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Post  CarolynAH on Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:28 pm

I don't know about anyone else here, and maybe this is all in my head. But going into transition I had no idea what living as a binary transgender woman was going to be like for me. I remember tearing myself down constantly before starting my medical transition. And now over two years after finally getting on full dose HRT and now nearly a year post-op. I am confused about how people see me. I used to walk around afraid to be seen as trans or to assert my needs as a woman. But I have grown more self assured and though I can sometimes tell other LGBTQ people are pretty sure that I am trans very few directly ask beyond leading questions. That I don't bother to engage anymore. The irony is here I am a nearly 6'5" curly red head holding hands with a cute 5'3" purple haired cis gendered woman and to most I think they believe we are just "gal pals" I don't even think people believe I am a lesbian.

Part of me likes this erasure. But here I was with her riding a bus to the state fair in a packed bus subtly holding hands with Christy with a transgender woman standing right next to us. She doesn't smile or anything so I give my usual girl to girl smile and go back to trying to stay upright while standing and retaining my personal space on the bus while silently communicating with Christy (my GF) via our hands. So here we were at a fair that for a state so filled with LGBTQ people seemed very very straight with far more MAGA and even one dude with a openly transphobic shirt who we passed without notice several times. And I wondered to myself what is going on here. I feel a bit like Natalie Wynn from Contrapoints who created a mini trans tweet war when she expressed discomfort with being the only transwoman in a group of women and the cis gendered woman starting introductions includes her pronouns. I ask myself why does that whole pronouns thing bother me outside of pure transgender gatherings. Is it internalized shame? No not exactly, it feels to me like a part of me that dreamed each night to wake up a girl is close to that dream but being reminded that I have fallen short. It's that vague look in that other transwoman's face of being unhappy to have me look at her at all, or going to a WLW group and being asked when was it I first realized I was attracted to women and then keenly feel the difference between my experience as a woman and theirs no matter how much else we share. I found myself crying uncontrollably with empathy for at Anna's story of transition in the 1960s trapped between nearly Faustian choices she never wanted or expected to face. I feel so privlidged and fortunate but powerless like I have fallen between the cracks and unsure if I belong anywhere anymore. Not trans, nor lesbian, nor woman enough. And yet I am happier than I thought I would ever be. I have decided it's pointless to be forever guessing if I "pass" as a woman and instead joke in the mirror about how I utterly fail at passing as a "dude" now or giggle amused that dating for over two months has resulted in a bunch of weight gain that went to my thighs and butt enough to amuse Christy as I wiggle my jeans past my thighs enough to earn me a smack on my butt.

Is this what a successful transition is? I have no clue.



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Post  xfortran on Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:06 pm

I suspect you don't get asked questions as they do not wish to impose or be impolite if they do notice. Even when I have permission to ask questions I dither on how/what words I wish to use...as I do not wish to make anyone uncomfortable.


Honestly it sounds like you are comfortable (with yourself). I would judge that a fair part of a successful transition but as we are talking about you ... you will have to be the final judge.

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Post  Lesley Niyori on Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:32 am

6'5" is probably like the sound of my voice (which you can hear on my interview).

Your height will get noticed just as much as my voices draws attention.

But years of hormones and 2 years post-op has made this transgender binary female pretty damned 'comfortable'. I know my voice 'outs' me, but there's nothing like a vagina to make a girl have the right attitude real easy. Wearing a bikini and no sign of maleness makes it easy to lie about my voice "oh, I injured my throat" as a casual line of bullshit if not in my hometown.

But really, eventually, you build the needed confidence to finally say 'fuck it' to the whole 'passing' issue.

The hardest thing I have had to teach D'arcy is that she WILL eventually gain that confidence level, But it has taken her time. Because it's rarely something you get to master without time spent mastering it. Unless like me, you possessed the needed attitude all along.

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Post  CarolynAH on Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:33 pm

I was never the one who just did things.  Or blindly jump in. I have trouble with any true deception beyond avoidance.  For me to transition I had to accept this inner self and the harm of hiding bit as truth rather than passivly react in accordance to what others expected to see.

My issue is while I accept myself as transgender I have never wished to wake up transgender or some other abstract construction of gender.  So accepting myself as a legitimate woman who has nothing to be ashamed, afraid of, or apologize for is the thorny bit.  Bottom surgery despite all the consequences and shortcomings has helped just as much if not more than HRT for me.  Because it was this aspect of my existence that I just couldn't escape from especially with those who I was most vulnerable with.  Even with Liam it twisted what both of us did. And if I am honest was unhealthy for both of us.  My journey to my surgery as well as his own was a hard thing that ultimately broke us from the issues we both were hiding from between us. My issues finding romance after highlight where I am.  When I did not have my transgender nature made clear I got plenty of likes from women but some felt "tricked" despite me telling them up front in chat. So I added it and got far fewer likes from cis-women but more from transwomen. I was mostly okay with that but I realized that I don't control who sees me and was announcing to everyone in my not exactly accepting area that I am transgender all for the comfort of a few women who I wouldn't date anyway.  And I realized that even in a state with so many LGBTQ people and loads of acceptance once you affirm that you are trans it creates a sort of scarlet letter between you that changes the nature of the relationship and made clear why this forum is one of the few places of any kind I still openly affirm that I am trans.  I don't in anyway feel ashamed of being transgender but I don't like being coddled, dismissed, or treated like my acceptance in any mostly cis-gendered group is a act of largesse. I also I admit at some level to love screwing with cis-people who think they know what I am and seeing them try to recover when I don't respond as expected. I don't think I will be able to "unquestionably pass" without continued surgical intervention but these days they feel like acts of diminishing returns at great expense. And if I am honest I don't think I actually "pass" much at all beyond people being unsure about me and giving me the benifit of doubt.  And I am okay with that. What I find is the more I just assume I am seen as a woman rather than be thankful to be seen as one the more natural my response to people becomes. It takes so damn long to undo lifelong responses. So I feel like these sorts of almost silly mindfulness games become actually important.

But sometimes I feel like in our community that there is a sort of debt to be visible for others who don't have the choice or openly choose to not conform.  But I am not sure if I wholly agree with that. I think it's good to engage and support if one can but that is it. As I have literally wanted to throttle a few loud transgender people who tried to dismiss another person's needs and struggle with dysphoria and getting medical assistance of it as unnecessary.  Or another who felt like their "flexibility" allowed them to access any gendered safe space, even ones that were for those recovering from sexual traumas. I will never forget... Hi my name is Pat, I am from xxx, and my pronouns are Pat all said like the most clever thing ever. #eyeroll#  I don't like being a bitch but sometimes my old trans ass gets grumpy when another transgender person treats gender identity flippantly like it's some act of performative defiance.
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Post  CarolynAH on Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:25 pm

To be clear I was not throwing shade on other transgender folks.  But I think there has been an interesting cultural shift in our community in the years I have been looking on. I like to believe that much of this has always bexisted and all that is happening is some segments now have greater voice, acceptance, and visibility.  Though I find myself curious if for instance are binary and non-binary experiences formed differently at their core, is there really gender spectrum or is it more of a trinary system with modes of expression creating the impression of a spectrum, even though there is a great deal of shared cultural and social experience our needs can be very different and it all can be quite a lot for someone trying to accept and understand themselves.

Maybe I am just a dinosaur, and need to just say goodbye and give up on trying to understand the new generations, not worry anymore about connecting with "the community" or being "visible". And just be Carolyn.
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Post  Celia Eriksson on Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:33 pm

CarolynAH wrote:To be clear I was not throwing shade on other transgender folks.  But I think there has been an interesting cultural shift in our community in the years I have been looking on. I like to believe that much of this has always bexisted and all that is happening is some segments now have greater voice, acceptance, and visibility.  Though I find myself curious if for instance are binary and non-binary experiences formed differently at their core, is there really gender spectrum or is it more of a trinary system with modes of expression creating the impression of a spectrum, even though there is a great deal of shared cultural and social experience our needs can be very different and it all can be quite a lot for someone trying to accept and understand themselves.

Maybe I am just a dinosaur, and need to just say goodbye and give up on trying to understand the new generations, not worry anymore about connecting with "the community" or being "visible". And just be Carolyn.


That is a beautiful, well written post that I agree with so very much.

Be yourself Carolyn, for you, all of us, and every other human being, is special, deserving of respect for who we are.

Celia xx

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Post  CarolynAH on Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:50 am

Thanks, life it seems is not done with my transition. I have been let go at work. I will be paid until November and get a severance package. I guess this old girl will have to learn new tricks.
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Post  Lesley Niyori on Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:55 pm

Sad to hear of that dear. It sounds like someone at work has shown their true colours.

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Post  CarolynAH on Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:40 pm

Maybe, I worked 100% from home and honestly didn't care for my new boss very much or what he wanted from me. It's hard at times working like that. I missed engaging with my coworkers. But I also admit it gave me time and space to become confident in myself. Now that will be tested. Now it's time to be free of the chains of my old life and to build a new space fully as me.
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Post  mariehart1 on Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:12 pm

You make some interesting points Carolyn. I too wonder at the notion of a gender spectrum. My tendency is to incline towards a binary view. Only the other day Sam Smith the British singer decided to changed his/her pronoun to they/them. My attitude is to pick a side not that I'm going to criticise anyone for making it work for them by labelling themselves in a particular way.


As I'm sure all of us know it's difficult to define and accept ourselves. It took me a long time to accept myself as transgender. Although I always knew instinctively but somehow managed to throw obstacles in the path to self acceptance. Sam claims to neither identify as male or female. It's my belief that they're doing the same thing.


When I finally accepted and admitted to myself that I'm transgender. I still tried to talk myself out of it. Eventually though thanks in part to my interaction with the original TG boards. I simply accepted that I am in fact a woman. I think Sam hasn't reached that point yet. Perhaps from my binary point of view a lot of non binary community are simply not yet in right place to accept their underlying gender. The problem for me was that I felt I had too many typically male attributes and interests to be a woman. Many though are simply gender stereotypes. As a society we still tend to have expectations of men and women which are simply wrong. Once you shake them off it gets easier to accept yourself.

I speak as someone who is not transitioning and depressingly may never do so. But I still perceive myself as a woman. No more, no less. I think we all have to find a way of accomodating this situation and then finally find acceptance for ourselves. Realistically we can never find total acceptance from other people, even sometimes other transgender people. As you make clear in your wonderfully articulate posts.

The only thing we can do is accept ourselves.

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