70% female?

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about gender recently and my gender identity in particular.

Once upon a time I had no idea that gender and sex were separate. The possibility that ones gender (I like the short definition that gender is what’s between your ears and sex, what’s between your legs) might be different from ones sex. After all most folk use these terms interchangeably. Passports, researchers, the Inland Revenue and the NHS etc ask for gender, whereas they really want to know ones sex.

It took me forever, until my 6th decade anyway, before I had any inkling I was anything other than male by sex and gender. I’ve always thought of myself as being a pretty sensitive man and unlike most of the men I’ve known. I’ve never been into ‘men things’ really. I’ve often fancied trying on a gorgeous dress or skirt, but never had the courage to do so openly or to broach the subject with my loving wife. It was only when  a transvestite (his preferred term) joined my wife’s Morris team and was so completely accepted that I felt emboldened to admit my interest. I’ve written before how I initially thought myself ‘just’ a cross-dresser, only to realise that there was something much deeper to explore.

So over the last year or so I’ve been trying to understand who I truly am. And for four months now have been taking hormones to have my body reflect more fully the person I feel myself to be. I love the changes that are happening already.

Last week my wife asked me if I wanted to live full time ‘as a woman’. Do I? I am not sure what that means.

I described myself to my GP and to my Gender Doctor as 60-70% female. I don’t know why that feels about right nor what it would mean if it were 100% or 40%. Like many here I don’t accept the idea that gender is binary. I also think gender is something that varies over time and as society changes and of course means different things in different societies and at different times. In the UK today, I think what it means to be a man is wildly different to how it was for my father growing up in the 20’s and 30’s. And so for a woman. Hell, a century ago, respectable girls were still being chaperoned.

But what is ‘being a woman’. What is ‘being a man’.

There are life events that only happen to one sex. Like menstruation or being cursed to shave each day to ward off the monstrosity of a beard!  But sex isn’t the same as gender surely. Can I ever be truly a woman if I haven’t experienced menstruation?

Or can I be a woman because I love ‘women’s things’like feminine clothes, soft fabrics, bright colours, shopping. Conversations about people and feelings, listening, girl company not boys (awful creatures). If I compare myself with most of the men I know, even those I call friends, I am not really like them.

My wardrobe now consists around  85% female store bought items. Sometimes I fantasise about being forced to choose: Burn the ‘boy’ clothes and forever live as a woman or burn the girls and live forever as a man. No contest. Without a blink of an eye, the boys clothes would be gone. But does that make me a woman?

Maybe I am a woman because that is what I chose to be. How about you?

13 thoughts on “70% female?

  1. I found myself very emotional while reading your post. We are on similar journeys though we don’t share everything. What brought me to tears is your honesty in your writing. My heart goes out to you.

    For me being a woman is not a choice, it is who i am even when i have to be in “male mode.” i can’t choose to be transsexual any more than i can’t choose to breathe. i believe that for you this isn’t as much of a choice as you suspect it is. My choice is when i finally transition. i have held off far too long because of my family. Because this isn’t a choice the cost for holding off on transitioning grows more and more each day that I hold off.

    My best to you dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You pose some interesting questions not least can one ever be truly a woman. To be honest I would suggest that yes you can be so long as that is how you truly feel. I have never considered what percentage male or female I am but thinking about it I would have to say around 50 / 50. I have no plans to transition, nor to embark on a course of hormones, much as both would appeal to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting that you say one is a woman if that is how one truly feels. When I estimate a percentage of me being male, I could not say how I know. Maybe the analytical bit is what I label male and the feeling bit (which dominates) represents the female. However I know I’ve never been happier now that I am transitioning. Least ways, my body is transitioning, my head has already. Hell would be having to go back to being a man.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you’re right… it’s what’s between your ears. I had no idea what I was for many years. Then I went to a therapist when I was suicidal so we could work it out. We covered all the possibilities (gay, transvestite, etc.) before we (I) concluded I was a woman. I had to put off doing anything about it because I had a job I loved (military band) so wanted to wait until after I retired. But it meant it a lot to have my feelings sorted out. I could deal with it then.

    So that’s my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Like you said, it’s what is between your ears. i, too, took a long time figuring out what I was. I dressed in girl’s clothes a lot growing up and wore boy’s clothes in public, i.e., school. I tried gay sex but really didn’t enjoy it. I was always dressed as a female at those times. So when I finally hooked up with a therapist we spent more than a year going through the various permutations of just what i could be (gay, transvestite, bi-sexual, WTF) before we (I) reached the conclusion I was indeed a woman. Unfortunately, I was mid-career in the Air Force Band and didn’t want to give that up, which I would have had to do if I chose to start transitioning. I figured I’d do it once I retired. Put it off, put it off until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Much happier now. But I understand your thought process. I have never been like anyone I’ve known. Always off by myself, a loner. Now I know why. You, too, I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. it is really hard to put what I think into words. I have tried and just seems like a jumbled mess. Because it is hard to quantify what gender means to me.

    Yes it is between your ears. But maybe it is how that brain between your ears is setup. How the brain perceives and processes information on the most basic level is different in people whose gender is female compared to males. Call it our gut instinct that we recognize that in ourselves. We may not be able to explain it, but we understand it.

    So if your gut instinct is telling you that your gender is female then you are already 100% female in regards to gender. Nothing is going to change that because that is how your mind was setup. Anymore than you can be anything other male in regards to your sex because that is determined by your chromosomes that affect your body and how it develops on its own.

    But what we can decide and what I really see as transition is deciding for ourselves how we are going to appear, how we would like to be refer as and other things. We make the choice because that is how we like to be and not be restricted by arbitrary divisions based on our sex. That you are saying I like to wear women’s clothes not because my gender or sex is female but because that is what I like to wear. I am no longer try to be masculine because that is not me. I am no longer fake being something I not because of my sex, or gender for that matter, and the expectations that come with it. I am going to be my own person and that is what right for me. Whatever that may be.

    So maybe in the end, you are not saying your 70% female but that your 70% yourself. That is what you are really transitioning and learning along the way, what you like and doing it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ooh what an interesting insight!

      I guess the source of my estimate of being a % female comes from the concept of gender being non binary and that we are (almost) all somewhere on a continuum between male and female. You’ve given me some great ‘food for thought’.

      When we are transitioning (at least this has been true for me) we maybe listen to the voices of those around us and those in the media. What I ‘hear’ from your comment though is to listen to the voice inside and to trust it even when the logical bit of me wants to pipe up and say that my life experiences are so very different from those of a typical cis gendered woman and it is that part that has stopped me owning being fully a woman. I guess also it is because I have only come to understand/ realise my innate gender late in life that I feel less able to claim/own it.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I really appreciate the love reflected therein.

      Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your very welcome. That is something I can relate with listening to those voices of those around us and in the media. It makes me question not only because my experiences are different from non-transgender women but transgender women as well. Because I would put myself around the 20-30% on that continuum. It is hard not to pay attention, because there are a lot more of those voices that do tend drown out my own inner voice. But I keep telling myself that inner voice knows me a lot better than those other voices who are just telling me about themselves.

        That is something else I can relate with also coming to realize my innate gender late in life (I was in my late 40’s at the time). Which does make me wonder if maybe I do have it wrong because other transgenders tend to know that a lot lot earlier in life. But that is them and this is me. Just different experiences and thinking is all not a reflection of being a woman or not. I might have been slow to the mark, but its good to know and be myself. At least for some part of my life than being miserable without ever knowing why.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think there are many transgender women coming to realise and embrace their true gender who are past middle aged. We grew up in a time when there was little awareness that gender and sex came into being at different stages of an embryo’s development or that gender was so influenced by social pressures. I never imagined that it was possible to be a woman as I clearly had a male body.

        Let us both celebrate that we discovered the truth with life left to live.

        Liked by 3 people

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