The ED

WTF am I doing? After almost a year of transition, I am finally being struck by a BFO, a blinding flash of the obvious. I really don’t have any clue what I am doing. Like The Greatest American Hero, I do this all without instructions.

I realize I have no clue what being female really feels like, so there is absolutely no way to know if I am doing it right. I was raised male.

Even though I knew I identified as female, I did not outwardly rebel against my male upbringing, unless you consider my life as an actor a rebellion. I was never an alpha male, but nobody seemed to think I was trans, or particularly feminine. I did have my share of gay guys show attraction towards me, but I never entertained those options. I was a nerd, chubby until 20 years old. I got by on my personality and humor. I was not threatening.

Nobody doubted I was male. All that time I felt like a walking, talking, falsehood. After almost a year of euphoric transition, that feeling has returned. This time though, I feel like a false woman. At least I am very aware of how far I still have to go.

Perhaps I am just welcome in either club but I do not have membership, just good sponsors. I do not feel the part of a man, and I do not quite look female.

My voice is a pain in the neck. Literally. Try talking in a high range for any amount of time. It can hurt. It takes a lot of work and all the time I feel like a big phony. There is little worse than feeling like a fraud when you are attempting to be more authentic. Alas, I have a low voice. It is going to take time and effort to move past it and into a female range. It is quite possible to get there but voice is the bane of many a trans woman’s existence.

Lately though, I get struck by one screaming question: WHY? Why go through all of this? Why change my name? Why change my gender marker? Why wear makeup? Why change my wardrobe? Why change the way I communicate with people?

I guess the answer is simple. I have already stated it in this post. I already feel like a falsehood as a man.

Everybody accepted me as a man, except ME. Now I have turned the table. I am attempting personal acceptance at the risk of losing everybody else.

Transition is an action. While I am transitioning I am crossing from one place to another. Perhaps some day I will earn my ED.

What is an ED? It is when I finally get to add an ED to transition. Rather than being in transition, I will have transitionED. Perhaps that will never be the case, but many trans folk successfully transition. They earn their ED.

I have had conversations with many people since I began this journey. Most of them do not fully understand why I would ever transition, and yet they do their best to accept me. It just does not compute to them and perhaps that is a good thing. It means they are wired right and even the concept that someone else might not be is hard to grasp. I have been told that trans folk never fit in. They never look right. They never pass.

Well, after meeting a handful of trans folk (literally five) this year, who I had no clue were actually trans, I entirely disagree. Trans folk are very good at clocking other trans folk… but you only notice the trans folk you notice. It is easy to assume you have a perfect batting average because you can tell every single time you can tell. It is egotistical to assume nobody could ever fly beneath the radar. It takes time. It takes effort. It happens. Trans folk can very frequently pass.

Once you know someone is trans, you KNOW. It is human nature to start looking for flaws. Looking for things that make a person recognizable as their former self (even if you never knew them pre transition). But if someone does not know, they do not know.

One issue for trans folk (particularly trans women), and a standard placed upon them by society, is beauty. Trans women are often expected to either be beautiful (it’s a TRAP!), or obvious (it’s a MAN!). The most successful transitions I am aware of, are more often than not, the folk who do not try too hard to look perfect. Overcompensation can out you… nobody in their right mind should look like a Barbie Doll. Many trans women dress far younger than they actually are. I understand. They are making up for lost time. It sometimes makes me sad. So many transitioners are hung up on the fact they did not transition earlier.

Most non-trans folk fail to ever entertain the notion that a trans person may just try to look normal. To simply blend in. It is far easier than I thought. I have good days and I have bad days. Some times I am a hot mess no matter how hard I try. Others, I can blend in, in broad day light.

One trick; you do not want to look your best. Looking good, or even trying to look good gets people to look at you. The more they look, the more likely they are to clock you. Being clocked is potentially dangerous. In 2012, more than 50% of the LGBT hate crime murders committed in America were against trans folk, the vast majority were trans women. Eeeeep!

How do I know if I am not being clocked? People just do not look at me at all. Or their glance does not linger. Knowing glances are not always bad, usually they are the, “I know you are trans and hey, I think that is cool. Keep on truckin’.” kind of glance. But having someone’s face contort into disgust just because they clocked me happens frequently enough to keep me on my high heeled toes.

Even on a good day, I only pass every so often but it is becoming more and more common. My posture and my voice will out me almost every time I move or speak. But hey, I do ok when I stand still and am very quiet.

Sometimes I get to be a fly on the wall as friends or family debate who/what I am right in FRONT of me. “No, if she wants to be a woman, SHE is a woman!” Sigh…

So, WTF am I doing? I am working towards my ED. I am fighting to fit in, to be accepted for once by myself and by society. Self acceptance comes so much easier to me now and due to that, I hardly care if I never pass fully elsewhere. I wish safety was not such an issue. I am along for the ride, so self acceptance is a huge relief. I can’t wait for that ED though… except…

… once I have my ED, then what?

Aloha,
Tori

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2 thoughts on “The ED

  1. Your blog is such a great blog. I really needed to read it. I am soo grateful to you for sharing it with us. You are very brave.

  2. I had a colleague ask me the other day “when will you be done?”. I had no idea what she was asking. So she clarified and asked “when will you be where you want to be in your transition?”. something like that. Adding the ED or earning it… interesting question to ponder. In many respect I feel like I have arrived and at the same time I know I continue to grow and mature into who I am. Being who we are every minute, doesn’t that mean we are there? Just as any human on this planet we evolve and grow. We do not ask a cis person when they will be fully cis. So why ask a trans person? Yes I know it is a process and the whole passing thing complicates it. But I felt a sense of wholeness pretty quickly upon starting my transition. I appreciate your blog and presenting this question and sharing your process in being you!

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