I was looking through my journal earlier today and I noticed that all the entries before my name change were relatively optimistic and that the majority of the entries after my name change, after the fight with my parents, after all the full time stress, were drastically more dark.

I know that I expected things would be different on this side of full time, that I wouldn’t have the continuing need to prove myself to others.  I think I expected that people would look at the “F” on my driver’s license and stop questioning.  Instead, it seems like they can’t figure out how I got an “F” on my driver’s license in the first place.  In other words, I feel like I’m still fighting for acceptance.

Too, I still feel quite alone with my hurt, the dysphoria is more acute than it used to be and I lost my job earlier this year.  There’s more stress in my life when I expected there to be less.  I expected the dysphoria would get better, not worse, but here I am, crying and wondering where the next cut of the razor blade should go.

This uphill battle of life isn’t going to level out just because I get surgery, either.  The need to fight for validation of myself will still exist– having the right genitals isn’t going to fix that.  Some people will continue to closed-mindedly point to genetics or any of those other things that I doubt myself from time to time.

What I’m seeing from that realization, that the weapons of other people are the same weapons I use against myself, is that I have yet to recover from my own internalized transphobia.  I’m ashamed of being trans.  I don’t want to have to fight for acceptance any more.  I’d rather just be stealth, assumed to be a woman, blend in.  But I can’t just blend in.  I’m trans and I have to own it, even if I don’t want to.

So I wonder, can I be trans and beautiful at the same time?  The question underneath that last question is this: can I stop being ashamed of myself, of who I am?  Can I be a trans woman and not be a freak?

On one hand, it seems more than odd that people accept labels and behaviors simply because society deems them acceptable.  In that sense, I may never not be a freak, but I will never be a mindless asshole, either.  I am, at the very least, willing to own the person I am, to own my behavior rather than performing it without a second thought.

But how can I stop being ashamed?  How can I find happiness?  I can be happy about being able to be a girl despite the accident of biology that made me a boy, but that’s not really what I mean.

I’m trying to think about something simpler– what are the good things about being a trans woman?

I made a list:

  1. I don’t take anything for granted, especially my gender.  And I’m more sensitive to how I treat others.
  2. I’ve had to really examine my ideas of male and female and I’ve gotten to choose what behaviors fit me best.
  3. I’m special.  I’m not just a regular girl.  In fact, I had to go through hell just to be a girl.
  4. I’ve gotten to be both a boy and a girl.  That’s unique, even if it was (and is) quite confusing.  I probably have most of the qualifications for a Ph.D. in gender studies just from living my life.
  5. There’s variety to my feminine form, a kind of masculine androgyny that’s both mysterious and sexy.

What I get from looking over that list is that everyone who’s different tries to find reasons that being different isn’t the worst thing ever.  In other words, what I really see behind that list is a desire to be accepted just like everyone else.  I may be different, but I don’t want to be treated differently.  In other words, I wish that trans people were just accepted and helped, that there was no $20,000 prerequisite to being myself.

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