A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Archive for the ‘The Sex Change’ Category

Day Two: The Adventure Begins.

So now I’m here, I’m settled in, and I’ve got a semi-coagulated plan for the day.  It’s tempting just to sit back, relax, finish my film project and/or wander the Castro for a day and find my feet.  But at the same time, I’m hungry, running out of money, and more or less planless, and the city isn’t going to come to me with food and options.  I’ve got to get out there and make it happen!

– First, my couch host (who is in gender studies and all other kinds of neat stuff) is going to take me to this club at his school where I’m going to meet a bunch of other trans guys.  Apparently they’re going to have a load of resources for me, so I’ve got my pen and paper ready.  Also, this is exciting for me because I always kinda felt like a unicorn in Tuolumne county.  It’ll be my first time meeting my “species”, or what have you. (I’m hesitant to lump any female-to-male gender variant individual under a single umbrella term, but that’s a rant for another time.)  The point is, I get to meet people who’ve traveled a similar path and I might be able to relate to.

– Then, I’m going over to Larkin Street Youth Services to work with a case worker.  I would immediately go to a food pantry of some sort, but it looks like all of them, everywhere, only serve people officially living within San Francisco zip codes and they require an I.D., and my current one not only expired last month but it has my Jamestown address.  I don’t know how I can update my license without an official address yet, but there you go.  I think Larkin will assign me a case worker and they can tell me how to fix my paperwork situations in the long run and where I can go for food without having to prove on paper that I exist in the short term.  (Plus, these public service places usually have something to eat.)  If they can help me figure out how to update my license and info without having an address, maybe I can get on food stamps and that’ll be one less worry in the watches of trying to start my business.

– After all that, I think there’s a free dinner at a mission somewhere on Ellis, and it didn’t say any thing about requiring I.D. on the pamphlet.  I’ll swing by there and see if I can eat.

– Finally, there’s this FTM meetup tonight that I’ve been hearing about on Facebook for weeks, and I’m SO excited to go!  I guess it’s a sort of speed dating event for gay guys who are into Trans guys, which seems ridiculously awesome to me, because I didn’t know such a thing existed.  All the gay guys I’ve ever met (I could probably count them on a hand or two) are terrified of the beast lurking in my pants.  It makes me feel disgusting.  I think, if nothing else, this night could serve as a major self-esteem repair.

Wow, I didn’t realize how freaking hungry I was.  I’m determined not to spend all my money on food, but the way the food pantry system works here in SF, until I get my paperwork straightened out I see no other option.  I just need to set aside money to change my license and keep my phone alive. Think I’m going to go down and grab some breakfast, get some cash for the transit, and buy a phone card.  Mmm, subway.  Eat flesh.

I’m going to be back very late tonight, so unless I wind up bored in a coffee shop today, there won’t be much internetting.  Maybe TOMORROW I can finish my film project and start broadcasting to Youtube, but today it’s all about taking care of business.

Be good, stay well and don’t forget to love yourself!

-Tom

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Trans Mission: Freedom! (Day One)

“February 1st, 2012: All of a sudden, I looked up and I was sitting in Harvey Milk Plaza, staring up at the giant rainbow flag, and my heart swelled as I realized that, starting today, I was finally a resident of San Francisco.”

I haven’t been back here to post in a long time, but if anything warranted a reboot of my blog, this is it.

I just went back and read my first post on this transition blog, from July 24th, 2009.  It was almost 3 years ago when I finally sat down and committed, whole heartedly, to transitioning to male.  It made me burst into exhilarated laughter to realize that, in that post, I was musing wistfully about moving to San Francisco, some day, like a person who dreams of one day getting a jetpack so they can fly.

Today, I’m flying, and there’s nothing that can weigh me down.  I wrapped up my old life, trusted to Fate that I was doing the right thing, closed my eyes and jumped.  The car ride down felt unreal- I’ve broken free, today is the first day of my real life, and I’ll never spend another day living where I don’t want to live, working towards things I don’t want, or being who I don’t want to be.  There’s no guarantee that I’ll have a place to sleep from one night to the next, no guarantee that anything will work out for me, no guarantee that I’ll even live past the end of the day.  But, wait a minute- isn’t that what waking up and living your life every single day is all about?  You take that risk every time you get in your car and run down to the corner market for milk, so why get that milk if it isn’t fueling a body in motion, aimed on a trajectory towards the galaxy you want to live in?

It doesn’t matter where or how dangerously you do the things that you know you were meant to do, anything could happen, you have to pursue your dreams and LIVE your life instead of planning, hoping, and saying “maybe tomorrow” forever.  We have a limited number of minutes on this Earth, so why spend even a single one of them being or doing things you don’t want?

God’s honest truth is that I could have stayed in Tuolumne County.  I could have gotten that daily grind job, worked my butt off to pay rent and bills and nothing else, not had any resources to go through with medical transition, not lived in an area where my way of life was acceptable, not been able to go to an art school where I could actually learn anything.  I could have survived, and it makes me guilty to think that, with the economy the way it is, I threw away a potentially stable lifestyle and flung myself on the mercy of a collapsing economic structure and the kindness of strangers to get where I need to be faster.  But the truth is, I’ve been watching my life slip away from me day at a time for as long as I can remember.  Extenuating circumstances aside, whether my roomies had needed me gone by February or not, I couldn’t make myself miserable there, flipping burgers for a future I don’t have any stakes in, working towards nothing but a desperate gray existence, quietly being a martyr because “people who throw away potential job openings in a climate like this are foolish lazy bums.”  Do I deserve to be happy?  Who knows.  I think the question here is, do any of us?  I think if people spent more time focusing on working towards the things that light up their life, rather than being dragged down by guilt, expectations, moral fallacies, societal obligations, quantifiable monetary “success”, and all the trappings that lead to the white picket fence life… we’d all be a lot happier and have much less shame about who we are.  The expectations of others based on their own twisted moral compasses can do so much to destroy people’s lives, or if nothing else, grind them to a squeaky gray halt.

I know only one thing.  My life is mine, I’m the one who has to live it, and I finally have to courage, fortitude, and will to chase my dreams without stopping for breath.  Call me back when you can say that and we’ll have cake together.

***

Back on the subject of that first blog, it’s a bizarre thing that July 24th 2009 felt like the beginning of my journey, when now, today feels like it.  I thought I was living the great adventure of my life by starting to transition, and truly, I’d like to say that those three years were a massive chapter in my life.  But they’re beginning to really feel more like a prologue than anything.  If I had to make a comparison of my life to literature, then those first three epic years were the Hobbit, but today I’ve cracked the first page of the Fellowship of the Ring.  So much lies before me, I can barely wait to start the adventure!

It’s funny to think back to that summer summer morning so long ago- I was already so far with some things, but so behind in others.  For example, even at that point, I’d already learned how to use an STP, little things like that.  But I wasn’t standing up for myself in public yet- it horrifies me to realize that, according to my blog, up until that day I was still job hunting “in costume” (or dressed as what I perceived as an attractive female, so I’d match my documents and be appealing in some abstract way.)  But, oh, I’ve come so far in those years!

I’ve grown a lot of balls (pun fully and shamelessly intended) as far as expressing my gender.  A few years ago, I wouldn’t have let a person in on my male gender unless I really trusted them, and certainly not in a professional setting.

Today, I’m not afraid of walking into a job interview (that most vulnerable of places in our current climate), with my binder and suit on, introducing myself up front as Tom, requesting my potential employer not to use my legal name as I’m still in the paperwork process of getting it changed, and then letting their deductive capabilities fill in the rest.

Today, I’m not afraid of correcting people over the phone when they say “ma’am”, and saying, “Yes, I know my voice is high pitched, it’s a hormonal imbalance,” and letting them deal with the feeling of awkward if they so choose to feel that way.  I’m done with awkward.

Today, I’m not afraid of walking into the men’s restroom and using the stall if I have to, because I know the last thing on most men’s minds is the bathroom habits of the people around them.

In fact, a few months ago I used the ladies’ room for what I know will be the last time (I was dining out with old family who haven’t caught on yet and I didn’t want to create an awkward situation by running into one of them in the men’s room.)  At this point, the men in my family are going to have to deal with it, though, because a girl in the ladies’ room tried telling me I was using the wrong bathroom.   Through the awkwardness, potential danger and confusion, some little chord in the background sang out, “YES, I AM using the wrong bathroom- and people finally agree with me.  I’ll never walk in here again.”  I had to pop my voice back into a female register I haven’t used in years so she wouldn’t get freaked out, but at the same time, I suddenly realized that, for the first time, pretending my gender was female to use the ladies’ room under false pretenses made me feel inappropriate, and even though I didn’t mean anyone harm, it was suddenly unmistakably clear which bathroom I belonged to.

It was a little chilling to realize I’d passed over that line where I could get away with using either restroom if one room or the other made me feel too uncomfortable- that now there was no safe room to run to, no net to fall back on.  I was back in that area where I had an assigned restroom, and if I used the other, I’d be in trouble, only I was on the other side of that fence, and it was jarring to realize I’d finally toppled off of straddling it.  But at the same time, it’s exhilarating to realize that, even just in one area of my life, everything is finally lining up.  Plus, I feel much more comfortable in the men’s room now anyway.  I no longer get that rush of adrenaline/sweaty-palm feeling when I realize I have to use the bathroom.  I just take care of business and trust that what I’m doing just isn’t that important to other people– I’m not under a microscope, I’m just an average Joe who has to piss.

***

It’s interesting to note the things that have changed.  But I think the oddest thing was the number of thoughts and sentiments in my old work that have stayed the same.  Through my ugly teenage years, I’d write something and then go back and read it a year later, and be completely repulsed by myself.  So, I was preparing for that familiar acid reflux feeling on going back to read my 3 year old post.  BUT, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of values that remain the same.  I’ve definitely learned more, grown in myself, and become stronger in the things that I believe in, but the core values are still the same.  What does that mean?  It scares me a little to think that I might be getting comfortable with my way of thought- through those teen years I was an ever-changing entity (weren’t we all?) who believed that anyone who settled with a given moral code or mental structure was a closed-minded bigot who was unwilling to learn, change themselves or compromise with an infinite world.  I truly felt that if I didn’t see some gaping flaw in my thoughts from a month prior, then I wasn’t growing right.

But at the same time, I feel more like maybe it’s just that I’m finally figuring out who I am, and most importantly, getting comfortable with that person for once.  I’ve never known what that was like- to like me, completely, without bullshit, and realize that maybe I’ve got one or two things figured out.  I have SO much to learn, but the things to learn in this life are infinite and we are finite beings, and maybe it’s not so bad to know where oneself starts and stops, and to be okay with that.

***

Hopefully I’ll be posting daily updates with my current situation.  For those who might be curious about specifics, I had to leave my current living situation in the hills by February due to a lack of income.  I’m on the waitlist for a bed at Lark-Inn, a shelter in San Francisco that caters to impoverished LGBTQII youth by providing counseling, helping them find jobs, and get onto their feet.  They say the wait time is 3 to 4 weeks.  I asked one of my trans communities online for ideas and help to patch up the intervening gap, and one of them responded with a site called couchsurfing.org.

I went on the site and found several people in the bay area willing to open their homes to LGBT individuals, some specifically on emergency conditions.  One such, a crisis counselor at the Trevor Project among other things, agreed to take me in for a few days starting today.  Several others responded as well, and the idea of moving from couch to couch in the bay area for a few weeks just didn’t scare me enough to stop me.  It really isn’t as if I can come up with any other options.  So, I packed my stuff and here I am.  Soon, hopefully they’ll be able to get me on an insurance and refer me to a gender therapist who can approve me for T (I think ~3 years living full time with professional and family references will go far for credibility), and I’m looking at starting my own business as a dog walker (it’s a very lucrative business down here!)

Also very soon, I’ll be posting the introductory video to my vlog of my journey and gender transition.  I’m still in editing- I just shot the primary footage with a friend’s camera over the last couple days, and thank god I have a computer savvy friend who fixed my laptop for free!  So I can do decent quality videos from down here, at least in the beginning.  I don’t know if they’re going to make me sell my laptop before they take me at the shelter, but I’m prepared for that option- my phone is synched with my youtube account so I can directly upload videos from my tracfone.  (This computer, I bartered from a friend with a laptop I won in a raffle in 2007, so that’s two degrees of working with equipment I didn’t pay for.)  Who says the poor can’t be technologically advanced?

If you’re interested in following the journey, my channel is here. http://www.youtube.com/user/atTheTomFace/videos

On the topic of webthings of mine, my Twitter account is @TheTomFace.  I’ll be sending frequent updates on my situation, so if you want to stay abreast of current events, go on ahead and follow me!  I try to keep it entertaining, I promise.  😀

To the world:

Follow the day and reach for the sun!

-Tom

WAR!

So it’s definitely been far too long since I’ve been posting regularly.  I have no excuses.  Aliens.  Aliens, maybe.  Just insert your favorite alien abduction scenario, it’ll come to you.

I felt like making note that my existence has actually caused a minor nuclear war in the interpersonal lives of some people who are technically more friends-of-friends than anything.  This fact has prevented the whole ordeal from impacting me any more strongly than a minor passing amusement.

See, my roomie’s best friend has a hyper-christian mom (that’s how these tales of war always start, I’m finding by studying my history, with some hyper-christian figure of authority).  She was spending a lot of time at my apartment to get away from these nutcases, and was considering our house a free and innocent haven.

Unfortunately, deception had to be thrown in the mix to maintain the facade of innocence.  She decided (without asking me first of course) to tell her mom that I was a girl so that she wouldn’t think I was having sex with her.  (Not sure how that really helped the situation, as I could have been a raving dyke and I don’t think my lack of a penis would have stopped me, maybe it just would have been my decency and respect for her human right to demand my refraining from rape, I don’t know, something like that.  Point is, apparently it worked.   Christian moms have mysterious minds.)

At this point in the story, I was still confused as to why my genitals were even relevant to someone who I’d never met and never intended to meet, and she probably could have gotten a similar effect by pretending I didn’t exist at all and I would have been a bit more comfortable with that.  But at this point I just continued tapping my fingers together bemusedly and said, “Go on….”  (Hopefully this was more disarming than disconcerting, but one can never tell.  Maybe I should study my human reactions more closely, but the pleasing sound of her voice getting a lot more strained and the little beads of sweat appearing on her forehead tells me I was on the right track and she was relaxing into a nice calm afternoon.)

So, apparently one afternoon recently while my roomie was visiting their family, this friend-of-a-friend had to go take a shower, and my roomie was left on the porch, cornered by terrifying zealot-mom who started interrogating her about this mysterious “Tommy” person in the house.  Here’s where the romantic-comedy-esque hilarious miscommunication ensues, as friend-of-a-friend had not informed Roomie that she was insisting that I was a girl, and my Roomie had been trained rigorously to insist that I was male.  So upon interrogation she began declaring that I was her brother, and then that no really, I was a dude, and why would you think something like that you’ve never even met him, and why do you keep calling your daughter a dirty heathen liar, and oh shit something’s gone horribly wrong here, hasn’t it?

So long story short, my very existence as a gender-ambiguous being has caused a major rift in an already shaky mother-daughter relationship and she’s on the verge of being kicked out for “lying” about me (I’m actually kind of happy that her mom was convinced that I was a dude and that she was boning me and just telling her mom that I was a chick to get away with it, all “Twelfth Night” and shit).  It’s kind of true, minus the screwing part.  I just don’t know how to support her here- one way or another I wouldn’t just be boning her because she’s a female in my house and I’m a male, end of story.  But as far as she sees it, she DIDN’T lie to her mom.  And that sucks.  I don’t know why I can’t be trusted on the sole merit of my honor, and I have to have my vagina flashed around the neighborhood just to be “safe”.  Funny world we live in.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to dance into their living room wearing flaming horns and a strap-on dildo and howl and cavort like a devil-child just to give her mom a heart attack, because there’s no honest explanation of this that will save my image in her eyes.  I really don’t care what she thinks of me; she’s crazy by definition.  Mainly I’m just amused that I got to shatter a christian family by mere merit of my existence and I didn’t even have to lift a finger.  God bless America.

Celebratory Post!

As of yesterday, I’ve officially made it two years living full time as male.

(My family even baked me a cake!  The celebration would have been really nice if it weren’t for… stuff.)

Lots of things have changed.  I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal demons lately, a lot of shit from my childhood bubbling up, and things that just generally eat your energy and time.  On top of it I’ve been working practically non-stop.  My term with Americorps is almost up and I need a new job if I want to keep my place, so I’m back on the job hunt, and plus I’m applying to art school this spring so I have to put together a bunch of portfolios.  I haven’t had a lot of time to think about this whole transgendered thing for a really long time.
It’s faded to the back, and while I’m passing almost 100% of the time now (even without hormones), it’s just not that big of a deal anymore.  I’m sure when I finally have the resources to get on T, and the doors open, this will all get very exciting again, but for now it’s been one of the smaller aspects of my life.  That’s kind of nice.

Besides all that, I really need to find a therapist who specializes in Dissociative Identity Disorder.  It was gone and dormant for near two years now, and I thought I could ignore it, sweep it under the rug, and pretend it didn’t exist so it’d be easier to pass the psych eval for hormones.

Now I’m realizing this is one of the ways I’m going to dealing with severe trauma for the rest of my life, and on top of that, there are still a LOT of buried issues right under the surface that I still need to work through.  I’ve never been able to look my sexual abuse squarely in the eye before, but now that it’s doing the whole zombie act and poking its ugly smelly head from the grave, I’m going to have to.  I feel like admitting that to a therapist and finally going through therapy for it may be the only truly affective shotgun to the head.

I’ve finally come to accept and embrace my psychotic past as a part of me rather than just thinking I could slough it off and become a brand new person by pretending it isn’t there.  I need to really go through and weed it out instead of just shutting the door to the attic and ignoring it until its viney tentacles grow out of control.  I may never recover from this if I don’t face it, now.

It’s liberating to realize, though.

That said, sharing my head with someone has never been easy and it’s not easy now.

Tiny blurb.

I only have a couple minutes for it, I just wanted to let the world know I’m still alive.

Since I’ve moved out (GO ME!) in early December, I haven’t had any kind of internet connectivity.  We’ve barely been able to afford the rent bills gas food etc., and the only reason I’m in town at a hot spot today is because I need to get my turn signal fixed.  So here I am.

I have to say I’m kind of frustrated with where I’m at in my life.  I’m excited to finally be in control of my destiny and to finally be the adult who is looking after me.  I’m happy to be living in a place where I don’t have to deal with hearing my old name and I don’t have to be okay with my own household misgendering me all the time.  And I really am happy to be successful, self-sustaining, and have a roof over my head that I don’t have sell-out to be under.  All of these things are more than a lot of people can say, and I’m grateful.  But at the same time-

I have a decent chunk of medical bills hanging over my head, and I don’t want to add to them until I’ve got them under control.  And I’ve barely had enough money to get by so far, so until I have money, I can’t move forward with transition.

And yet there are people out there with less than what I have, moving forward, getting on with their lives, not stuck in a perpetual state of waiting on their puberty.  They deal with the debt because it’s more important to be happy than to be solvent.  Am I just being too responsible for my own good?  When I look at my situation, I feel like I might be judged by other people for not “wanting it badly enough” to compromise on my principles.  Could I be doing more right now to get to where I need to be?  Maybe.  I’ve always been patient, but I feel like the longer I wait, the more of my life is going to pass by without me.  I don’t know what’s more important- or right- for me.

I hate putting it on the back burner.  It keeps coming like this- “I’ll start T after I pay my medical bills.  And I’ll pay my medical bills after I get my car fixed.  And I’ll blank after I blank…”  Why can’t it be first for once?  It’s my life now, I’m in a place where it’s safe for me to transition, so why can’t I afford it?

Screw the bills.  After I pay these ones, I’ll just be adding more on top of a clean slate.  Why does it matter when they get paid?  I can’t keep doing this to myself.

Tomorrow is the Big Day.

When I woke up this morning, this was the first thing on my mind.

(Well, technically, the first thing on my mind was “Oh my god, it’s Sunday and I can sleep in as long as I want!!! …oh wait.  That was a dream.  It’s Wednesday.”)

Fuckin’ Wednesday.

But anyway, as soon as I remembered where/who/when I was, the first thing on my mind was this.

“Oh wow.  Up until tomorrow afternoon at 2:00, all of this will have been a fantasy, wishful thinking.  Nothing is set in stone yet.  But after tomorrow, I’m in for the long haul.”

Yes.  My insurance FINALLY kicked in some time earlier this month, and tomorrow, I have my first official appointment with my gender therapist.

I’m actually fucking terrified.

This is the day I’ve been waiting on, uninsured, for two years, technically my whole life.  But there’s really nothing in your life before that moment that can prepare you for walking in to the one person who has the power to help you, claiming that you were born into the wrong body, and begging them to fix it.  There’s no precursor to it.  It all comes down to that moment- is my case strong enough, or not?  Are they going to try to dig up things from my medical past to disprove my psychological stability?  Is this going to be one of those therapists who thinks that if I don’t cookie-cutter fit the binary, then I’m not trans enough?  What if she thinks that if I’m not attracted to girls, then I can’t be trans?  We all know these things aren’t true, but what if that course of the training hasn’t made it out to my neck of the woods yet?

And even after all that, once I make my case and she says I need to get on hormones ASAP… now I’m medically committed to something that has thus far been an intangible.  Sure, I’ve been binding my breasts for two years, I’ve cut my hair, thrown away all my old female clothing, even tried to grow facial hair by my own means (not a very good idea.)  But nothing I’ve done has been permanent yet.  I’ve rearranged my social and professional life, but the pronouns aren’t sticking with everyone yet.  In all technicality, if I decided to drop it all right here right now and just let it go and live my life as female henceforth, none would be the wiser.

Transition is ACTUALLY REALLY SCARY.

I was thinking all of this in the bathroom, and then I glanced at the mirror and I realized something.

There’s something that definitely scares me more than committing to live my life as a male, and that’s committing to life my life as a female.  The idea of that doesn’t give me a couple jitters, some butterflies in my stomach, or a little case of commitment anxiety cold-feet.  It makes me want to crawl out of my skin, rip babies heads off, projectile vomit, and start speaking in Latin while my head spins.

Let’s face it, no matter what I’m committing to, I do have a fear of commitment.  It’s just my nature.  The job I’m in right now is possibly the best thing that could happen to me, ever, and my first instinct is to abandon ranks because it’s a year commitment through Americorps.  I’m in perpetual fight-or-flight mode just because committing to it makes me feel claustrophobic.

But what I’m doing right now is finding my way out of something that I had been committed to, without my permission, since the day I was born.  I’m breaking free of that, and if I damn well don’t feel like fitting the binary once I AM growing facial hair, well then, there are ways out of that too.

So, screw cold feet.  I’m moving forward, because dammit, if 21 years of gender issues don’t speak to my need for this, then I don’t know what will.

Still in the closet?

I wanted to crosspost this over from a reply I made to a thread over at TQ Nation this morning.  It wound up running way longer than I intended, and it seemed like it’d be a shame and a waste of time if I didn’t record it in my blog.  I feel like this post pretty much sums up how I feel towards my gender these days, even though it’s not the update on my life stuff that I’ve been promising.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get to that this weekend.

In the mean time, sexy crossdressing goodness.  😉

*****

When people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl, I answer, “Yes. I am certainly one or the other.”

If you want the long answer, here it is. I know in my heart of hearts that I was meant to be a dude- to have a male body, a male voice, and male hormones interacting with my male brainwaves (male patterns of thinking + female hormones = not the most stable of situations, psychologically.) But if you were to ask me what KIND of guy I am, that’s where it gets confusing, because I know that if I had been born with all the right fixtures, I would crossdress a lot of the time.

I like the feel of a female presentation interacting on top of a male base. I like theatrics and big musical numbers and drag- I like the feel of foundation smoothed over the closest possible shave, just barely concealing the stubble waiting to apring up underneath; I like the sound of a velvety female voice coming out of male vocal chords. But when there’s not a physical male base beneath these things, it all just feels pointless. I don’t know if this makes me a horrible person, but there’s nothing about female presentation that feels attractive (at least, on me) if it “passes”, if it doesn’t have at least some physical maleness lurking around underneath. In any case that I feel people would look at me and say “that’s a chick” and not “that’s a gay man in a dress”, I would rather just present as male.

So, I have been. I’ve been presenting as male for one and a half years, 24/7. I’ve been trying to get on testosterone, waiting for my voice to drop and my stubble to start coming in. I’ve been a closeted crossdresser for all this time. Where some people in my situation (still stuck, living with my family) would be more inclined to hide their transgenderism, I proudly display my Axe body spray, my Old Spice deodorant, my suits and ties and all the trappings of maleness that visually root my surroundings to my identity and say “A Man lives here.” And in the background, I stuff away all the old flowy scarves and lace gowns and mom’s old jewelry and makeup and I hide it away in my closet and I whisper to myself, “Some day.” I become mortified at the thought of my dad stumbling across it all. It’s another gender paradox- my dad would be thrilled to find out that I still entertain thoughts of dressing as a girl. I know it pains him to see my hair cut short every couple months and see me go to formal functions in that old suit I stole from him and not that Easter dress he got for me the last time before he gave up on it. I beg to go fishing with him, follow him to the garage to get him to let me help work on the car, try to keep up when he’s talking sports, knowing all the while that each little thing like this might be helping to build my “male cred” with him, but at the same time wanting nothing more than to be on that stage in the spotlight, dripping with jewels and lipsynching “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

I know it would destroy my chances of ever being seen as his son- even little things, like expressing pain when I get a papercut, earn reactions like “A boy wouldn’t act like that.” For him, my every action is now filtered through whether or not it makes me a man. I know if his best friend Monty got a papercut, my Dad go “Ow man, that sucks.” Is it just because he can grow a beard, Dad? Is this where the difference between commiseration and discrimination lies? The ability to cultivate facial hair?

It goes deeper, it gets more complicated. I hide my relationships from him. I know that if he sees that the guy who comes over all the time is not only my “best friend”, but also my lover, he’ll have that same reaction that everyone else has. “If you’re dating guys, then isn’t it just easier to be a girl?” The answer is no, because the guys that I like to date don’t go OUT with girls. It’s the cross any gay son has to carry, if maybe there’s a little more at stake for me (because no matter what most born-male people do, their parents still probably use male pronouns- to some people’s disadvantage!), but all in all still the same- the status of your masculinity is threatened if your dad finds out you bone other guys. I don’t feel alone on this one.

It sucks that so many people still link preference to gender identity, but such is life and we all have to deal with the ugly truths. But since so many people still judge based on the kind of tail you chase, and how people in the real world judge me factors into how I feel about myself and interact with others, I might as well go into that too.

Of course, “gay” is also hard to define with me. I’ve dated girls before, although none of them were lesbians- if anything, they were bi (which is cool with me, because if you’re not bi, you’re either going to have a problem with my body or my mind, and not minding either one is always a bonus.) You have to be a really special kind of girl to catch my eye, though- it’s hard to pick the pattern out of all the girls I’ve been attracted to, but I guess if I had to say, they weren’t gender binary, either. They were none of them very butch, but never really feminine- I guess you could say, they were female bodied HUMANS. The packaging was never what drew me in, but their personality.

My preference for guys, on the other hand, is very specific. They have to be willing to bottom, they have to be comfortable with their queerness to the point that they can acknowledge they are dating a guy with a cunt, and they have to have at least a little passion for crossdressing, of course. When it comes down to it, if we were to get married and I wore a tux, if he didn’t want to wear a wedding gown, then he doesn’t make the cut. It’s a weird standard by which to measure, I know, but there’s something about a guy in a wedding dress that just tickles me up and down and all over.

Of course, everything else in between is on a case by case basis. I have a special place in my heart for the transgendered, NOT because of my crossdressing fetish (because if you’re wearing what matches up with your internal gender identity, then it’s not crossdressing to me) but because we fight a long hard battle every one of us, and the idea of having a mate who can relate to that on something more than an abstract level appeals to me.

I guess I’ve been rambling, but in summation, I’m simply this:

1) A fabulous guy with a crossdressing fetish
2) who is pretty much gay but not definitively
3) and also happens to have a cunt.

[Note the order- 1) me, 2) what I like, 3) physical. The physical bits come last out of that order, always.]

In a word?

Queer.

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