Saturday, January 24, 2009

what's "feminine" anyway?

Whenever I recount my trans biography (like at outreach on Wednesday), I usually mention that as a youngster, I participated in sports (baseball and football) and played "boy games" (cowboys, war, spacemen, etc.). I felt that I was a typical boy and I enjoyed doing "boy things," unlike many trans sisters, who as children, hated "boy things" and preferred "girl things."

I also mention in my bio that despite my participation and enjoyment of those boy things, other boys called me names like "sissy," "fairy," "faggot," etc., which indicated to me that I was not necessarily all the boy I thought I was.

This was not just a case of bullies using random offensive names to raise my ire. Even some of my friends told me that I was not acting like a boy at a 100% level and that I should do something about it.

I wondered if there was something in my speech or mannerisms that caused their reaction? I was not intentionally speaking or acting in an affected manner. Rather, I was speaking and acting in my natural manner, which I did not feel was feminine.

The fact that even friends told me that something was amiss indicated that something really was amiss, but I was clueless. I had no idea what I had to do differently to be more boy-like. So, I continued acting the same way I always acted.

In high school, college, and law school, I occasionally ran into guys, who commented on my particular flavor of masculinity, but just I shrugged them off and kept on truckin'. By then, I was crossdressing in secret only coming out en femme for Halloween including an appearance in drag at a Halloween party in law school*.

I will never forget a friend of mine at that party telling me that he never realized how feminine my speaking and mannerisms were until he saw me in drag. He indicated that my female costume was a perfect fit for my normal speech and mannerisms.

After mentioning this at outreach on Wednesday, one of the students said that my mannerisms were feminine and that my friends and acquaintances had been in the ballpark in their estimation of me.

Yet, nothing has changed. I still do not affect a feminine persona. I still act naturally and no differently whether in boy mode or girl mode.

I admit that I do try to walk more like a woman when I am en femme and I occasionally talk more softly when I femulate, but most of what you get is the genuine me. And I am not changing a thing.

* By the way, I did graduate from law school, but never practiced in that field. (I hated that field.) Instead, I turned to my first love: writing and became a successful professional writer/author.


  1. I saw some interesting echoes of my own life in the above post. Like you, I was a "normal" boy in many respects while growing up, yet there were still a few things about me that didn't seem "right", to either myself or others. I was one of those guys who liked reading a little too much; did a little too well at school; and cried a little too easily - you probably know the kind. Even more oddly, I seemed to feel quite "girly" a lot of the time. Even back then, I knew that was pretty weird, but strangely enough, I can't ever remember feeling uncomfortable about it.

    Like you, I've long had a fondness for women's clothing (as well as flamboyant clothing in general), and have often worn it openly, albeit while still presenting as a guy in my case. I, too, have gotten a lot of positive comments about the way I dress, a surprising number of people having told me I look really good in female attire (I just seem to have the face and body to be able to pull off androgynous dressing).

    I had to laugh at your little footnote about your abortive law career. When I was in my final years of school, a lot of my classmates were intent on doing law, having no doubt had their heads filled with all manner of foolish ideas about the profession by shows such as 'LA Law' (which seemed to be the big law show on TV at the time). No doubt they thought a career in law would be nothing more than an endless succession of sensational court cases and the like. Me being the cynic I was, however, I figured it was more likely to entail a lot of boring stuff, such as poring over musty old legal tomes in search of archaic laws one could exploit in tedious court cases involving complete nobodies engaged in petty squabbles. Interestingly enough, about ten years after I'd left school, I ran into an old schoolmate who had gone on to do law, and he said it was exactly how I'd thought it'd be!

  2. Zosimus --- I have never regretted my career choice.

  3. Sorry, I must have misinterpreted that part of your original post.

  4. Zosimus --- No need to apologize. I was not correcting anything in your comment, I was just emphasizing that I am a happy camper.