Right, so just about every post I have made on this blog to date has been a kind of story, a subjective history of my dressing from an early age (in broad strokes) right through to the present (in probably too much detail). Something readers may have noticed is that I tend to flip-flop between various different terms for what I do, or indeed who I am as Kirsty. The reason for this is that I don’t really know how to define it.
A few months ago I would have just said I was a crossdresser and left it at that. A man who likes to get dressed up as a woman from time to time. But I really don’t think that fully covers it. But I’m not transsexual either, I don’t have a burning desire to live the rest of my life as a woman. There are too many things I like about my male life for that, not least of which are being a husband and father. Having said that, every time I have to stop being Kirsty and go back to being Bob I feel very sad, like I don’t want my time en femme to stop. I never feel sad to leave Bob behind when I become Kirsty.
When I am dressed, I don’t feel male and I like it. It’s not like when I used to just put on a skirt and heels, back then I really did feel purely a man wearing some women’s clothes. Now when I fully transform myself and become Kirsty, it’s like there is a different persona, another identity, one that makes me happy and that I want to experience more of. In fact happy isn’t even the word, perhaps “complete” or even “honest” would be better. When I’m not being Kirsty I spend a lot of time thinking about when I’m next going to become her. I want to learn how better to act in a feminine manner, to speak with a feminine voice and be a woman or as near as I can manage. I suppose the best description is that I feel like a part-time woman, although that’s not really a defined gender identity.
I know that this is something that concerns my wife. She has told me that she can accept and to a certain extent understand my need for the physical transformation, but my female side having another name and identity is beyond her. The truth is, it’s beyond me too. I think the problem lies not with accepting who and what I am, but with the apparent need to put a label on it. There are so many labels to choose from and they are either just not me, or else so vague as to be close to meaningless.
As an exercise, I have listed the possible labels that I know and the meanings that I take from them;
- Transgender: Often abbreviated to trans or trans*, a blanket term for everyone who is not cisgender, i.e. doesn’t exclusively identify as their birth gender. Obviously this includes me, but hardly nails down what I feel about my gender identity.
- Transsexual: Someone who lives or desires to live permanently in the gender opposite to the one they were assigned at birth, whether with or without surgery. As I said earlier, not me.
- Crossdresser (aka Transvestite): A man who likes to wear women’s clothes but continues to self-identify as male, the proverbial “bloke in a dress”. It’s the physical side of me, but not quite the psychological. Still probably as close as I’m going to get in standard terminology.
- Genderqueer: A person who blurs or outright rejects the gender norms of male or female. Again, not me. I want to present either as fully female or fully male.
- Intersex: What used to be termed a hermaphrodite, a person with physical characteristics of both genders at birth. Obviously not me.
So based on that short list and by a process of elimination I have two options – transgender or crossdresser. I’m going to say transgender, or trans for short. It is a vague term, but it’s the only one that isn’t wrong, even if it is pretty imprecise. Having said that, if someone described me as a crossdresser or transvestite, I’m not going to disagree with them. But if asked how I would label myself I now have an answer. I’m trans.
I have just realised that my username on WordPress (transkirsty) reflects this perfectly. This was entirely unintentional. I picked that name because I tried about 5 other variations first and they were all taken. As luck would have it the username has worked out quite well, but I can assure you the Twilight Zone was not in operation.
I saw an article recently about how Facebook now have something like 57 different gender labels that you can choose to identify as, rather than just male/female/other. I took a look down the list and the vast majority were completely meaningless to me. I suppose I could take the time to look up the meaning of all those labels but I think that way lies madness. I am trans, and beyond that I’m just Kirsty (or Bob).
To digress away from labelling myself for a moment and get back to real life, I have had confirmation that the Butterfly Club open meeting is definitely happening on Tuesday, in 3 days time. This will be the first time anyone other than my wife has met me face to face presenting fully as female, so it’s going to be a significant landmark for me. Barring disasters, my next update will be about my experiences there but for now, wish me luck!