Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What’s “feminine” anyway?

Andrej Pejic

Man Carrying Purse

Whenever I recount my trans biography (like at outreach), 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 of my 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 a few 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 mannerisms or speech that caused their reaction? I was not intentionally acting or speaking 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 and if someone called me a name, I hit them with my purse.

Even in high school, college, and law school, I occasionally ran into guys, who commented on my particular flavor of masculinity, but I just shrugged them off and kept on truckin'. By then, I was crossdressing in secret and 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 mannerisms and speech.

After mentioning this story at outreach one time, 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 talk more softly when I femulate, but most of what you get is the genuine me. And I am not changing a thing.


  1. Stana -

    Someone recently said that about my voice. I guess it's because people might expect me to be at least half an octave lower than I am.... But I wonder if it also applied to my mannerisms when in male mode?


  2. Good for you, Stana, you've always been a 100% natural woman.

  3. Stana

    You are one wonderful person regardless of your presentation. In guy mode you are obviously a real nice guy...just one who has a few somewhat feminine characteristics. These characteristics may be a bit incongruent for the 'typical' guy but seem to correlate well when you are en femme. Either way it would be the same core person.

    I see us as having the gift of being able to enjoy both genders. I have had a good positive life as a boy/man, son, husband, father, worker, provider, etc. I enjoyed athletics in my younger days and even now I am fairly content as an athletic supporter. I also love and savor every moment I get to be my girl self.

    I think that one reason so many of us seem to become more comfortable with our dual nature as we age is that we learn that we can be comfortable in our own skin regardless of the texture of the clothes on the skin.

    When we are with people, regardless of whether we are dressed en femme or en homme, we have an aura that some people will pick up. In your case and mine I suspect it is a mix of some of the better aspects of basic male and female characteristics.


  4. I have a male friend that´s gay. He´s not out of the closet and he tries to be as ´man´ as he can. So, he´s constantly trying to look interested by women, he´s hitting to them all the time. He´s dressing as manly as possible. But you know what ? Everyone (men and women) know he´s gay. I wonder myself why, and the answer could be linked to his energetic vibes or maybe his pheromones.
    In my case, as I only dress with feminine clothes and I use only feminine accessories, even in male declarative mode, everyone´s looking at me with a puzzled face. Maybe because sexually I´m not gay and I´m not even transsexual, but I´m presenting myself in a such a feminine manner. So, basically, people sees me like a strange unusual person - and this can be interesting/intimidating for some of them.

    I guess we are all different, even if we try to fit into the norms. But that´s the beauty of life!

  5. Hi Stana, thank you so much for sharing your story. I can definitely relate to the struggles that you had in high school. I too was bullied mercilessly, and my high-school years were not exactly the most memorable. I have avoided talking about my experience, but you have given me a little bit more courage to write it down:

    Thank you.