Lately, I have been thinking more and more about coming-out publicly as transgender. But, as I have alluded-to before, I’m afraid to do so. And the worst part is, I’m not even sure as to what I am afraid of, anymore. When I first brought-up the subject on this blog, I insinuated that change itself was a little death, and that that was what I was afraid of. But I do not see this as being, in any sense, akin to dying; more I think of it as being able to achieve adulthood on my own terms. I have absolutely no desire to be a man, but if I could be a woman, I may finally take charge of my own life.
Neither am I afraid of my friends and family abandoning me. The truth is that my family loves me (although I’m not going to tell my grandparents mostly out of fear of giving them heart attacks), and most of my friends wouldn’t abandon me. The ones who would, I have gradually come to realize, are not really worth being friends with.
Nor am I (overly) worried about discrimination. Even though there are no legal protections for transsexuals in Canada, there are means of recourse for discrimination, and in any case I live in an altogether very liberal part of Canada, working in academia, which also tends to be very liberal (and my university forbids discrimination based on sexual identity). Though I can’t stay here forever, sooner or later Harper will no longer be Prime Minister, and his successor, almost by definition, will be more liberal. I am concerned that my hopes of traveling the world may be dashed, but there may be a way around that (I would not even be averse to not changing my documents and going abroad in male drag).
So what am I afraid of? I admit that I don’t relish the idea of being stared at; watching other people’s reactions has been amusing to me, but I could see how that could old very fast. What’s more, I have not been blessed by nature with what one might call a “feminine physique,” so it seems vanishingly unlikely that I would ever be able to present as anything other than a transwoman.
Honestly, I think that the worst part would just be explaining the whole situation to everyone over and over again, dealing with their incredulity, and the fact that vanishingly few people come pre-educated when it comes to trans-acceptance. For example, just a few days ago, I was at lunch with my girlfriend (who works in the “Pride” office of the university), several of my physicist friends, and several other physicists, engineers and programmers with whom I have been going to lunch regularly for the past year, but whose names, in general, I have never learned and would now feel awkward to ask. Somehow, the substance of the conversation drifted to what L. actually did for her job, and she mentioned the “binder project,” whereby her office makes discounted bust-binders available for transmen. This turned into a discussion about the precise terminology surrounding transsexual issues (“so are transmen women who are turning into men or is that the other way around?”), and listening to one of the programmers bitch piteously about how using the desired pronouns placed onerous demands upon the “normal” people*. One especially ‘clever’ person, upon hearing that the idea was to recognize people as they think of themselves, said “well what if I think of myself as God.” Seriously?
Another issue that keeps coming up, frankly, is the eventual possibility of my marriage to my girlfriend. In all honesty, the idea of the wedding sounds exceedingly tedious to me unless I can be married as a bride. But my girlfriend does not wish to alienate her grandparents, who have only three grandchildren, only one of whom is in any position to marry. Her grandmother’s greatest wish is to live to see at least one of her grandchildren get married (preferably not in a transsexual lesbian ceremony).
I’m not sure how to resolve these issues. I know that I want to come-out as a woman, but ironically, I may need to ‘nut-up’ in order to do so. I’m not sure what can be done about the marriage issue; perhaps I could wed in drag. I must say, from purely aesthetic grounds, the idea of being a woman in tuxedo strikes me…rather alluring.
*Seriously; just guess the first ti, pay attention if they correct you, and then apologize and correct yourself. Is that really so difficult to understand?