My last post got quite a response, both in the comments and in messages I have received from several people. I’m not sure how to feel about that. Obviously I’m very pleased that what I wrote struck a chord with several people, but it’s just me doing what seems to be the best thing for me and my family. How much relevance that has to others I don’t know. But a week on from writing that, and a week and a half on from finishing my block of counselling, I’m still pretty sure that “the plan” is the way to go. It’s going to take a few months to see any real progress but I’ll get there in the end.
I have been querying my identification as TS recently. Not that I really doubt that I am female, but because to an external observer I must look like a TV. I live mostly as a man, I do not intend to transition and have surgery, and from time to time I go out dressed as a woman. Or dressed as myself, as I prefer to think. Of course inside my own head the explanation for all that is so different from what an outside observer might think, but I can’t help but wonder; can you be TS and not transition? Is transition a necessary part of being TS? Shouldn’t I have an overwhelming, all-encompassing desire to be my real self all the time and change my body to fit my own identification? Truth is, I do have that desire, but I can just about keep it in check enough to remain a husband and father. But if I was really TS, would I be able to do that? Shouldn’t I be unable to continue with life as a man in any way? I don’t know the answer. I feel that I am TS and I feel that I am a woman. Is that enough? I suppose the only sane answer is that the label doesn’t matter, finding where and how to be happy is what matters. It would be a terrible cart-before-horse point of view to think “I am TS, therefore I must transition”. The label must come as a result of the description, not the other way round. So my thought process is “I feel I am a woman, I want to be perceived as a woman, I hate being a man, I find it difficult and intimidating being in groups of men and being expected to act as one of them, therefore I must be TS”.
There has been an ongoing debate about something called “Trans snobbery” on the Angels forum recently, for the most part good natured and constructive. Trans snobbery is the phenomenon of post-op TS women looking down on pre-ops and non-op full timers, in turn looking down on part timers who in turn look down on the behind-closed-doors CDs who look down on transvestic fetishists (who aren’t really transgender at all if I understand correctly). Now this is all pretty horrid stuff and to be fair most people do not subscribe to it at all. However, it made me think that we all are different in many important ways, and that we tend to mix with those people with whom we share the most in common, both as people and also our point on the transgender spectrum. This is only to be expected. There was one post in particular in this debate which raised a smile with me. I don’t think it was malicious at all, I just thought it was a lovely little summation of the differences between the two extremes of the scale so I will paraphrase it slightly. A conversation between two trans* persons who have just met…
“Are you TS?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“You’re wearing jeans”
“Are you a TV?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“You’re wearing a belt for a skirt”
I hope that doesn’t offend anyone. I certainly don’t consider any particular point on the scale to be more valid or worthy than any other, but I think this possibly imagined conversation struck a chord with me after my examination of myself and my journey over the last six months, not to mention my recent conversion to women’s jeans. In fact, it could be a conversation between me as I am now and me as I was in February. Back at that time in only my second ever post (this is the 35th!!!) I wrote “What I really wanted to do was to look and feel as feminine as possible, wearing beautiful dresses, glossy tights, gorgeous shoes and with a figure to match”. It was all about the glamour and the look, sexy dresses and high heels. Now it’s all about just being an ordinary woman, dressing in an appropriate manner. So if I’m going out to dinner, I’ll maybe wear a nice dress and put on heels, but at the shops or going for a coffee I’ll just be dressed down in jeans or a simple skirt and blouse.
I was out shopping a few weeks ago, and as I was leaving and heading back towards the car, I saw someone coming in the opposite direction heading towards the mall. It was a trans* person, who didn’t really pass, being saddled with a very male body shape. But she had obviously made a big effort and actually looked great. The problem as I saw it was her incongruity. And not really the incongruity of having a fairly well-built male body and square jaw, there wasn’t anything she could do about that, but the incongruity of going into Boots The Chemists wearing a lacy little black dress, sheer tights and a pair of 4″ stilettos. In a club, or a bar, or even a restaurant, she would have looked fabulous. But in a shopping mall, to my eyes she looked out of place. I almost hate that I am saying that, I mean I can’t stress enough that I completely support her right to do that and if that’s what makes her feel fulfilled then more power to her. I don’t in any way think I am superior or “doing it better”, because that is just not the case. In fact, I don’t know that person at all and she could simply have been nipping into the shop to buy some quick essentials on her way to a dinner date for all I know. But when I saw her, I think what I really saw was a reflection of the person that I used to be. The early incarnation of Kirsty, with the long blonde wig, the big heels and the diamante bracelets. And I saw that person and I thought “That isn’t me any more”.
So the point of all this? Well I suppose for me it’s that the clothing isn’t important. Not really. My wife on more than one occasion has made a comment about me going out in public “wearing women’s clothes”, to which I almost invariably reply “Not women’s clothes. My clothes.” I am a woman. I want to be perceived to be a woman. I want people to react to me as they would to another woman. This is a tall order. In order to stand any hope of succeeding in that, I need to look like a woman, and wearing men’s clothing with no makeup, short hair and a covering of stubble is not really going to help me achieve that goal. So the clothes, the hair, the makeup are all a means to an end. A means to make the outside reflect the inside, to let the world know who I am so it can treat me accordingly. A woman. Me.