in the beginning, i knew. i wasn’t going to be able to remain alive if i had to do it as a “Man”.
here’s a sample of what was going through my mind last year as i began to wear exclusively Women’s clothing in public, as i began to call myself “birdy”, wear make-up, reach out to find “people like me”, see myself as being finally free to make of my gender what gave me dignity, integrity and an honest way to live…
10 june 2016
a couple of things about what i think i am… i am a male, not a “man” which i believe is a social construct, akin to being an “american” or “white”… these are really sociopolitical identities that serve the dominant culture’s oppressive aims.
30 august 2016
what is cross dressing to me, how did i come to be birdy? is it about being submissive? is it about wishing i was a woman? etc… i’m writing because i want somewhere to say what i feel… i don’t feel submissive and i don’t think of myself as a woman…
in fact, i think i’m really way off from most anyone i ever knew in the real world on how those terms are even defined.
01 september 2016
i understand a.) i am a male b.) i like to dress and behave in a fashion that society calls “Feminine”
now after that, i guess it seems complicated to people but to me it is simple… just because i am a male doesn’t mean i can’t find my most joyful and fulfilling expression of myself in ways that society claims are “off limits” to me because… society DEMANDS that all males identify as MEN. i refuse. it isn’t me.
at the same time, i never claimed and would never claim to speak for or as a female. i can’t honestly do that. i claim the right to identify with and adopt the forms of speech, of motion, of sensibility and dress and any and all other attributes as i see fit that are considered to be the province of “Woman” in our society. i am careful not to confuse my adoption of these “feminine” forms for the reality of being female. since i am a male, i consider it instead to be a true expression of my maleness.
19 september 2016
finding people like myself coming out of the darkness is exhilarating and is in fact keeping me alive. we are all coming together in this moment because we need each other to find what the next phase of our evolution is. we’ve been alone, confined to private spheres where we were defined as sex perverts and allowed only that identity… we need to have space to leave that stage and find the rest of ourselves…
call me whatever you want. i don’t care. what i am is up to me, i am responsible to make sure that whatever that is has integrity, is real, is not avoiding or hiding anything from myself. languages are comprised of symbols. they are created as a coherent sets. they impose a model with boundaries beyond which no meaning is accessible. that’s why it doesn’t matter to me what name i’m called by doctors, lawyers, theologians, etc. their names will never equal the actuality of my being.
so in the course of events, i discovered and took the path of becoming a Transgender Woman, changed my legal name and gender, made it through my employer’s humiliating me until i forced their hand to allow me to be me at work and after that, began to take estradiol and spirolactone… since then, my breasts have sprouted and… and…
i have reached a point of reckoning. i’m back to the part where i said “i am a male, not a man”.
how am i doing with that? one thing i’ve learned is that i think of these things from a much different point of origin than what i’ve found out here in the “real world”.
i’ve been provoked by angst over observing “debates” between indignant, offended and militant Transgender Women (“Trans Women are Women!”) and “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists – TERFs” (“just because you lop off your dick… doesn’t make you a fucking woman!”) and my own very odd personal family herstory (Mother was a Radical Lesbian Feminist).
they’re both right, and they’re both wrong.
false premises yield false conclusions and foster whole cottage industries of opinion-making commentary and mini-celebrities on “both sides” and leave us poor suffering regular folks with nowhere to be but to line up and take a stand with one or the other. War is Good Business. and, it is a highly addictive and predictably common vice. talented people can really take this and run with it without really ever challenging themselves to look at what they’re doing at all, although they sure do a lot of pontificating and posturing and making endless waterproof arguments and denigrating the losers who don’t agree, which is a guaranteed and also predictable feature of this familiar scenario.
doesn’t it make anyone suspicious? once again, here we are, squared off staring at each other as if we were “others”. conflict, not of the dialectical, organic sort… but Patriarchal conflict, static, conflict that only leads to more conflict, conflict that seeks to destroy. for isn’t this what the partisans of these well-reasoned and erudite tirades seek? to obliterate each other. to win. to claim the spoils of victory! glorious isn’t it.
now i’m going to say some things that i know people are going to hate, if they haven’t already found something in my ideas suitable to satisfy their Jones for opposition and division.
the first is that i think Germaine Greer has a point when she states that Transgender Women don’t look or act like Women. a statement like that, as broad as it is, is a truism. many Women don’t either. but to her point, having been raised as Men, how could we?
well here’s how… with great effort and discipline, the “best” among us “Pass” as “cis” Women. shaving, waxing, laser and electrolysis treatments costing hours and hours and tens of thousands to remove our body hair; surgeries to remove and rearrange our organs and fat stores; vocal training to mimic inflection and speech patterns that we know and recognize as being “feminine”… great effort, great discipline, great lengths devoted to the assembly of a New Person, risen from the ashes of a failed fit with the Gender and Sex of our birth.
here’s why i think Greer completely misses the point, along with everyone else that plays this tit for tat game: the transformation from one gender to another is possible precisely because GENDER and SEX are NOT synonymous.
Gender is learned, Sex is determined. is that really so hard?
but to me none of this really speaks to the turmoil that has led me to make the changes i’ve made over the last 18 months… as i’ve observed and grappled with the raging debates around Gender and Sex, i’ve been curious to note how i never meant to “Pass”. that has never been my goal… my goal has been to stop being a Man, not to become a female. by taking on the appearances and affectations of Woman, i have a way of stepping away from the identity of Man. it isn’t necessarily the last stop, i can see that now.
i consider the Genders under Hierarchical Patriarchy to be hostages of a Planetary Criminal (Man). Man has tied both sexes to the stakes of divided Genders and he needs both to make Dominance and Exploitation work. he accomplishes that by fooling us into seeing ourselves as being divided from ourselves and “each other”. he depends on this Division to function as the basis of Hierarchical Patriarchal Human Social Structure.
i do not believe that Gender in and of itself is the cause… i dream of liberating Gender from its status as the pillar of a culture of dominance and submission, of possession of “one” by the “other” of superiority and inferiority… all the things that Gender has been harnessed to represent in this world. i see that only my acceptance of the delusion of Division stands between me and being free to exhibit what appear to be “contradictory” features in my living to those who see through the lens of Division… i myself do not feel divided. i feel different, but not divided.
so on the one hand, we have females who are (tragically, ironically) defending their “turf” as being the sole owners of the Gender “Woman”. which, contradictorily, is also recognized by many of them as being a set of Man-imposed chains holding them in bondage to a role that is submissive, inferior and victimized.
…and on the other we have males who claim (correctly) that to be a Woman is achievable by any Human Being regardless of Sex, since Gender is culturally produced and Sex is not.
but forgive me if i presume to state that we gendernaut males don’t seem to have done much if any real soul-searching about what the Gender we were born into has forced us to accept (the horrors of generations of females’ lives broken and consumed for the privilege of Men at the Human Social level and complicity in Planetary Ecocide at the broadest level).
while working hard to achieve the outward appearance and internalize what we accept as being the “true feminine” (arguably a set of Man-made impositions grafted by force onto the female body and soul), i haven’t seen as much discussion among us Transgender Women about exactly how to grow beyond the attitudes, the way we act, the assumptions we make, the blind spots we harbor as at least residual, Men. to simply claim “i wear the clothes, i talk the talk, i like to cook, clean and take care of babies” or whatever mix we assemble from the Patriarchal pantry of feminine traits, are we really serious if we don’t at least for a moment acknowledge the devastating effect that our socialization as Men has done to us all? and not just to acknowledge that we are victims also, but to renounce whatever fragments or even whole aspects of ourselves which still allow us to claim privileges over those that Patriarchy permits us to exploit and dominate.
the exit to this house of mirrors seems clearly marked to me: separate first Gender from Sex. then integrate the Sexes once again and… presto! we can all be whatever mix of “gender expression” we find that makes us feel “right” with ourselves, allows us to be healthy, productive, cooperative, caring and compassionate members of a real Human Community…
we are confused. confusion is a hallmark of Hierarchical, Patriarchal society. it is inherent to the whole paradigm because the paradigm of “Opposite Sexes”, of “Us and Them”, of “Me” and “It” is a delusion.
not to say that it hasn’t been a highly creative delusion… the dominance and exploitation that this division enables has given a very few of us enormous power… some of us can even fly to the moon. but most of us die like in the Pink Floyd song, “just another sad old man, all alone and dying of cancer…”
how confused are we going to allow ourselves to remain when it is obvious that only “big Men turn the screws”… as little Men we are supposed to and have shamefully been finding comfort in our franchise to exploit those “below us” and this is pathetic. time to renounce and move on, to become ex-Men!
in fact, the Human species is one of a class of living beings (called Eukaryotes) whose evolution has allowed them to develop, from a single source “master”, a “Matrix”… two sexes, that come together in sexual union to procreate… we should be able to see that seeing ourselves as being “opposite” or “divided” is totally insane… we are of and by and for the same species… our species can stand across a room from itself and smile, and be attractive, and make a dance out of “coming together again”. it is a beautiful illusion… we were never really apart.
so why should it seem strange that a “Man” feels herself to be a “Woman” then? it isn’t strange. we do commonly continue to mistake Gender for Sex though… what i actually feel is not that i “am” female, but that female and male are one. what’s strange is that our culture is so brutally devoted to keeping that feeling Taboo. why is that?
it is beyond that question that i’m trying to go… my work is cut out for me, and as much work as all that shaving is, this is much harder. it is no less than to root out that which has been infused into the heart and mind of an infant male from birth, the Gender of Man. to do so without perpetuating any of that Gender’s aims in so doing, unwittingly or not. to seek Integration, to see myself as the Whole and stop identifying with things that pit “one against the other”. to stop identifying “things” at all and learn how to Be With, not how to divide and conquer.
that sounds to me like what a “real Human” ought to stand for, and i’m in. sorry Germaine, i hope someday you’ll get it… and all you “Trans Militants” too.