#tdov Happy Trans* Day of Visibility 2015!
I wanted to make a post on my blog (rare thing lately, I know) especially for International Trans* Day of Visibility. This obviously takes precedence over my birthday, which was a few days ago and went unremarked on here. 😉
It’s such an important thing to be visible sometimes, and there are a lot of things that work against that when you identify in the trans* spectrum. Heck, sometimes even within the trans* spectrum, you find individuals (not usually entire groups, thank goodness) who don’t understand or don’t accept where you are in your various parts of the spectrum. A lot of the things that trans* people go through are linked to the visibility of trans* people in our society and in our media. It’s freaking awesome that trans* individuals are slowly making their way into more popular media, but it doesn’t hurt to help it along the way. Now, I’m not demanding everyone who identifies trans* suddenly come out proudly and wave banners all around–for some, that’s simply not safe, and I don’t want anyone getting hurt–but if you’re out and feel safe, today has been one of those days I hope you took advantage of to just let someone know that you exist and your identity is real and valid.
First step? Knowing and understanding yourself. And boy oh boy is that a tall order right off the bat! It sometimes takes years of self-discovery for some of us to figure out where we fit in the spectrum of gender identity, gender expression, and our levels of attraction (be it sexual or emotional/intellectual) to various people of equally diverse identities and expressions.
My personal experience was rather drawn out, but I’ll try to sum it up:
I thought I was cis-gender (though I didn’t have a term for it back then; I was just “normal”) and straight right up until about 8th grade, when I started having romantic feelings for my best friend (female, though with a couple masculine qualities in her expression). From 8th grade to 10th grade, I figured that attraction meant I was a lesbian… and then I discovered what bisexuality was and thought that was a better fit. So, when I finished high school, I thought I was cis-gender (still didn’t know there was another option) and bisexual. I hit my second year of college and discovered gender! Yay! It was then I started exploring my identity and expression (20-21 years old). I didn’t verbally tell anyone the details of how I felt until around college graduation (2009, making me 23 years old), when I was involved with a boy and was honest with him from the get-go. Even then, my identity and expression were still new, though, and it’s only been in the last couple years that I’ve fully accepted that I’m genderqueer (though more male leaning) in my identity. I still outwardly present as female, though I’d like to be more toward neutral over time, and eventually, I think I might like to have top surgery, but I don’t intend on fully transitioning (taking testosterone or getting sexual reassignment surgery). And I don’t need to. It doesn’t change that I’m trans*, doesn’t change my identity. While I’d love to have a penis, I’d rather wait until technology can give me one that is both aesthetically pleasing and fully functional (including nerve endings that would make physical intimacy pleasurable). Until then, I’d be happy just passing more neutral.
All in all, I’m happy with how far I’ve come in my own understanding of my identity. I haven’t had a physical relationship since the one I mentioned near my college graduation, so I haven’t dated or anything since coming to that deeper understanding, but when the time is right, I’d love to have a man or two who would welcome me as a lover and partner and view me as male regardless of my physical appearance. Those closest to me right now call me a boi, and I love it. Even if I were physically and biologically male, I would have been a certain level of genderqueer, my identity a little left of center and my expression ranging from quite femme/fabulous to more masculine/butch. So, I’m here. I’m queer. And I don’t mind anyone knowing it.
I’m also open to questions, so if anyone has questions for me about my identity, expression, or experiences, feel free to comment and ask. I just did a guest lecture for a teacher friend, speaking to his GSA kids about gender, so I’m primed and ready for questions! *laughs* I hope everyone has a great International Trans* Day of Visibility!
(I also wrote a rather emotional personal post at one point the last couple months that was all about my insecurities as a trans individual, so I might go back through that and share it with you guys. I have my days where I feel completely isolated, too, so maybe someone else will see that and can relate. ^_^)