One of the Guys

I hated being a guy but sometimes I miss being one of the guys.

I was talking to a friend who is also transitioning and the discussion moved towards how our relationships with others have changed. It mostly was about our male friends. Our experiences are quite similar. We are relating better with women than men. Men are becoming harder and harder to figure out in spite of all our experience in men’s shoes.

My relationships with most men have changed vastly. Only a very few have remained much as they were before.

One close friend told me a few weeks ago that I had changed. I am like a different person now.

The discussion that followed really shook me to the core.

He was speaking honestly and from the heart. He was not being mean. All the same, it seemed like a mark of the end of our relationship. I hope it isn’t.

But shit, I have been in transition for over a year and a half now. All the while, I have been the star of my own movie. I guess I had moved past worrying about the impact my transition has on people who are close to me. This reminded me that it is a bit of an adjustment for everyone.

To me, I feel like I have changed very little. That may come as a surprise. But, I started transition with the same consciousness I have today. Whatever it is that makes me a unique and living human was never rebooted with a brand new operating system. My brain is still my brain. I started transition as me. I remain me.

Transition is SLOW. I always say it can be like watching paint dry. Perhaps my personality has changed far more than I had thought.

I think there is more to it though. Other people’s perception also plays a HUGE role. To some people, TOLERANT people, simply viewing me as a woman or a trans woman completely changes how they feel they should relate to me.

Obviously, men tend to treat women differently than they treat other men. Men, usually heterosexual, commonly avoid friendships with women. The friend zone is a bad thing according to most men. Femininity holds far less value In male circles, and women are easily ignored or talked over. The whole dynamic is different.

Then, there are the guys who have become flirtatious. What a bizarre, confusing form of flattery to someone like me who is not used to it. Many men though, only know how to communicate to women through flirtation. It rarely means anything besides the person likes me and is trying to express it.

There is just a general distancing that has evolved over time. I am far from the only trans woman who has experienced this.

The longer men have to wrap their head around my transition, the less they see me as one of the guys. They forget what it was like to hang out with me. They replace these memories with new thoughts of me being a trans female.

My relations with women have evolved too. These differences were far quicker for me to notice.

Many trans women talk about how women start behaving differently around them shortly after starting hormone replacement therapy. It just becomes easier to talk with women within a few weeks, even for those trans women who have not come out.

Obviously, part of that is the hormones. Hormones are like drugs. Men and women are all stoned out of their gourds, they are just high on different substances. Thinking whilst high on estrogen has to effect how a person interprets other people on estrogen.

The next thing is pretty cool. I think it is partly pheromonal. One of the first things to change on hormones is how you smell. That musky to foul male scent I could not always shake was replaced with something far more mild and female. I do not smell male anymore and I suspect that really changed how women act around me. Why do I think this is the case? Because before I came out but shortly after starting hormones, female strangers, female cashiers… etc. started talking to me. Just small talk. It started happening far more frequently than it did before

Finally, my sex drive plummeted in those first weeks on hormones, so I was more likely to communicate with women without that awkwardness of wanting to check out her tits while knowing I shouldn’t.

By the time I came out, I was already relating differently to females and they were relating differently to me. This has only become deeper since then, to the point where I now think I understand the women I talk to better than the men.

The main thing I think coming out did, was it showed women how I too embraced my feminine side. I did not think less of women, like many men seem to. We were on the same team.

So, back to my friend who thinks I have changed, and I am almost a different person. I guess I have changed. I guess I am like a different person. I guess he is right. I don’t know if things will or ever can return to how they used to be. I don’t know if I want them to.

All I know is, I still do occasionally miss being one of the guys… but I love transition.

Aloha,
Tori

Please feel free to share this post and like my page on Facebook if you wish to stay up to date with this blog, leave a comment, or whatnot. Thanks.

Homosexuals vs. Trans 2: Electric Boogaloo

I have recently covered this topic but I intentionally avoided the real meat and potatoes and instead opted to make the point that homosexuals have been mistreated by others and that bullying homosexuals can inspire homosexuals to bully others. Especially groups of people whom they feel are weaker than they are.

Today, I will tackle this topic more directly.

For the last month or two, I have taken on a project. I am reading the comment sections on trans related news articles of various media outlets and I am participating in the discussions. I will write about this more in future posts. For now, let me just say it is not for the thin skinned. Internet comment boards are a place where people can feel safe to say the most bigoted and vile things imaginable, even on Facebook, where most people use their real name and even then, they frequently do not hide their bigotry.

Today, I am going to focus on the type of bigotry I have faced during conversations with people who comment when a primarily homosexual news site covers a trans issue. These conversations are usually between me and one or more gay or lesbian posters. After enough encounters, patterns begin to emerge.

I am making a disclaimer because it may be obligatory considering the subject matter. Here goes: The VAST majority of cisgender homosexual people I encounter online and in real life are BEYOND accepting. I support their causes and they support mine. We are all in this together.

This post is going to focus on the bigots. Yes, I have seen plenty of shameful bigotry within the trans community as well. There are rotten apples in every barrel. I hope our collective barrels are not spoiled, in spite of the rot.

Ok. End disclaimer.

The two LGBT news feeds I most frequently participate in via their comment sections are, “The Advocate” and, “Gay Star News” via their Facebook feeds. Both are outlets that tend to focus on gay issues the vast majority of the time, followed by lesbian news stories, then bi and trans articles combined getting about 5-10% of their coverage, and the occasional Q,I or A article thrown in to spice things up.

As I run through these examples, I want you to understand, these SAME types of comments popped up frequently, by multiple posters, over multiple comment threads. I am not listing things I saw just once, I am listing things I have seen dozens of times.

The first type of negative comment a trans story will tend to get is: “Why are you guys posting so many trans articles?”

To them, let me personally apologize for taking a teeny tiny sliver of your news outlet pie away from you. It must be hard to have to scroll past one in ten or twenty articles that do not directly relate to you.

These comments are far from the worst a trans person will encounter, but the point is made clear. “Trans news is not worthy of taking space beside their news.”

Then there are the ones who say something like: “Whatever floats your boat, just don’t hit on me.”

To them, let me personally apologize. You must get hit on a lot, so it must be a logical assumption that if the two of us ever came face to face, I would not be able to control my animalistic need to jump your bones. I will do my best to keep myself in check. I apologize in advance though, especially if I screw up.

Their point is made clear. These commentators do not find trans folk attractive and they want the world to know it. Again, far from the worst type of comment you will hear online.

Then there’s this: “There is no such thing as trans. They are just closeted homosexuals.”

To them, let me personally apologize. You caught me. My bad. I am sorry. I just thought it would be SO MUCH easier to land a gay man if I, you know, transitioned to female.

Their point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. Theirs is.

The next example: “My gender is male. I know this because I have a penis!”

To them let me apologize. I’m sorry. I too have a penis, for now at least, and all this time, in spite of my penis, I thought I was trans. I guess I was incorrect. And to think, it was right in front of me all this time!?! Gee! Thanks for the help!

Their point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. Also, these folks can’t be bothered with dictionaries and definitions. To them, gender and sex are exactly the same thing. They are not. Sure, they are used as synonyms on occasion but that is because most people have a gender identity that is in line with their physical sex. Also, they are used as synonyms because not too long ago, the word, “Sex” was considered to be much more vulgar than it is today. Gender was used as a euphemism to take its place. “Shoot” does not really mean, “Shit” but it can take its place as a euphemism. “Darn” does not mean, “Damn”. Aw, fudge it! Read a fucking dictionary! Clearly you have access to the Internet, you are posting to an online discussion. You can use your Google machine to make sure words mean what you plan to insist they mean.

This next one, I call the mansplaining cisplainer: “Nope. There is natural born male and female. Period. Case closed. And don’t bother appealing to the Mother Nature Court of Appeals because your case is dead on arrival.”

To him, let me apologize. I am sorry. I should have a better understanding of sex and gender, what with being trans and all. Oops.

His point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. He is here, to explain things to me, because I am a trans woman, and therefore, I am obviously not smart enough to grasp such things. Posts like this almost always begin with words like, “No.” or, “Nope” then go on to say things much like what I have already said myself minus the bigotry. So not only am I invalid in his eyes, my posts are not even worth reading by him before he replies to them, because he assumes he magically knows what I would say without reading it, and that is good enough for him.

This next one is often related to the one above, the same kind of person often falls into both categories: “Don’t call me, ‘Cisgender’ that is a slur!”

To them, let me personally apologize. I am sorry. It is hard talking about trans issues without a word to describe people who are not trans. I promise I do not intend it as a slur. “Cisgender” or, “Cis” means, “Non-trans”. If only you homosexuals had a word to describe people who are not homosexual. You know, those normal, non-homosexual people? It must be so difficult for you without a simple word to describe those people who are attracted to the opposite sex.

His point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. How dare I use a scientific word that means exactly what I think it means to correctly label a person who is not trans?

Then there is this type of comment: “If you were born thinking you could pretend to be a woman, then what is to keep me from saying I was born believing I am a mermaid/dragon/dog… etc.?”

To them, I offer this apology: I am sorry. That is an old joke. It was moderately funny the first time I heard it 8-10 years ago on, “South Park” when Kyle’s dad decided he would finally transition into a dolphin since he was born believing in his heart that he truly was one. The joke has since lost its luster. I see a variation of it in almost every single comment thread about a trans topic. Get some new material.

Their point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. It is a joke. You see, they too can pretend to be someone or some thing they are not. If you want, you can look at how I recently took down a person who claimed to be born Batman, see my last blog post.

The last two types of comments are complex. They are hard to summarize in one post, as they unfold through sometimes lengthy conversations.

The first type is the worst: The passive aggressive, bigot in denial. This person will stoop to almost any level. They will insult a trans person’s name, looks, gender identity, they may even mock a trans person’s feelings of dysphoria or suicidal thoughts. They are often subversive. One example of subversion was a guy who kept saying things like, “Sorry Charlie.” and, “No shit Sherlock!” to me, knowing full well he was calling me by male names, and still, I knew that he would be able to safely deny it if I ever called him out it because, hey, they are just things we say. These folks exhibit true troll like behavior, but they are fully in denial of it. it is like, they are convinced they are doing me a favor, by breaking the bad news to me

Their point is not as clear as others, but it is fascinating. They HATE trans people, but they know better than to just outright say it. They know they will look like a bigot, so they push your buttons in the desperate hope that you snap, say something rude to them, and give them permission to not only openly hate you, but to use you as an example in the future for why they continue to hate on other trans folk. You do not see this tactic much outside of LGBT feeds, but it happens all the freaking time in LGBT feeds. I guess people who have faced oppression themselves, know better than to be overtly bigoted, but my God! If you dare show ANY defensive emotion in response to their comments, they will let you have it. They want permission to show their hatred, but you have to take the bait first.

This last type is unique and also evolves and emerges over a long discussion. This type of person is abrasive and rude to you from the get go but underneath, you begin to see their compassion, respect and intelligence. They are like older siblings. They may play too rough at times, but they know the world is not for the weak, especially if you are LGBT. They have been there before and they want to help you climb to new heights.

Their point is harsh, but sound. The only problem is, sometimes they fail to realize that trans folk can have different types of triggers than cisgender homosexuals and therefore, they might cause a dysphoric bout in a trans person without realizing it or intending to do so.

That is it. These are the most common forms of bigotry I encounter on LGBT discussion boards. They happen all the time. I will be writing another post soon where I will give some tips and tricks to having a higher percentage of positive encounters when you are stupid enough to read the comments.

Until then, aloha,

Tori

D.C. vs. Marvel

I have officially won the Internet. Thanks for playing.

Discussing trans health care in a comment thread for a news page, someone sarcastically stated: “I am Batman, I have always known. I want the government to pay for my costume.”

I could not resist. I had to reply: “We all know who you really are, Mr. Wayne. You can afford your own costume. Hell, just from the taxes you pay on the interest you earn, you could buy costumes for the poorest 98%.

It is a false analogy though. You are making a joke, but nobody, not even you, is born Batman, Mr. Wayne. You decided to become The Dark Knight after the childhood trauma of seeing your parents murdered in cold blood. Everybody knows that.

I was born trans.

Perhaps Superman would be a better analogy, but then again, he was just a baby named Kal-El from the planet Krypton. He did not get his powers until he was exposed to the power of our Sun… so not the best analogy either.

I was born trans.

Let’s try Marvel… D.C. Is not working out.

Spider-Man? Nope. Radioactive spider bite.

Thor? Captain America? Hulk? Nope. Nope. Nope.

Perhaps one of the X-Men. While I resent being compared to a mutant, they were born that way and let’s be honest, I too AM an ex man!

There’s your analogy, Mr. Wayne, free of charge. When comparing yourself to a trans woman by using a comic book/superhero analogy, go with the X-Men. Marvel wins. You’re welcome.”

Tori Barton won the Internet on the day of, April 6, 2015. You are lucky to know me. That is all.

Homosexuals vs. Trans

Being accepted as trans can be a struggle, even amongst the LGBT community. Much of it is rooted in miscommunication and misunderstanding. It is ironic how much understanding transition brings me, at the cost of others failing to understand me as a trans woman.

It really does not matter if you are in a minority or in the majority, bullying begets bullying, and trans folk fall so low on the discriminatory totem pole, there are not many people left to bully but our own self. Walk a mile in my heels and you will understand, I am sure. Then again, I bet most of you know better, because society has already told you what the general consensus happens to be when it comes to trans folk like me.

For my own safety, I have begrudgingly lumbered like a bull dyke back into my China closet. I HATE it, but I am insolvent, unemployed, and I do not know enough about the community I have moved to, to go in guns a blazin’, and paint the town trans. Fortunately my head is in a good place, so the need to hide myself externally is not overwhelming my ability to be myself internally. I guess guy clothes are like my burka right now.

I hate it. I have made so much progress this last year, only to be set back like this, and there is nothing I can really do about it right now. I have to bide my time and hide my shame.

Now, several people have told me, “Nobody is stopping you.” including my wife. I appreciate what they are saying and I appreciate the support.

I am just learning to trust my female intuition and it tells me this is neither the time nor the place to be flamboyant with my transition. I am stuck here, out of necessity, and by God, it better be short term.

I overheard a conversation last night where a guy was talking about how he’d recently been hit on by a gay man. Everybody with him rolled their eyes in understanding. He went on to say the gay guy came up to him like, “‘Hi-ee, what are YOU doing here?'” in a stereotypically effeminate voice, “So, I set him straight.” he went on to say.

My first thought was, “Well, I doubt you set him STRAIGHT.” and my next, “What does that even mean? Set him straight? Did you reject him or beat the shit out of him?” then, “Does this gap-toothed douche-nozzle even know the difference between being hit on, and someone just trying to spark a conversation?” and finally, “Is he just saying this because I am near, and he can tell I do not fit the norm?”

Intuition.

The need for men to be masculine here, is ingrained in the culture.

I heard similar things in Hawaii, but only rarely and typically in hushed tones. Here, that type of thinking gets socially reinforced by folks all the time, to the point where gays stay underground, and still there are pricks so insecure in their masculinity, that they have to prove how un-gay they are by telling stupid stories like that one. I mean, how dare that gay guy even talk to him!?!

And I realize, homosexual people frequently disregard trans folk while trans folk are left looking up to them on the fucking discrimination totem pole. It is time to say the obligatory, “Not all homosexuals.” I have SO many supportive people in my life and many of them are so far from straight, they look like a spiral.

I also realize, within this group that guy was telling his story to, was one very good looking female. Sure, I could see her agreeing with him, at least externally, but I imagined she was also thinking, “Get over it, dude. I get unwanted advances all the time and I have to navigate them without being seen as a total bitch!”

But yeah, in past posts, including one about the TERFS (trans exclusionary radical feminists) and another about the use of the word, “Tranny” in gay circles, I have already explored how there are some very vocal groups within the homosexual community who are happy to keep trans people below them. Bullying begets bullying.

In spite of all this horse shit, I am discovering something. Unlike that homophobic turd, I am finally and totally secure in my own masculinity. I guess that is an unexpected perk of finally embracing my true femininity. It is a luxury most men, including many gay men, may never have.

Aloha,
Tori

G.I. Jane

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently went on record as being in favor of allowing trans personnel to serve openly in the American armed forces and went on to say President Obama is also in favor. This is the most progressive move since his predecessor, Secretary Hagel, said he thought the idea of trans folk serving openly was worth looking into.

Now, I saw the news posted on a national media website and made a mistake. I looked at the comments.

Internet comment sections entice me, especially when trans folk are the subject. Many trans people have learned to avoid comment sections entirely as they can be quite triggering, and to be honest, they are. I get triggered into responding to idiots at the expense of sleep.

Comment sections really can be a great way to change people’s minds about certain issues. It is a way to converse with someone you do not know. Of course, there are people who are just there for the LOLs, there are people who are just trying to troll in an inflammatory way, and there are just plain idiots. The idiots are easily spotted by their spelling, grammar and/or overuse of caps lock. When it comes to trans issues, there are also a lot of Christians who feel the need to opine judgmentally. Comments from any of these types of people are easily glossed over, although, sometimes you can still sway their opinions.

The people to look for are the ones who make logical points but still disagree with you. They are worth their weight in gold. They may think about what you say . They may change their minds. Sometimes it is worth being out and communicating to strangers.

In the case of trans folk in the military, there are some decent arguments against… at least from the perspective of a fairly intelligent person who knows little about being trans or serving in the military.

I am noticing some interesting trends in the comment sections. People in these discussions frequently think ALL trans people have had or will have the surgery. They frequently think trans women will have to share bathrooms and showers with men, which ironically, is how things happen now. They also frequently think all trans people want to be women,

On a side note, there are an estimated 15,000 trans troops currently serving. They can serve, they just can not serve openly. If they come out, they are considered mentally unfit to serve because the military considers being trans a disqualifying mental disorder. Let me repeat, trans people already serve in the military. If being trans is a mental disorder, then the military still has it backwards, the dysphoria that can come with being trans is often cured by transition. Keeping trans people closeted is the worst way to keep them sane.

Let’s look at convicted leaker Chelsea Manning. I find it quite interesting that when she was known as Bradley, and she knew something others did not know, and it would cost her a job if she came out and said it, in spite of thinking that telling everybody was the right thing to do… the parallels are kinda’ uncanny. I can’t help but wonder if her secret trans life was the straw that broke her back. Admittedly, her example is troubling. The most famous trans person in the military is in prison.

The oddest thing? She is still enlisted. They can’t discharge her and still send her to military prison. She will be dismissed upon release, I imagine. The second oddest thing? She recently was given permission to get hormone replacement therapy, while being in prison and still serving, making her one of the first, if not the very first of the active duty soldiers to be allowed to come out and be treated medically for being trans.

Of course, Manning has tarnished the trans name for many military personnel. She is the first person they think of and she is an example of doing the opposite of what a soldier is supposed to do with confidential military intelligence. Why couldn’t the trans poster child for the military be one of the Navy Seals who helped get Bin Laden or something? Ever heard of Kristin Beck? She was one of the Navy Seals who helped get Bin Laden. She transitioned after leaving the military.

Which brings me to this: The VA treats trans vets. They give trans vets hormones. The military is already well aware they have a bunch of trans folk working for them. If they serve and retire while remaining closeted they get treatment in spite of knowing full well they were, “Unfit to serve” and keeping it secret, or even lying about it until it did not matter any more.

Studies have concluded that a higher percentage of trans people serve in the military than there are trans people in the general population by as much as 300%. Why? It has to do with masculinity. The military is seen as a masculine job. Femininity in our culture is frowned upon, especially among males. Men are taught to be masculine and teach each other to remain so. Women are taught that it is okay to be masculine or a Tom boy. So, trans men join as women because it is a place where they can be masculine and trans women join as men to overcompensate for their feminine side. The military already serves as a noble refuge for closeted trans folk of any gender.

I understand the trans female perspective first hand, so I totally understand why they would join, thinking it may help repress those trans and dysphoric feelings. Thinking it would hide their inner female from friends and family. Many trans soldiers LOVE their jobs but, dysphoria is a bitch. Military personnel enlist and then they must serve a specific amount of time, honorably, before they earn the benefits they have worked for. So many trans people join and then see that deadline they have to get to, and they realize that the military has not cured their being dysphoric, it has just trapped them and kept them from transitioning for an even longer time, thus amplifying their dysphoria.

The decision to transition comes at different times for every trans person. Many never need to. It does not mean they aren’t trans. But, wow, imagine discovering the primal need to transition three years before your job will allow it, and if you don’t do your job, you will have to explain to people why you were discharged in every job interview for the rest of your life. It just might be enough to cause a person to spill national security secrets…

Many of the strongest arguments against allowing trans folk to serve have to do with the fact that certain medical conditions will exclude a person from joining. The need to take regular medication excludes many from being in the military. Certain surgical procedures can also exempt a person from joining.

As for medicine, hormones can be implanted much like certain types of birth control, only needing to be changed every six or so months. If a trans person is in a combat role, and they need to take regular meds, that could really be an issue, but I don’t know of many combat situations that would go for more than six months without access to modern medicine, unless a soldier is captured, or we are really getting our asses kicked, which are risks all soldiers are already willing to take.

The surgery thing is more difficult. Certain surgeries make a person ineligible to serve because once the surgery is performed there is a risk of complications for the rest of their life, and the military wants to know their soldiers are in proper working order when they join or are drafted.

I will come back to that, but first, there is the shower/locker room/bunking issue. I can see how a trans woman with a penis or a trans man with a vagina could lead to awkward situations, especially during basic training and even in close combat situations. Hell, if you are not trans and the idea makes you feel awkward, rest assured, the idea is at least as awkward to me too.

Which brings me back to surgery. In most sports that allow trans athletes, one of the requirements is typically that they must be post-op. I figure this is because of locker rooms mainly because I am hard pressed to think of a sport that actively and athletically makes use of a person’s junk. Let me know in the comments if you can think of one.

Sports require surgery. So, it does not sound like the type of surgery that leads to complications under stress, after it has healed.

But then, there are the trans folk who are non-op by choice. I can see how that could be uncomfortable for everyone involved, in a forced locker room situation. Bathrooms tend to have stalls. Locker rooms? Bunking situations? Er…

So, I return to a previous point. Trans folk tend to join the military as a way to salve or hide their need to transition. I suspect there will be very few people joining the military mid transition. Transition is enough work. The vast majority of trans folk will come out during their service. Some would join post transition. Few would enlist mid transition, because we don’t want to force any of the problems that would complicate an already complicated time of life.

So many cisgender people think trans folk transition in part because they WANT to show their junk to other people. I understand. That is what happens when all you know about trans people comes from accidental clicks on porn sites.

The fact is trans people do not generally want to make a big deal about bathrooms or their junk. It is the cisgender folks who seem to dwell on that part of transition. I understand. That part of transition is the weirdest part to someone lucky enough to have a brain that matches their body. It fascinates and often enough, repulses cis folk. Kind of like televised car chases.

So, the majority of trans folk who are or will be in the military, likely will not come out until after they join. By then, they will have been trained and specialized. Our soldiers are generally smart enough to know that if they are incapable of doing an assigned task, they will be removed from that task.

If a soldier needs surgery, they are treated. If they can not recover fully, they are honorably discharged or reassigned. If they need to take regular medication, they are given the same treatment, depending on the condition.

People forget, most military jobs are not on the front lines. Most jobs can be done by trans people without even dealing with the locker room issues.

Can you honestly say that a pilot with combat experience should have their honor and training negated because they are trans? Who wins there? Our military is just stuck needing to invest in another, less experienced pilot.

So, if our military truly wants the best person for each job, some of those people are going to be trans and, they will be even better if they are allowed to serve openly.

Story time. I had to register for the draft because I was male. I was 25 on 9/11. I still had over one year left. Like many people my age, I knew the draft might be instated at any time. Had I been drafted, I would have served. I just knew, being trans, that I could not in good conscious enlist. It would be based on a lie but still, I seriously considered enlisting.

So back to the comment sections on the Internet, when I make a point about this topic, former military, knowing I am trans and out, tend to reply with something like, “Well, you have never served so what the fuck do you know?”

At those times, I tell them no, I have not, I just had a front row seat on 9/11. Depending on how rude and transphobic they were, I have even asked some of them how many Americans they have seen die with their own eyes because I sure as Hell know I saw more. In a way, I was drafted on that day. We all were.

One final note, trans people can serve openly in federal and federal contracting jobs. There may already be a trans person legally taking a leak in the stall next to a cisgender officer in Afghanistan, even as you are reading this. It is no big deal.

Aloha,
Tori

p.s. Take a chance to change a mind in a comment section some time. Feel free to be OUT there trans peeps! Some people really need the help.

Boobs 3: Super Size Me

My posts about boobs have received the most hits of anything I have published on this blog, so like Hollywood, I figure I’ll cash in and make another sequel.

Before transition, I read many blogs and watched a number of v-logs about transition, and I confess, I was not that interested in what they had to say about life or politics, no matter how much I liked the person making the posts, I wanted to hear about their transition. I wanted to chart their results with hormones. Emotional changes also fascinated me.

Now, I am on the other side. I am transitioning and blogging all about it. I have touched upon all those subjects already, but perhaps it is time to return to them. It is harder to do now.

The fact is, like so many trans bloggers before me, my transition has become my normal life. It has lost much of its new car smell.

So, like those bloggers that have come before me, I have been making the types of posts lately that never really interested me when I was researching transition. I have many types of audiences, many of the people who read this blog are trans, and I have to imagine a large percentage of them are wondering if they should transition and what it feels like.

The profound changes of my first six months have slowed. They have not stopped. Not at all. They have slowed though. Some changes feel like they are done. I feel emotionally female now. That took nine months or so to develop but now I feel like I am there. Now I just have to learn to deal with these emotions which is a skill set I never needed before. I have said it before, but I am saying it again: I now understand why teenage girls are batshit crazy. Those emotions come on fast, and it takes many years of experience to learn how to process them all.

I sometimes argue with my wife before pausing, pointing at myself and saying, “Oh yeah, I am a teenager.” It is something we both forget from time to time, and often it is the only reason we are arguing about something. I am suddenly immature, at least emotionally.

Other changes are just really slow. My body keeps softening, my body hair is reducing and lots of other stuff. Really though, once I noticed it happening, the excitement faded quickly. My body still feels like my body. My mind has time to adjust to these changes as they happen. Every few months I notice how far I have come. Recently I have seen my waist size reducing, or perhaps it is the areas above and below my waist getting bigger, or both. Nevertheless, it was an example of a realization that a LOT has gradually changed and I hadn’t even noticed.

When I look at the fur I could grow on my arms and legs pre transition, I feel like I am looking at someone else. But inside my head, I just feel like me. I don’t really know what I expected, but I guess I thought it would feel different, so drastically different I would feel like a new person. I don’t. I feel like me. I feel more like me than perhaps ever before. It is a wonderful thing. It assures me that transition is a net positive but, in hindsight, it is not as exciting or adventurous as I thought it would feel. Part of me thought I would become someone else. To put it into theatre terminology, I was assigned the role of male at birth, and now I am playing a new role, a female role, but I am the same actor.

I can hardly remember what it felt like before hormone replacement therapy. I don’t wake up in the morning, shocked that I have changed so drastically. Those of you that have gained and/or lost a bunch of weight can probably relate to what I am talking about here. It is gradual, and almost impossible to notice from day to day.

And then, there are my boobs. Holy moly! They are noticeable. Every day. Every hour. I keep having the same thought, “Holy shit! I have tits!” When I wake in the morning, “Yup. Still got boobs.” When I go to bed, “My ladies are cold. I should probably cuddle them to sleep with my warm arms.” When I run, “Ow! Not wearing the right bra.” When I sit too quickly, “Ow! Not wearing the right bra.” When I jump, “Ow! Not wearing the right bra.” When I am wearing the right bra, “I can’t wait to take this fucking torture device off!” When I accidentally brush a nipple in a public place, “Ooooh, that was nice, should I do it again? Wait. Did anybody notice? Fuck I am nipping out! Stop it ladies!”

Speaking of nipples. They keep growing and getting more and more erogenous. I still can’t quite describe the feeling. It is sort of like feeling cold, but just on your nipple, but the cold feeling is wonderful and other feelings radiate outward to interesting places.

I had often heard that trans women could expect to have a cup size that was roughly one size smaller than their mother. It is true that trans women often have smallish breasts, but after some research, it seems that is more because most of us transition after puberty and already have our male frames. We are generally taller and have wider torsos.

Boob size is genetic and you have to look at BOTH sides of the family, and not just mom and dad. Sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmas. That may give you a rough estimate of what to expect, but even then, it is just the luck of the draw on top of it all. And again, genetic females tend to have smaller frames which can cause their breasts to appear bigger than a comparably endowed trans woman’s.

Recently, trans children are being put on puberty blocking medication if their parents allow it, and they are able to go through puberty when they start hormone therapy without having the residual effects of another puberty. Trans men grow tall and wide, trans women get their hips and small shoulders and remain shorter in general.

So, yes, a B cup on a 6′ 1″ trans woman with wide shoulders will be harder to notice than if they were 5′ 2″ with the proper proportions. They are still B cup breasts.

Well, sigh… at last measurement, I am a 38 D and still growing. On my 5′ 7″ frame, I have knockers and they are obvious.

They are pretty much impossible to hide if I want to hide them and sometimes I do. I present androgynously most of the time just so I don’t have to deal with the hassles of trans shaming in public, and while I am gendered male most of the time in those situations, I am getting used to strangers talking to my chest with a slightly confused look on their face.

In Montana, strangers are generally nicer to me when they think I am andro than when they think I am a trans woman, even when I have obvious breasts. Small town people are funny.

On a side note, one major thing I have noticed after moving here and presenting this way most of the time is the lack of female conversation. I was starting to feel at home with my female friends in Hawaii, but as long as I am seen as a straight male, women behave differently around me.

I certainly understand. Here, it gets drunk early, and the frequently intoxicated men will talk to anyone, male or female, and tell them what they think. There is a danger in the air. Most of it is just youthful hooliganism. It is clear though, that you have to be careful around here. It is more socially acceptable to mistreat women in public here than where I was. I have seen the occasional lesbian couple but gays are noticeably absent, at least so far. Basically, my desire to present as my female self does not trump my need for safety as I learn the unique quirks of the place we now live. It will not become our permanent residence. I can probably wait it out, or at least learn the ropes of this town before I out myself.

Back to boobs. Wow! They are no joke. The funny thing is, they are a big deal and no big deal at the same time. They really just sit there all fatty and squishy. They are not on my mind ALL the time, but when they are, they are just SO quintessentially female. I can’t deny it. Others can’t deny it.

They are boobs. They have milk glands. They have leaked before. I could nurse if I had the right hormones running through me, and some trans women do this to ween their children, which I am sure weirds some of you readers out but really, when you think about it, that is just using boobs for what they are there to be used for. Trans breast milk is just breast milk.

To be fair, the leakage I experienced was not exactly milk, but rather, a common discharge from my developing glands and ducts. It was cool and surreal. I could probably still make it happen if I squeezed one hard enough, but they are now so large and soft it HURTS too much. Also, I have been warned by other trans women not to get in the habit of making them leak or they will just learn to keep leaking and that could get embarrassing.

Here’s something to ponder: Growing boobs HURT. They don’t hurt ALL the time, but any kind of pressure on them will bring pain. Hugs can hurt. Bumping into things hurts. Sleeping on my belly hurts.

The pain typically means they are growing. I have talked to many cis women who say their breasts hurt as they developed, and several who said theirs did not. Trans women seem to be MUCH more likely to experience growing pains in their breasts. I wonder why. Does having a male chest for all those years lead to extra breast pain during development?

I have noticed that when I am running low on estrogen and need a new shot, the pain greatly reduces only to return again a day or two after the shot.

Some women say the pain never really goes away but most say it fades quite a bit after they have reached their mature size. In other words, the pain means they are still growing. There is something oddly comforting about that, but then again, at this point, it is also frightening.

I used to worry if the pain left for a few days, “Oh no! Is that it? Are they done growing?” Now, well, they can stop growing, thanks. I am at the size where I can see them becoming quite an annoyance if they don’t settle down soon. At the same time, I am vain enough to think, “Well, one more cup size would be nice.” Really though, I am starting to understand why well endowed women complain so much about their breasts, the weight, the looks, the way people treat them because of their hooters. It is quite humbling to be on the precipice of joining the big breasted club. It was humbling when modestly endowed cis women started complaining that my breasts were larger than theirs. I still have a fairly large belly and yet, my boobs stick out more. The width of my torso causes my breasts to rest a bit more to the sides than most women’s. Besides that, they are really looking like normal boobs now.

My wife recently took a picture of them (it was deleted immediately after I saw it, no pics for you) because she wanted me to see them from her angle. All I can say is, “Wow!” I had no idea. They really do look different from the fixed perspective of my head. From her perspective, they were unmistakably what they are. Boobs.

I see them in my shadow, altering how I look. I see them in the mirror although I am almost always standing and facing myself which makes them look less three dimensional.

I have boobs. This fact is changing my life. I am surprised at how much it does.

I always said, I didn’t care what size I got. I would not get a breast augmentation surgery because I feared I would lose sensation, a fear I have with gender reassignment surgery too, but I am still leaning towards having that part done. Boobs are real and female. My penis does not have that authenticity, not to me. I just never thought I would be on the cusp of breast reduction surgery, if I needed to have them surgically augmented.

I ended up in a bit of an argument at a trans online forum when I told them my cup size was a D at 12 months. One of the trans ladies did not believe me. Refused to believe me. She swore it was not medically possible. Not only is it possible, it happened to me! Full disclosure, I still prefer C cup bras because I fill them more symmetrically but the measurements (both my wife and a professional) read D or slightly larger.

I made a comment about my breasts last night to my wife and she said to me something like, “I really didn’t pay as much attention to my development.” I found this very interesting and enlightening. I guess to her, growing boobs was just expected. Inevitable. Perhaps a rite of passage. They are more to me. They are a miracle. I spent too much of my life thinking they could never happen. Not without magic. Now I have them. They are real, they are spectacular, and they ain’t done yet.

Aloha,
Tori

Bathrooms: Number Two

Sorry about my last post. Well, not too sorry. It is fun to joke about things once in a while. Sometimes a situation is so ridiculous, you have to look at it from a crazy perspective just to shine a light on it. Bathrooms are silly and bathroom politics are too.

I have talked quite a bit about bathrooms in past posts but I have never really talked about them exclusively. Well, today is our lucky day.

As the famous lead singer of R.E.M., Michael Stipe once sang:

Everybody poops
Sometimes

Transition is a trip. People who are not trans are lucky in some ways and they are missing out in others. Sure, I have my bad days but I also have gloriously good days, which were rare pre-transition. You really get a fascinating look into human behavior from the male, female and in between perspectives. The in between part is where I feel I reside right now. I knew going in that there would likely be an awkward phase where I was neither seen as particularly male or female. Life on either side of that binary is far more simple than in between, but it is also less enlightening. When you live between genders you really learn how much of a joke gender really is.

Bathrooms really drive this point home. What bathroom do I use? Well, I use the one that best corresponds with how I am presenting at the time.

Cisgender people often get confused by the fact that I may present as male on one day then female on another. I tend to socialize as a woman, but I do much of my shopping and other errands as a guy. Why can’t I pick just one? If I want to transition to female, why am I not just being a female full time?

I have several reasons/excuses. I do not have an extensive wardrobe. Just when I was getting there, I moved to Montana from Hawaii and all my clothes changed from just clothing to Summer clothing. They don’t work in Winter. My current wardrobe is lacking but improving. What else? Well, being female is a LOT of work. I am far from a prissy type of trans woman but I still have to focus on things most women take for granted like walking or gestures. I surprised many by coming out. People tended to see me as male and I fit the part. I still do. I fit it better than I fit the female role. It is easier to be male for me, at least right now. I don’t like this fact but it is what it is. Another reason? I have convinced myself that I am doing the public a small service by being gender fluid. It makes people think.

The main reason though? Bathrooms. They now really cause me a great deal of stress and anxiety. To top it off, one of my medications, Spironolactone, causes water to pass through me faster than I can drink it. This means, I have to make frequent potty stops. It used to be that I would use a bathroom in a supermarket like once or twice a year at most. Now it is almost once or twice a week. I have to sit on an aisle at theaters in case I need to get up and go. This is particularly embarrassing at plays, where the performances are live.

People see me get up and head for the restroom. I feel them watching me wondering which room I will enter. I know it weirds them out. It weirds me out too.

On days where I will be out for a good while, running errands and whatnot, I almost always go as a male or I present androgynously. I know it confuses people. This allows me to use the men’s room if I have to go. Honestly, few things can ruin my day like someone making a rude comment about me, while I am in a stall in the women’s room. Nobody ever has. Still, I fear it SO much.

In Hawaii, bathroom laws were VERY liberal. I could pick a room based upon my mood. In Montana, it can depend on which town I am in. There are also a lot more guns, and a culture of WHITE. I have lived most of my life as a white male, and yet, I get nervous around cultures dominated by my kind. The diversity of Hawaii or New York is much more comforting to me. Montana has a very Libertarian attitude towards most things, “Don’t fuck with my shit and I won’t fuck with yours.” which is not bad for a trans person, but the utter lack of diversity makes it feel impossible for me to blend in. That is an exhausting way to live.

When I present as female here, I always have one eye behind my back. I know many women reading this are thinking, “Well, duh! All women feel that way.” and I understand. Women have to deal with unwanted advances and the threat of sexual assault. I sometimes fear for my life in public places. This is new to me. Not only are trans people more likely than almost anyone to attempt or commit suicide, they are also incredibly likely to be physically assaulted, sexually assaulted and/or murdered. Especially trans women. Most of all, trans women who are minorities. Well, I am white, so there is that, but when I live in a state where white is the primary color, being trans makes me stand out. This place gives me the heebie jeebies sometimes. Where I currently live, homosexuals tend to stay underground. If gays and lesbians are underground here, I feel they may have a good reason to do so. I can only stay underground if I present as a male. I do not aspire to doing this my whole life, but in this environment… eeeeep! I hope we move somewhere else soon.

Shame is universal. There is a LOT of shame that simply comes with being trans. I waited 37 years to transition because of shame. I do not present as female full time because of shame. I fear bathrooms because of shame.

The shame of being trans is a huge burden at times. It has lessened greatly with hormones but it is still present and I worry. I worry about my safety, yes, but I also worry about others around me. I can easily feel like dead weight, an embarrassment. Why would anyone want to hang out in public with an eyesore like me?

Damn bathrooms! I use the women’s room when I am presenting female and you know what? It is remarkably similar to the men’s room. What’s most surreal, is using the women’s room at a place where I used to go as a guy. The layout is almost always mirrored and sometimes the paint is different, like pink stalls instead of blue, which I imagine most readers already knew. Neither room is glamorous. People do much the same types of things. Women get a bit more privacy at the expense of having fewer toilets. I sometimes have to wait with the rest of the women in lines, although I hate lines for different reasons than most women. The longer I am in line, the more chances people have to object to my being there, which is just awful. I feel the worst when I am in line with children and their parents. I can’t help but imagine what they are thinking, so I end up thinking those things for them.

I have many friends who have been sexually abused, most of them female.

I guess what I am saying here is: I understand why lawmakers in conservative states are trying to pass laws to keep trans people out of restrooms. The fear they feel about someone like me using a female restroom is irrational and there are very, very, very few cases of people impersonating women to get in a restroom to assault a woman but it is still a fear, much like the fear I feel by being myself in Montana. We already have laws against assault, we already have laws against lewd behavior, we already have laws against rape. A law, preventing me from using a female restroom would be redundant for all the reasons one might reasonably think it could be useful.

The unreasonable reason such a law would be passed is people don’t understand enough about why anyone would transition. Many think it is a kink or perversion. They want me out of the women’s room and back in the men’s room. I already live with enough shame. More than enough. Such laws would only reinforce my shame.

People really think weird things about trans folk. They often think we are sexually deranged. In reality, my naughtiest thoughts are so mundane, people would fall asleep to them. It doesn’t help that hormone therapy has almost killed my sex drive. I get the warm tingles from acts of romance and love. What does not turn me on is hearing the woman in the stall next to me taking a turd.

I feel like I stand out like a sore thumb. Most early transitioners feel this way, so while I understand why someone may wish to keep me out of the women’s room, I feel much safer there, especially in establishments where alcohol is being served. If I really wanted to assault women, I could think of far better places than the bathroom, and I could think of far less conspicuous presentations than as an obvious and awkward trans female.

Cisgender readers, ask yourself, “Have you ever been in a public place and seen a trans person? Did you feel uncomfortable?”

Be honest.

I am trans and I can answer yes to both of those questions. There was a trans woman who used to eat lunch at a cafe by the University of Hawaii where I would hang out if I needed to kill time and her presence made me very uncomfortable. She was SO obvious. Tall, extremely masculine face, WAY too much makeup, terrible posture, and she dressed like someone thirty years younger than she was. I was extremely uncomfortable whenever she was there. I also felt terribly hypocritical for thinking those thoughts. Once, I noticed her get up and head towards the restrooms and I watched her walk the whole way just to see which one she used.

I never thought to say anything to her. I spent a lot of time just gawking critically and feeling uncomfortable in her presence.

This woman was brave enough to transition well before I did. She never came there with friends, and her fashion sense, now that I think about it probably reflected the lack of support and advice she was getting from others. It reflected her shame.

I worked at a Waikiki swimming pool and I remember the terrible comments my co-workers would make any time someone looked even remotely trans.

Unless I learn to blend in, and that is NOT easy, I will make people uncomfortable by my very presence and that does not mean those people are just simple minded bigots. That is the hard, honest truth. My presence can make people think, and some of those thoughts may disturb them. Sometimes I embrace this new fact of my life and sometimes I get tired just thinking about it. It is kinda’ cool, having the power to make people question gender with my very presence. Not quite a superpower, but still…

That trans woman I used to see at the cafe? She brought out the transphobia in me. She also taught me by her very presence. I learned a bit about how to dress appropriately, to be understated with makeup, and to keep my friends close so I could lean on them for advice and protection. She taught me not to transition into HER. She opened my eyes to what my life would likely become if I was not careful… and perhaps, even if I was. She taught me humbling lessons but she did not stop me from transitioning.

It is just… I hate to say it… I understand the bathroom thing. It should be simpler than it is. Not knowing what the bathrooms will be like frequently keeps me from going out as a female. In spite of getting a slight thrill from freaking out the squares, I don’t want them to worry about their restrooms because of me. Restrooms should be taken for granted and I often enough put my transition on hold just so others can continue to have that luxury.

I do not need a, “Papers please” bathroom law. Trans people in general don’t. A certain percentage of cisgender people need such laws, or think they do, so they won’t have to worry about thinking certain dark and nasty thoughts when I walk into a room with them. I understand. My superpower can cause people to think things they would rather never think. They would rather live in a simpler world. A world of just men and women. Nothing in between. They would rather brush folks like me under the rug. It is not their intent to shame me. They just want to avoid having their own shameful thoughts.

I kind of envy folks like that. It seems so simple. They want laws in place to reduce the number of times they think things that make them feel ashamed. Really though, if lawmakers spent more time feeling ashamed of themselves, and asking themselves why they feel that way, they would do a much better job.

Aloha,
Tori

Bathrooms: Number One

It is time I came clean. I am not really transgender. I always knew the day would come when lawmakers like Fla. State Representative Frank Artiles (R) would see through my ruse and decide to propose legislation that will protect the sanctity of bathrooms from progressive thinkers like me. His law would make it illegal for trans people to use restrooms that correspond with their gender. In other words, I could be fined, jailed or both for using the woman’s room if this bill passes. At least in Florida.

I hatched my plan decades ago. All I had to do was feign dysphoria, struggle with addiction, attempt suicide, come out to my friends and family, convince psychological and medical professionals I was trans, get my blood tested, start hormone replacement therapy and wait for the hormones to start showing some results, become sterile, grow boobs, get my beard lasered off, learn to apply makeup, buy a bunch of new clothing, lose my muscle definition, work on my posture and voice, start this blog, give up my male privilege… etc. and after all that, I would be able to go into the women’s room whenever I wanted, you know, just to hang out and pick up chicks.

The beauty of my plan was its simplicity.

Ah well…

It was fun while it lasted… hiding in stalls, waiting for just the right woman to step inside. Not just any woman, mind you, I had to reject many and just keep waiting. Imagine their disappointment, the ones I rejected. After opening a stall door (keep the door unlocked, this is key) and discovering the majestic me, in all my glory, hunched on a toilet seat like a sexy gargoyle, so neither my head nor my feet were visible, only to be sent on her way to look for another stall, an empty stall, because she was not good enough for me. It was worth it though, because eventually, sometimes minutes, sometimes hours later, the perfect woman would enter my stall.

At these times, I typically like to start with a joke. Something to win her heart, “Hey baby, you come here often?” or sometimes a line even more clever than that.

Every time I have done this, the woman of my choosing swoons and moves to me for an intoxicating embrace, immediately forgetting why she came into the bathroom in the first place. She’s under my spell, at least until I reject her a few days later and go back to work, stalking female restrooms for my next.

It is so simple, my plan. Elegant. Seductive. Effective.

At least it WAS, until Representative Asshat, and others like him decided to ruin it for people like me.

I guess it is time to give it up, before I get into legal trouble. Hard to imagine after all this time, there were never any laws already in place to protect people who use restrooms from this type of behavior…

So, I am sorry to my friends, family and wife. I am sorry to all the followers of this blog. I misled all of you, just so I could use the women’s restroom… and I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for these meddling lawmakers.

It is time to pack up my dresses and makeup and donate them to some worthy cause. It is time to stop taking my hormones. It is time to return to life as a man.

Aloha,
Steve

No Man’s Land

I recently moved back to the mainland with my wife. I for the most part think location makes little difference on one’s state of mind. It is possible to be miserable in Hawaii and it is possible to be blissful in North Korea.

And yet, this has been a tough move. I have been uprooted. My wife knows people here, she grew up here, I am new. I feel like a burden.

Usually when I post, I like to focus on the positive and interesting aspects of transition but I am not feeling it today.

Today, I feel like a freak, living life between what everybody else seems to fall into. Transition often leaves me wondering, “What the fuck am I?”

In spite of my dysphoria, life as a man was pretty damn simple. I knew where I fit in. I didn’t like it particularly but I knew my lot in life.

Now, as a person in transition, I have given up the comfort of being male. It isn’t like I can just slide into being female, no matter how much I wish I could. It is a literal no man’s land.

Transition is such a mental thing. People focus on the physical far too much. Let’s face it, almost everybody is fascinated and repulsed by the surgery.

People do not usually ask me if I plan on having the surgery. It is far more common that I am asked things like, “Do you want to chop your dick off?”

Think about that for a moment. What kind of loaded question is that?

People focus on the physical.

“Why would you transition to become a middle aged lady?”

“You won’t be pretty.”

Gaaaaa!!!

It is people’s comments, not my looks that can keep me up at night.

“I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Whatever floats your boat.”

Thanks for the backhanded support… comments like this are frequent. Roughly translated it means, “I think it is weird what you are doing and I am judging you for doing it but I won’t get in your way. Don’t look to me for help either.” Thanks.

Some days I just don’t want the hassle. I want to blend in. Some days, I like being different and standing out, which is a good thing because that is my current lot in life. It can be SO taxing though.

My God! Any cisgender people reading this blog, try this for me. Tell everyone you meet that you are the opposite gender that people see you as. Do it for one day. Be diligent. Insist people call you by the correct pronouns.

I know none of you will do this. It is too much of a hassle. It is an inconvenience to all the people around you. It would make you feel weird.

Welcome to my life. I am in a bizarre situation where I just have to let it slide if someone calls me Tommy or he. It would be rude of me to correct them every time. It would make those people uncomfortable and defensive. It would make them feel like I do every single day.

Living in a new place, trying to make a new life, really drives the point home. I am an imposition.

Obviously, I am not supposed to give a fuck. Just live life. The less I care the less others care but that shit takes practice. It is mentally taxing until I get the hang of it.

Some days I just don’t want do deal with it.

There is so much bullshit involved in being female. Imagine getting your crash course in being female at 40. Imagine being a woman with an asterisk.

There is a long way for me to go. It isn’t always rainbows and sprinkles.

Thanks for reading, I feel a bit better now.

Aloha,
Tori

When Did I Know I Was Trans*?

At five years old

I was putting my baby sister’s

diapers on.

I saw her vagina.

I wanted one.

I wanted one.

– Eve Ensler

The Vagina Monologues

 

I’ve quoted this portion of Eve Ensler’s play because it really sums up the realization I had at a very young age, although I had no sister. I was an only child. Many details surrounding my realization are hazy as they tend to be with early memories, because so many of the details surrounding the event were incomprehensible at that age and therefore, not stored away like other more mature memories.

Also, worth noting, I was a very sick child. I probably would not be alive today if it were not for modern medicine, but I also would likely have clearer memories from my early years had I not been on some pretty hard drugs for quite some time.

In ancient times, the combination of my early illness which I overcame, combined with my non-binary gender, would have made me a great candidate for a shamanistic position within the tribe. Instead, I became an actor. But hey, a storyteller and a shaman were not that different in ancient times. Both were unique and valued positions within a community and they stood outside the typical hunters and gatherers. I am hard wired differently than most people, and it is frequently misunderstood in these modern times.

As I transition, my ability to see things from multiple viewpoints has increased exponentially. Male and female, liberal and conservative, religious and secular, all these things and why they lead to silly conflict that could easily be avoided are becoming as easy for me to read as a Dick and Jane story.

If only my own inner conflicts were as easy to decipher.

The human mind does not grasp the concept of gender until 3-5 years old. Most trans people realize they are different during this window of time, although a fair percentage learn later, around puberty, and a few learn even later still. The vast majority make the discovery before the age of eighteen. The amazing thing is in spite of this realization most remain closeted. It is as if, as soon as they know they are different, they also realize that their difference will not easily be accepted by the society around them. Typically, a society that has already told them time and again that they are a boy or a girl and nothing in between. Even 3-5 year olds come to this rather complex conclusion.

Perhaps society has become so large, global even, that the collective hive is more important than the individual who is unique. Perhaps that is a good thing in many cases. We can’t have people who disagree with the meaning of traffic lights and one way streets on our roads without increasing the mortality rate of others.

I have a deep respect for religion. It serves a purpose. I am also one who tends to look at things from a secular perspective, especially when it comes to concepts like society and gender, things most people silently agree upon even though they often enough do not realize these very things are completely conceptual. The only reason society is real is because most people agree to live within it. Same goes for gender.

I know some of you are already in disagreement, and that is one of the fun things about having a blog. You can disagree with me all you want, but the post remains. I will appreciate any comments after this post and will respond if further clarification is needed. So much time is spent on the Internet trying to prove yourself right at the expense of others. It can be a delightful waste of time.

Why is gender conceptual? Well, those of you who read this blog regularly already might have a hunch where I am going with this. Gender lives between the ears. I am the gender I think I am, and I am also the gender others think I am. That means I can simultaneously be both male and female within the concept of gender. Physical sex works differently and legal sex works differently too, although legal sex, like gender, is conceptual. Physical sex is based in gonads and chromosomes. Legal sex is based in a societally agreed upon piece of paper. Gender is invisible. One could argue it does not really exist at all, outside the mind. It is both a complex concept, and yet one most of society agreed upon at a very young age without even realizing it. If you see a woman, you gender them female. If you were to learn that they have or had a penis, that they are chromosomally male, it might change your opinion about their gender or it might not. Because gender is a concept, it works on a spectrum even though most people see it in black and white or ones and zeros, which is known as the gender binary. Gender fluidity is a thing, because people can present as they will, or even change their own opinions from day to day or moment to moment about who or what they, or someone else happens to be.

As for religion, I find it to be one of the most useful constructs within society and also one of the most harmful. People like to be right. Religion is yet another place where people can convince themselves of how right and righteous they are. The most adamant are frequently the most polarizing and incorrect in the eyes of others.

And yet, humans have a huge capacity for spirituality. Spirituality as a concept is as important as society or gender, it is one of those things we agree upon often without knowing it. What is spirituality? It is belief in spirits. What are spirits? They are things that exist, but not in a tangible form. Concepts like society and gender are by their very nature, spiritual. They only exist in the mind or the collective knowledge we share. We live in a world based on, from the cornerstone to the roof, intangible spirits that we agree upon in order to construct a society.

Homer Simpson is a spirit, he is intangible and exists only because people agree, therefore reifying him in the process. One could argue the same about God.

Humans have a huge capacity for the spiritual. Any human with an imagination spends part of their time amongst the intangible world of spirits. It both exists and does not exist simultaneously. Memories too, are spiritual in nature.

And that brings this meandering post back to my point. My memories of discovering I am trans are quite vague and hard to put into words.

The moment I remember most, perhaps it was at a babysitter or a family gathering, was innocently catching a glimpse of a baby girl’s diaper being changed and in that moment having my entire understanding of what was real, who I really was, flipped on its head. It was not sexual at all, as that concept came much later for me. It was just the realization that girls were physically different than boys. It wasn’t just a thing people decided to call us, girls were different physically. Not only that, but my brain matched the female physicality rather than the one I had been born with. It was not a decision, it was a realization, an awakening, an awareness that I spent decades learning to cope with and hide before realizing the futility of that endeavor.

At a very young age, I grasped the concept of gender, like humans do but, my realization at the time caused me to feel mentally incongruous with my physicality. The very discovery children tend to have around that age thrust me into realizing how conceptual and spiritual “Reality” really is. At the same time as my peers were realizing their assigned roles, I was awakening to the fact that I was assigned incorrectly and I feared society had little room for people like me, who didn’t fit their suggested mold. I found a respite inside the theatrical community, where the world of spirits could be made real, if only for a finite period of time before returning to their spiritual form once again.

To me, the imaginary is as real as anything else, because society itself is based upon a collective imagination. You may disagree with my gender. That is fine. We are both right. No need to prove yourself right at my expense.

Aloha,

Tori