Monday, March 2, 2009

out on a limb

I am home today watching the snow fall on a bleak Zhivagoesque landscape, while my deskjet prints the income tax forms that I will file tomorrow.

I finished doing our taxes this morning (yay!) and wait to begin my next big task (boo!): digging out from the snow storm. In the meantime, I am considering my particular location on the male-to-female transgender continuum.

At one end of the continuum are the gents who put on dresses, light up cigars, and sit around with the other gents in dresses discussing whatever is the news du jour on ESPN.

At the other end of the continuum are post-op transsexuals, who have completed transition and live their lives as the females they were born to be.

In my neck of the woods on the continuum are the femulators, i.e., transwomen, who present fully female in both dress and manner, but have no plans to surgically modify their bodies in order to augment their femulation. Some are full-time 24/7 femulators and some of them identify as no-op transsexuals. Others are part-time (like me) femulating when they can and some of them also identify as no-op transsexuals (not like me).

I believe that if the circumstances were different, I would femulate full-time without surgery, i.e., be a no-op, but I would not identify as transsexual.

Am I in denial about being transsexual?

I have met many transsexuals over the years and all of them admitted that they longed to be female all their lives. And they hated their male bodies. I never had the longing to be female and I am fairly satisfied with my body (my primary dissatisfaction is related to hair, i.e, too much and not enough in all the wrong places.)

On the other hand, I am not atypical male. In my youth, I enjoyed boy activities... to a point. I was not your typical rough and tumble boy and I did not like to take part in any activities where pain was a possibility. For example, I liked to play football, but I preferred touch football and avoided tackle football. So, I definitely had a sissy streak in me and some of the other youths let me know it by taunting me and calling me names.

I also enjoyed creative activities (writing and drawing) and there were other activities, i.e., some that were downright female that I would have pursued, but I worried what others would think if I followed those girlish activities, so I avoided them.

By the way, I am a heterosexual and never had any inclinations not to be.

All that being said, I believe that I am out on a limb that branches off the male-to-female transgender continuum. I am not sure of the name of that limb*, but it is kind of lonely out here.

And so it snows.

* I had this discussion here a few months ago and I bought into the suggestion that I was a "transgenderist," but after thinking about it, I'm not so sure.


  1. For what it's worth, you are not alone on your limb. Like you I identify with a "part time" mentality where I wish to express *both* sides of myself. The ability to wear what I want regardless of gender specifications, the ability to pursue activities of my choosing again regardless of gender, but I have no inclinations towards permanent body modification or sexual preference changes. So make room on that limb, there are more of us than you think. :)

  2. I think it's too bad we get pushed into a binary model by society at large and the TG community in particular. If you spoke to my partner, she would probably admit to also being somewhat between. She would definitely prefer to be en femme all the time, but it doesn't seem to cause her undue stress to present as a guy when it is necessary. She is scupulously feminine in every aspect of her appearance but has no wish to modify her voice because -- well, why should she? She loves and is adept at all the "guy" things (mechanics, for example) AND all the "girl" things (cooking, nesting, accessorizing). Honestly, I don't think of her so much as trans as incredibly multi-facted. I have this whole personal theory that being TG facilitates or is in some way correlated to multi-intelligence -- would love to see some research on this. Meanwhile, don't feel lonely, just embrace who you are in all your technicolor glory. Diversity is what makes evolution possible. (I'm a GG BTW)

  3. Don't worry about it! I'm glad someone else feels close to the way I do about this whole thing. I never did girl things as a boy either: I liked boy toys like cars and guns, and still do. And even though I spend a great deal of time en-femme, and wouldn't even mind a nice rack some day, I have chosen not to get SRS, and always keep my options open, because although I prefer to femulate, I don't hate my maleness, either.

  4. Well, my late parents were told I had KS back in the seventies. (I didn't find out until the mid-nineties) I was given Dianabol then Testosterone, then curiously, both. This was the early seventies. I started at seventeen/eighteen weighing 135 at 6', a natural ectomorph.

    I gained thirty pounds and three inches rather quickly...there's more to this but it doesn't seem worth mentioning now. One thing though, no amount of T or an anabolic steroid changes your skeletal frame.

    I had always crossdressed and upon reflection I never felt like a boy was supposed to feel. I was aware even then that I didn't know how girls 'felt' but I often wished I could be one. More precisely, I didn't fit my interpretation of the gender binary. Worse, I went to a Catholic school where I struggled with the shame and the prescribed fear of being hell bound were I to die.

    I liked girly things, but you didn't do that in my neighborhood around my parents. But, I also liked boy things as well. I had major crushes on both girls and boys. Truly, the confusion was immense.

    To this day I feel neither like a man nor a woman. Saying that seems impossibly vague and indicative of the total absence of introspection, but that's not how I see it.

    It still disturbs me that my body was introduced to a long term regimen of a toxic poison and I willingly submitted to it.
    I just wanted to be 'a man'.

    I haven't cross-dressed in years and have no desire to do so. However, I've come to realize that ideally, my life would resemble Eva Robbin's were I able to do it all over again.
    And lastly, there's this whimsical notion; if one is reincarnated I'd much prefer to be a female.

  5. ...forgive me, but this anonymous again. I forgot something in the post about KS etc.
    Feel free to discard it or add it to the previous.

    I don't want to be female so I can wear lace, no topic in trans fiction interests me and I don't see being a woman as the key to solving conflicts in any sexual/emotional relationship, but regardless of how one feels about the gender binary as it's generally defined, the fact remains that there will always be important differences between men and women. And my preference, in retrospect, has been decidedly feminine. Sad, yet somehow wondrous is the fact that I always knew this.

    Thanks Staci...I really admire you!

  6. Staci-Lana, thought provoking as always, and in too many directions to sort out comprehensively here, or perhaps ever.

    I did think a little about the word transgenderist. I agree with you it is missing a certain I don't know what. Perhaps transcurious, or transactive or transmorphic gets us a little closer.

    Continuum implies a pretty straight line A-B-Z kind of trip with deeper levels of embrace of the whole Z objective each step of the way.

    Such continuua (I have waited my whole life to use that word) lack the dimensionality that I think we all require to make sense of where we are. I much prefer your tree metaphor. And I can see your branch from mine.

    I think that our branches are quite crowded, but that does not stop them from being lonely places.

    It is a very nice tree to share with you though.

    Cheers - Petra

  7. For what it's worth... you're not alone. There's many people who feel the same way you do.

    I'm not one of them, I don't understand you at all I'm afraid. But I don't have to. I've studied the neurology, the neuroanatomy of that very complex and sexually dimorphic organ, the human brain. And it's inevitable that, given the brain is so sexually dimorphic in so many areas, some people will have more or less masculinity or femininity than others, and in different areas. You can have Transsexual women who are complete tomboys, geek girls, not girlie at all. And transgendered men who are far more feminine than they are, at least, part of the time, yet quite happy with their male anatomy. It's inevitable that some people will be like that.

    So please don't worry about it, just be yourself.

  8. Thank you all. Your comments gave me more things to think about and also comfort knowing that I have some company out on that limb.