You may have noticed by this point the lengths to which I have gone to obscure my gender as the author of this blog. This is not because I am naturally inclined towards being secretive (or at least, not primarily because I am naturally inclined to being secretive), but rather becase I myself am not entirely certain of it.
I am beginning to strongly suspect that I am female, which is inconvenient; not least of all because my body, my birth certificate, and (almost) everyone I have ever known seem to think that I am male. Nevertheless, I have desired to be female since I was eleven years old, and I have had generalized feelings of “femininity” for almost as long as I can remember.
I’m not even certain how to quantify these feelings. It’s not a matter of me desiring to engage in stereotypically feminine behaviours (although I do enjoy experimenting with them on occasion, if for no other reason than that I have been afraid for so long of doing so); neither do I feel like I am “a woman trapped in a man’s body” (a bizzare metaphor which has always called to mind nothing so much as some monstrous ogre shovelling maidens into his cavernous maw and swallowing them whole). I’m not revolted by my male genitals, so much as I am indifferent to them (although I must admit that being able to pee standing up is very handy). There are aspects of my body which I do hate, but in my experience, everyone hates aspects of their bodies to some extent. What I do feel is simply no more or less than what I have said; I feel that I am a woman. I identify, and have always identified (although usually in secret), with femininity. In any social situation in which gender has come up, I have felt instantly and inevitably as if I were playing for the wrong team, but even when I am alone (indeed, even if there were no one else left in the entire world), I still desire to be a woman.
I’m still grappling with what this really means. I like my concepts to be solid and rational, but this whole thing feels so airy that I’m having difficulty understanding it. But nevertheless, it is there, it is real, and, impenetrable though it may be to my fevered attempts to gain some deeper level of understanding of it, I feel that I would be ignoring it at my peril.
Moreover, it’s starting to gain momentum. I have already mentioned that I have felt this way for as long as I can remember, but until I moved away from home last year, I was compelled to keep a lid on it. But shortly after getting a place of my own, it occured to me that I was no longer really answerable to anyone other than myself, so I began using my newfound near-total privacy in order to experiment. I started with small, trivial details; using women’s deodorant, buying pantyhose, engaging, privately, in what I at the time still considered to be cross-dressing. I need to stress that I didn’t feel feminine because I did these things, I did these things because I felt feminine. It was shortly after I started buying my pants from Suzy Shier (a move which I had justified to myself by claiming that I was doing it because they were cheaper- one of those claims that is at once both completely true and complete, unadulterated bullshit) that it occured to me that it was time to face-up to what I really was. I came-out to my girlfriend (she was utterly unsurprised, given that she had already been enduring my “crossdressing” for two years at that point), and saw a therapist a couple of times (I had to break it off because it was prohibitively expensive). I also told my parents during one of my trips home; they weren’t exactly thrilled about it (although they weren’t cartoonishly angry either) and we haven’t really talked about it since then. After a few months it reached the point where I was living a double life; I would be male when I was out of the house and then immediately revert to my feminine persona (which I now, increasingly, view as my ‘true’ self) upon my return home. Through it all, I have been slowly substituting my “male” wardrobe for “gender neutral” garments that were tailored for women and wearing more and more make-up.
This past Saturday, it entered an even higher gear; I went out with my girlfriend and spent the entire day, in public, as a woman. I have to admit, I loved the experience. Not because of how other people treated me (they treated me more or less the same, although, at the risk of stereotyping, older people and immigrants in particular had an annoying tendancy of staring at me for a few long seconds before hurriedly looking away), but because of how I felt about myself. My girlfriend later confessed to me that she thought I seemed more self-confident, and I cannot dispute this claim. There are few things that are more liberating than being who you really are.
But I am afraid. I think that any reasonable person reading this knows what the next step has to be, but the idea of taking such a big step has me frightened, and not just because I’m afraid of how my friends and family members will react. Every change is a little death, is it not? And such a big change is, therefore, very daunting.