Monday, August 18, 2008

"Why can't you just . . ."

I can't find it now, but a couple years ago I came across a blog by a transwoman who remarked that people were always asking her why she couldn't just be a "sensitive New Age guy." These days, they said, it's acceptable for a man to stretch the boundaries of masculinity a little. Maybe you're just effeminate. How do you know you're a woman?

Jan Morris got very similar questions, fifty years ago:
Could it not be, they sometimes asked, that I was merely a transvestite. . . . Alternatively, was I sure that I was not just a suppressed homosexual, like so many others? Nobody would blame me nowadays, surely, if I let my hair down a bit--'wear something a bit gayer, you know, let your true personality emerge, don't hide it!' --Conundrum
There is no answer to the question. How do you know? Why can't you just? You do know, and you can't. Questions like that are the last act of desperation. "Please try to be something other than what you are, because this is making me uncomfortable."

I have the impression that when you come out to someone (as homosexual or transgendered) they immediately make it all about them. It's not about you anymore. It's about what they think homosexuality or transgender is, or about their complete ignorance . . . definitely about their fears.

I actually felt like this took the pressure off me. I had no desire to say, "Stop it! This is about me!" because I already know what I am. I've been through all the shock and fear and denial. Maybe coming out really is about the other person (the comee, as opposed to the comer?) because it's their turn to deal with it now.

How do I know I'm transgendered? Because I've tried not to be, for years, and it just doesn't work. I've tried to compromise and I can't do it anymore. That is what defines the transgendered person. The moment in which we say "I can't do this anymore." We all come to it by different paths, but the moment arrives, and then everything has changed.

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