brahmadora would have given me in high school, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

And I like me. I really do!

I like that I don’t need need to hide myself, try to raise the pitch of my voice, or pretend that I didn’t experience life as a boy, a gay teen, a drag queen (like for 2 weekends, but still), and a transsexual woman. As painful as many moments from these times were (see my blog from August 6), why would I pretend that something so fundamental in shaping my worldview didn’t exist?

Psychiatrists believed at one time that we needed to create a story about our pasts that we’d tell people to explain ourselves. Many transwomen still do this. They need to keep their jobs, their relationships, their homes, or whatever else they have riding on a born-as-female storyline. Such is what happens when things like poverty and isolation are on the other side of the door. People pass if they can so that they may put food on the table and sustain their existence. Socioeconomic necessity being what it is, I never begrudge a person passing in order to attempt a better life.

But for those of us who neither pass as natal women nor particularly want to, I offer this.

Do you, my sister.

Be who you are. Live in the freedom of finding and expressing your gender, whether you’re an earthy and natural gal, a painted up lady in stilettos and flashy clothes, or someone whose style is in somewhere in-between. Have gratitude that your struggle is a truthtelling to your spirit. Honor what it’s taken to bring you to today, and make this moment count. Have gratitude.

There are so many wonderful things about being trans that I’ve discovered. Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. I live in truth. I can make big decisions fairly easily because I’ve been making big decisions for my entire adult life.
  2. Having come to love and accept myself, it’s easy to give this to others. I have a lot of friends.
  3. I have true joy in my heart because in knowing myself so well, I know how to create happiness.
  4. I don’t take myself too seriously, and as a result,
  5. I laugh a lot.
  6. I can make strangers smile because I understand that at the end of the day, we are all Other. The person who at first seems so different is probably more like me than either of us is initially aware.

Did I miss any? I hope so! Let me know, and in the meantime…

Do you!

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