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Being ‘me’

man-womanJust today, my partner wanted to talk – she felt conflicted.  She felt that she had to ‘be a man’ for me – to allow me to feel more like a woman.  But that this was depriving her of feeling like a woman.  I think this really underscores the importance of open communications and checking one’s assumptions – often.

I explained that I am not looking for, nor want a man or the influence of a man.  If one has to use a label, then I would be dead center lesbian – I don’t want a man or someone being ‘manly’.  Plus, I am in love with her – all of her – ‘her’ traits – emotions – body/soul – everything.  I don’t want nor expect her to change, especially for me to feel more as a woman.  I want to feel – like ‘me’ – no facade – free to express myself and act myself.  That just happens to match what society calls or labels as a ‘woman’.

I think we need to just drop the male/female labels and not get hung up that being a certain way or having a certain trait means we are more masculine or feminine because of it.  Helen Boyd’s “She’s not the man I married” goes into this in exquisite depth.  Forget about labels – there are far more exceptions then any cohesiveness to them.  Going through a transition, especially before starting one, we want to be everything female, somewhat blinding ourselves to our own reality.

I think this is necessary:  old Chinese proverb:  “the student must reject the mentor in order to excel and move forward”.  I think we first have to reject maleness and embrace what we see as total femininity to make those first steps, to clearly define what is and what is not.  This allows us to break the life long facade we held up and to identify it as such and see it clearly.

However,  this is an extreme – the pendulum is far over to one side, opposite of where is was – the extreme other side.  At some point it is imperative to center it, to center ourselves, to become not some idealized non-existent reality that no natal woman can even achieve, but to come back to ourselves – to explore and find who we are and then be that.

After all, that is what started this journey: we were not who we authentically ‘are’ and needed to change.   Now, if that means you are good at and enjoy car mechanics before, then do that now!  That was part of you.  Forget the labels, forget that’s a ‘masculine’ trait – its just a trait, a capability.  (By the way, one of the best mechanics here on this island is a natal woman ….. )

So, my partner and I have come to an agreement and understanding – we both just want to be ourselves – so let’s just do that.  She was missing the male that I used to be, but upon further exploration, she saw that those traits and capabilities were still there.  She wants to be the woman she is – and that is exactly who I fell in love with and need the most especially as I go through this transition and also through the rest of my life.

So, this journey is about being the authentic ‘me’ – not the facade I put on before.  Society best describes the summation of ‘me’ as a woman – and that is what I am.  But more than that or any labels – I am simply ….. me !!

With much Aloha,


“Why are ‘you’ a woman?”

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7586971_f520In coming out, especially to family, I inevitably get the question: “what makes you think you are a woman” and “give me examples through-out your life” followed by “well, men are like that/do that too”.

One can get caught in this game of proof by example …

I always try to start by telling them that since birth I knew myself as female, that this was something inside me and that through-out my life I have struggled either by denying or rationalizing.

Still, they want examples …

It seems like most people want concrete examples, more or less proving that I am a woman.  Situations or characteristics that to them prove who I say I am.  Even those that know me well, start to point out “well, you are a scientist” or “you fixed cars” in trying to dis-prove or perhaps substantiate their own notion of who they ‘knew’ as me.  Even after giving them examples of natal women who hold those roles in life (and who I work with), they still look for other proof, either for or against.

It probably did not help that for most of their lives, I filled the ‘male’ role quite well.  I had kept this under wraps very successfully (and to an extent, even to myself with multiple rationalizations such as “I’m just a guy with these other abilities/characteristics …”).

Most people required someone in an authoritative position to be able to proclaim that I was a woman.  For example, “after 4 years of therapy, Dr. so and so diagnosed me as a transsexual woman”.  I hate using the word ‘diagnosed’ and I usually explain that this is not a ‘condition’ or a mental anything – this is akin to having red hair or green eyes – it’s just another version of the human experience – albeit not as common.

Even then, they dismiss that as “who is Dr so and so, are they qualified, are you sure?” …

I have also started to see or recognize that people are going through phases in dealing with my news.  It usually starts with the type of questioning I mentioned above, almost always from a negative/denial perspective.  Then they start to accept or see or perhaps relate to events where they have personally witnessed me, that they can now, in light of this news, re-interpret as coming from a feminine being.

This is usually followed by another phase where they now start asking ‘genuine’ questions and I can start to see the ‘wheels turning’ as they start to put everything together.  Acceptance is still a ways off, but now they are also more receptive to further information as well.  A lot of times they ask questions that I had already addressed right in the beginning – almost as if they didn’t hear what I had said.  I think most of the time they were just not ready to hear it then and that this was so overwhelming that they could not take it all in.  That is one reason I wrote both the coming out letter and the slides on what transsexualism is (both I have included on this site).

On the one hand I feel sad that people can not accept my feelings about who I am, my internal process, without black and white logistical proof – something that just does not exist in this realm.  About all that can be ‘seen’ externally is this ‘preponderance of evidence’ of example situations from one’s life experiences – things that taken individually can be dismissed quite easily.

This happened to me as well as I came to terms with who I am.  One of the phases I went through (see the tab above titled ‘Beginnings’ – I called them ‘bathtub moments’), was a collection and analysis of all those events that I could remember.  Look around at most of the other transsexual stories you see – almost all of them have major sections devoted to events and incidents through-out their lives attempting to offer proof that they/we are who we say we are – played with the girls, dressed in women’s clothing, not competitive, was creative, etc.  All of these, on a one by one basis could be dismissed, but on a preponderance of evidence criteria, perhaps could offer circumstantial evidence that we are transsexual beings.

But – why does that matter?  We know who we are.  Yes, we want to be accepted by our loved ones, our families and our friends.  How much of their questioning and disbelief comes back inside ourselves and either upsets us or perhaps even forces us to re-examine ourselves – to ask “what am I doing? (not in the context of “am I right” but in the context of what is the extent of the damage I am doing to others).  It forces us to once again weight risks and benefits – as if this is a business decision that can be rationally analyzed ….

In the end, it is our personal fortitude and strength that is tested, over and over again.  Perhaps this is good – it re-affirms who we are.  But why do we allow external forces to effect us?  Don’t get me wrong here:  I know who I am – this is not raising doubts.  However, we are social beings.  As much as some might wish independence – we do need loved ones and friends/family to live happily – at least I do.

We can ignore the plights of others as they go through their stages of accepting us, we can help them understand, we can have patience and show love and/or we can silently suffer through their angst and bewilderment.

I think what is most important is that ‘we’ know our own ‘truth’, know it well and are stable/grounded in it.  We are all different, but I choose to help those that struggle through these phases – I choose to avail myself to them (if they wish) and offer what ever support and love that I can.  Most importantly, I see this as ‘their’ problem/issue.  I am who I am and as a transsexual author friend of mine said (and her book is titled) “It’s ok to be me” !

With much aloha,