Since I’ve been so unhappy lately, one of the things I discussed with my gender therapist was the possibility of de-transitioning.  With as sensitive as I’ve been about being misgendered, I wonder whether I have the thick skin that I’ll need in order to survive as a trans woman in this world.  It seems that transition hasn’t necessarily made me happier and I continue to doubt whether I’m a “real” woman.

But what does that even mean?  The word “real” is used to differentiate from things that are “fake” and when people are talking about other people, what we’re really talking about is exclusion, the exclusion of a set of people from a larger group.

I’m sure that some people wouldn’t consider me to be a Christian, much the way that many Evangelicals doubt the authenticity of a Roman Catholic’s faith, but that’s not a valid distinction, merely an attempt to validate one’s life by invalidating the experiences of another’s.

Make no mistake, I’m certainly trying to validate my own life and the choices I’ve made to get here.  I want to be a “real” woman, but the problem is that “real” doesn’t mean pretty or sexy or smart or tall.  It’s possible that considering myself to be real is a fairly meaningless distinction– other people, such as extended family and some friends will always try and exclude me from being a woman.  I wouldn’t presume to invalidate their experiences of gender in order to make myself feel better, but I wonder whether we need a bigger view of what a woman really is.

What I’m trying to say is that I want to be just a woman.  I want to move past any notion of real or fake because those words take the power of identification away from the place it belongs– the person being categorized.

The solution of suicide, of self-doubt, as it applies to this problem not only evades the question at the heart of the matter, it also robs the person of her ability to self-determine, to self-identify.  I am who I am, the woman that I am, because I grew up with GID.  Had I successfully suicided at 16, that would have cut short the whole process.  Maybe my childhood wasn’t particularly easy or awesome, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it changed the person I am today, not least by freeing me from the need to call other people “fake” in order to validate my assertions about myself.  Suicide is a circumvention of that necessary work.

My solution, if I have one to offer, is for all of us to be real.  I’m sensitive to being misgendered, to the allegation of not being a real woman, but I can’t let that stop me.  It puts all the control into the hands of others when any decisions should be mine.

So how do I deal with it?  A terse ‘fuck you’?  A strong assertion that no one is fake, that no one can possibly be wrong about who they are?

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