Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.

For years, I would suddenly find my mood dip for no apparent reason. It would last a few days, then recover. Ever since taking oestrogen and a t-blocker, I’ve not experienced these, instead I’ve been really happy  (but that’s been just 6 months), but today, Tuesday I feel really low. This time is a bit different in that I can trace reasons why I feel this way, but that doesn’t lessen the despondency and impotence.

Some of the despondence is due to the likelihood that the UK is about to slip out of the EU on the slenderest of majorities; a crazy possibility fuelled by a dirty campaign of lies and distortions. Were there to be a substantial vote to go, then fair enough, but this is likely to be no more than a few percent either way. Some of my despondency is due to recent events like the murder of MP Jo Cox; we’re becoming a rather nasty nation.

But the major source stems I know from both a realisation of the enormity of the consequences and tasks arising from my desire to transition, to live the rest of my life honouring my female side coupled with a recognition that like many, if not most, trans women I just will not pass and will need to cope with peoples negative (or worse) behaviours and attitudes, and that by transitioning I expose my sweet wife to these as well. And that hurts.

A great feature of blogs is that they lead you from one to another and to explore new authors. Yesterday I came across a brilliant and very thoughtful blog written by a Portuguese trans woman ( https://feminina.eu/ ). In her piece titled ‘The Quest for Becoming the Perfect Woman’ she talks about the purpose of the ‘real life test’ and suggests that it really is about seeing if one can survive  “learning to live as a trans woman’: it means being able to tolerate transphobia and discrimination every day, at many different levels, from simple eye contact to outbursts of violence — and these will happen every day, for the rest of your life. It matters little how many hormones you take and how much surgery you do: there will always be someone who will ‘read’ you, and if that person happens to be a transphobe (which is likely!), you will have to endure their humiliation.”

Sandra’s blog contains a number of well considered articles, many of some notable length that explore many issues around being transgender and transitioning and I commend her writings to you.

Like many if not most  of my peers, I grew up with no idea that gender and sex could be different, so I never questioned the fact that I didn’t seem to share that much with other boys. My best friends at an early age were largely girls and I certainly got invited to more girl birthday parties than other boys. In my teenage years things got worse; I was very much a loner, I didn’t enjoy sports or any of the things other boys were into. Sure I had girlfriends, in fact even before other boys and got ribbed for it. Of course I had no idea that gender might be a spectrum, few if any of us did, and so being a bit different to other boys needed to be silenced. And so it remained until my mid-sixties.

Diverging slightly, it’s interesting how much attitudes have (or appear to have) changed since my youth. Today I was reading a piece in last Saturday’s Guardian on the slaughter in Orlando and learnt that in the US in the 1960’s presenting oneself as the opposite gender was a crime known as ‘gender impersonation’. Drag queens, butches and trans-sexuals were regularly rounded up and imprisoned for ‘wearing the wrong clothes’. Maybe not that much has changed; A UK journalist was forced to walk off a TV show on a channel in the UK owned by the same Murdoch who owns Fox after repeatedly being told that that the murder of 49 people in a gay club in Orlando was not about homophobia. Though we have probably more legal protection in (most of) the UK, the bullying of those who are different be it through colour, sexual orientation, being transgender etc is no doubt as bad as the US and probably has not improved over time

So do I truly want to transition and present as female each day and run the gauntlet of hate and ridicule? Sometimes I wonder. I don’t believe in the notion of a gender binary anyway (neither a sexual one either, for that matter). I see my self as towards the female end of the spectrum certainly, but I’ve learnt to live quite well presenting as male. Why would I throw this away together with the implied rights, privileges and safety?

I have no need to rush into a final decision, though I won’t put it off long. That decision affects others deeply and so they certainly have a say thereon; indeed my sweet wife really should have the right of veto.

Its taken a couple of days to write this piece and in the process I’ve recovered my positive mood. Hell, I even feel we might, just, by the slimmest of majorities vote to stay part of Europe and the 21st century.

Transitioning is never easy. But we trans folk need to be visible; for others to see us as the normal folk we are. We need to learn the lesson from gays and lesbians before us, that visibility helps the wider world see us as just like the family next door, just like their own family. In almost every family there will be someone who is gay and likely there’ll be someone who is trans.  Get over it. We didn’t choose to be who we are, any more than you did.

In the words of Jo Cox MP  “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”.

Michele xx

BTW: Today June 22 is our 20th wedding anniversary. 20 years of bliss and happiness for me; 20 years of what?? for her! I hope I’ve been a good husband most of the time. I certainly love her more than life.

 

 

13 thoughts on “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

  1. You certainly have given yourself alot to think about and consider.

    I do fear the potential outcome of a leave vote. What is it with the world at presrnt?. It is becoming dangerously right wing and intolerant because of insular and backward thinking and attitudes.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Let me pose a question. Would you rather run the gauntlet of ridicule and humiliation from other people or from yourself?

    Before answering consider this, regardless of who we are there are going to be people who will ridicule and humiliate us for who we are including violence and death. Given the right situation that could occur to any of us. The way to minimize that is to be with people that accept us without judgement and suitations that we feel safe in.

    While on the other hand, if you don’t transition then you will face the humiliation and ridicule from yourself. That you had the chance and you didn’t do anything. That you always be something other than yourself. That you made that choice because you where afraid of showing people who you really are. Afraid of the consequences of being who you are to other people.

    As far as passing, look at it the bigger picture other than gender. Do any of us pass? We all try to project an image of ourselves that we would like people to see us. Sometimes people see us as the image we project, while other people are keen enough to see past the mask and see us as something else.

    I think you are looking at the wrong things here. Don’t worry about passing. Its a given that someone somewhere we will not pass with. All we can do is try our best. Be with people that do not judge us based on physical appearances and the standards for them based on gender or whatever. But be with people that accept us because that is who we are regardless of physical appearances. Where passing is not an issue and nothing to worry about.

    If you haven’t, discuss it with your wife. If she care about you then she may not care or willing to run the gauntlet with you because she loves you and wants you to be happy regardless of what anyone else thinks. We all have our limits though and she may not do it. If that is the case then try to work out a compromise with her so the both of you will be happy. By the way you must be a good partner for her. A person doesn’t put up with someone for twenty years unless there is something they like and appreciate in the person.

    In the end the only question that matters with transition is that you want. Will transitioning allow you to be yourself. Besides your partner’s feelings toward it other considerations are secondary. Because the only thing that really matters is doing things the way you want and choose to do. If you live a short time being the person you see yourself is better than a long time being safe and miserable that you see yourself as not being good enough to show other people.

    Regardless of the decision you make in regards to transition, I wish you all the best 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Michelle, thank you for such a considered comment.

      Transition is in progress and will continue. I love the changes that oestrogen plus t-blocker is doing to my body and mind (just wish they would work faster). My only question is how public to be. My clothes are always ‘female’, just most of the time quite neutral (jeans, t-shirt, trainers etc, just like most women), though with some (joint) friends (curiously mainly women) I am happily out in gorgeous skirts and dresses. I think the issue for me/us is about making my transition formal (name, gender marker change, passport) and ‘permanent/full time’. The sensible thing is to take my time, but being sensible can be a bit boring.

      Thank you for you good wishes

      Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your welcome 🙂

        Well isn’t that so true about sensible being boring. I know that from my experience with my transition. But I imagine patience is in short supply. It was for me. I just wanted to get it done and be ‘myself’ full time. With the weight of those questions I had for myself weighing down on me, there was a part of me that just wanted to get it done and over with. Sort of like ripping off a band-aid. I wouldn’t have deal with the questions anymore but I would probably have a mess to clean up by rushing it.

        The biggest hurdle, from my perspective, is that we cannot change back if it doesn’t work out. Add to it the fact that each person’s situation is different in subtle and big ways. What works for someone else may back fire for another person. So we are pretty much on our own navigating our own minefield to reach the end of our transition. Should we go ahead and step there being one step closer or play it safe. Just don’t know until you take that step. That can be so frustrating and depressing facing those decisions about what to do and the best way to go about it.

        But hang in there, one day you will find a way that works for you. A way where your questions are answered about what to do and how far to go with it. Maybe a way that is somewhere in-between where you change some things but not all of them based on what feels right to you and your situation and also feels safe for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. There’s a lot of content in these few paragraphs! Michelle, I wish to commend you on your thoughtfulness. You are being so careful. It’s a heavy burden, transitioning from a full life to what we hope will be another, fuller life .. all the while, wondering if we’re abandoning some essential parts of ourselves or others at the same time.

    This is a heavy post, and I will need to contemplate your words for a time. In the mean-time:

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! To you, and to your lovely wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Michele. I enjoyed this post. Living in California, I’m not really up on the whole EU debate in the UK although I was quite surprised that there are those who want to split from the European Union.

    Regarding transitioning, I am one who has held off for years. I’m a big believer in love, marriage and family and, in my case, holding off as long as I can is the right thing to do. I have my ways of dealing with it and have blogged often (in the past) about it. Every person and situation is different. It sounds like you have things well under control.

    I totally relate to your comments about your teenage and pre-teen years. It was in my late teens that I absolutely knew I had to transition. With no internet or support groups at that time, I just felt so alone. I got married and truly felt that would fix everything. As we both know, it never goes away and marriage doesn’t fix it.

    I featured you post today on T-Central.

    – Calie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unfortunately xenophobia has won the day in the Brexit debate, and now I worry that as a result of that extremist views and policies will become the norm in our society.
    The Americans have the spectre of Trump in the background too, and God help the world if that idiot ever gets his hands on the strings of power.
    We are becoming a nastier nation, but I’ll be doing my bit to fight for the rights of individuals by going to Edinburgh Pride next week.
    We need to work even harder now to spread the message of love for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a nasty campaign, with even Remain seemingly unable to present the case for Europe. I noticed in the Guardian’s TV Guide for today a statement about the EU’s anti-discrimination law for people with disabilities and that last year 87,000 British disabled people were helped towards employment care of the EU Social Fund. Cameron today talked of advances like Equal Marriage, but now of course we are about to scrap the European Human Rights Act and replace it with a watered down version. Why didn’t we talk up the real positive social changes membership has brought us?

      Enjoy Pride.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always wonder what would have happened if my dad had been able to transition – how that would look for our family, my parents’ marriage, and so on. There are so many complications and yet, sometimes we just have to bravely be ourselves if we are ever to find peace. I know that peace was something that eluded my father all his life
    I wish you all the best.

    Like

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