‘Banging Our Own Drum, Singing Our Own Tune’
(20 Sep 2019)
Allow me to tie together an accumulation of various loose end thoughts.
I’d like to elaborate on the questions that we of the Trans Community come to during the course of our Transition, as we complete Transition. I propose these questions more specifically for the M-F Trans woman who has had all the hormones and surgeries that she planned. Or maybe she decided to cease any further surgical events.
– When do you choose to cease referring to yourself as ‘Trans’?
– When do you consider yourself complete as a woman?
– How do other women – Cis women – among your circle of friends accept you? Trans woman? Woman?
This is ‘Passing’ – one element of Transition. This concept of Passing dates to the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s – the era of my adult Transition that occurred during the 1970s. Passing provides that society perceives of us as a woman rather than as a Trans woman. Passing is different nowadays. Some of today’s Trans women accept it, some reject it.
Some of us Pass quite amazingly well, even those who Transitioned after decades of T Poisoning. Some of us think that others Pass quite well. Some of us are closer to Passing than we realise. Some of us will always appear Trans. Some of us are our harshest critics who think that we shall never Pass.
Either way, it is in our innate sense that we had no choice but to Transition and endure whatever the consequences.
I consider that I Pass. I don’t see Nick in my reflection in the mirror or in my current pictures. Other people who don’t know me apparently perceive me as a woman; Society does not mis-gender me as a man. I learned that I began to ‘Pass the ‘Passing’ Test’ by the way Society mis-gendered me as female despite every effort that I made trying to present as male during my late-Transition. That is called ‘Male Fail’.
The sense of the terminology of Transsexual (and perhaps now Transgender) was applied to the person during their Transition.
Once you achieved whatever is your goal, once you accomplished your Transition, you dropt the reference of Transsexual. For the M-F, you were now a woman without need to carry that extra reference as Transsexual.
My surgeries made me feel that I accomplished something. I wasn’t certain if either were the last, but at least I achieved something momentous.
They both affirmed my Femalehood, definitely putting ‘male’ in my past.
Transition, as far as ‘bottom’ surgery went, was to the extent possible. I obtained what my health insurance provided – relatively minimal considering the circumstances that that was Utah in 1983.
I considered FFS. I want it. Do I need it? Can I afford it?
I made recent enquiries about FFS. Ouch! I’m looking at $35.000 for the immediate medical surgery aspects. Then there is travel, out of town recovery residence, follow-up medical exams at home. What happens if there are complications? Adjustments? This remains a far more complex decision than ‘bottom’ surgeries.
Self-satisfaction, self-respect, self-love come into play. I must accept who I am, no matter what my outer appearance.
I must accept at some point that I am complete as Sharon, as a woman.
As one woman explained, if you broke your arm, then you refer to your self as having a broken arm only until you are healed. You no longer explain your self to others that you have a broken arm, except as part of your past, once your bone is healthy.
Being both Transsexual and Inter-sex has its own complexity. As Transsexual, I considered my 1983 surgery my completion event; it was not everything that I wanted. That surgery permanently changed my medical record to Female; that result was more than I could have expected mere months earlier. Yet my 1982 Inter-sex diagnosis caught me in the middle. My Transsexual self told me that I wanted to be ‘normal’. My newer Inter-sex self was gradually trying to convince me that I was already ‘normal’ – Inter-sex ‘normal’, my ‘normal’.
Post-op 1983, I was what I called myself ‘Half-and-Half’ and ‘50 / 50’. I fought my internal struggle still wanting to be ‘normal’ as compelled by my original Transsexual identity, yet accept my new ‘normal’ according to my Inter-sex diagnosis.
I am ‘normal’ since my 2016 surgery; no regrets, yet sometimes curious what my life would be if I chose to forego that surgery.
Of course, there is that certain Badge of Honour wearing both the Transsexual and Inter-sex terms. Our label keeps ourselves and others aware that we came through our own journey to maturity a bit different than society’s concept of ‘normal’.
Some of us will choose to reveal that we are Trans as part of our womanhood.
Cis women and Trans women have much in common, yet much divergent.
– Cis women have their periods, concern for birth control and pregnancy, growing up with their own expectations as women in this society. These may be wishful ideas of the Trans woman’s imagination.
– Cis women likely have little concept about the M-F Trans experience – Dysphoria, socialisation as ‘boy’ / ‘man’, expectations of men in society.
Perhaps a weird explanation about us is that we see ‘him’ in the mirror though we’d rather see ourselves as her. This transformation takes time – months, years. It is gradual, sometimes slowly imperceptible, usually causing frustration that it can’t move faster to satisfy our impatience. Then, one day, we do see our self, the woman whom we are. She knowingly stares at us with a smirk and a wink. At last we begin to enjoy our self; highly critical at first, eventually unconditionally. It is who we are. We are proud of our accomplishments. Finally!
Lemme tell you about my first mirror experience. I was travelling from Oregon to home at Arizona (July 1993). I spent the night at a seaside motel at Port Orford. I had to visit Mother Nature during the night. The light inside the bathroom was not totally dark, probably a bit of Moon glow. In my fog of sleep, I noticed what appeared to be a woman in my motel room bathroom before I could turn on the light. Who is she? How did she enter? I felt an unease. I managed to nervously turn on the bathroom light and prepare to confront this intruder. OMG! That stranger in the bathroom was my reflection in the mirror. She is me! This was probably the first time when I examined my self in the mirror. This discovery remains vivid with me.
The second time that I remember having a mirror experience occurred four years ago – Summer 2015. My focus was preparing myself for travel to Thailand for surgery with Dr. Chettawut. I depended upon free Wi-Fi – at the Public Library, at the Fry’s grocery store, at Kinko’s copy stores – to accomplish innumerable travel and surgery preparation tasks on-line. This mirror was at Fry’s; I was familiar with several local Fry’s restrooms, but this was at a Fry’s store new to me. I opened the restroom door and saw a woman confronting me.
– ‘Pardon me’ I said to her.
Upon a second look, I realised that that woman is me – my reflection in the mirror placed opposite the entrance door.
There is no single way to do Transition, to live. Each of us is in charge of our life, our revelation. We must find what makes us happy, what makes our Trans support family happy for us.
Our focus is on our selves, on our Transition, sometimes excluding other people, other priorities when we begin our Transition.
We focus on ‘me’ more than any others around us. We need to bring our attention to our Transition challenges.
Our family and friends who have been our support might feel that we are rejecting them, rejecting their support – being selfish.
We can’t allow others to control us, not now. This is too important to lose our focus. If Transition is selfish, if others consider that our life endeavour is selfish, well, so be it. This must be accomplished for us to find our maturity on the other end of the process.
Please bear with us. Eventually, we adjust our perspectives and re-organise our lives with a better balance; Trans is no longer everything, though reaching our goal is on our mind.
We control when and how we define our selves. We embrace our Trans-ness when the time comes, even if our revelation is difficult. We drop it when we prefer our privacy.
We learn to adjust our decisions as we progress. While Trans is who we are, we no longer feel the need to talk about it all the time. Our attention shifts from the personal to the political – our Civil Rights, our Constitutional Rights. We began to confront society’s Transphobics who seek to abolish our existence, our Rights.
Sometimes, all these years on, I still feel awkward introducing myself in female identification. Not that I perceive my self as male. Maybe this is the trade of my Non-Binary self in me that I discovered some time around 1977 during my Transition. I frequently had night-time dreams of me moving freely among society from Sharon to Nick – this could change from day-to-day or even hour-to-hour. I remember having a humourous dream attending college classes. I arrived one day and one of my class-mates asked me who I was that day – Sharon or Nick. I shrugged, ‘I don’t know’.
But just let something mistake me, mis-gender me, and that gets my proverbial goat. I remember with clarity receiving my Social Security card as Sharon (1978), I remember receiving my driver’s licence as Sharon with that ‘F’ for the first time (1980). My medical records documented me as Sharon and female since 1979, I’ve had three surgeries (1982, 1983, 2016) confirming me as female. Those achievements brought a lifetime of euphoria. Yet, in 2017, there it was – my medical record showing me as ‘male’. AGH! I showed this error to my physician and, politely as possible, demanded that this be corrected.
I don’t introduce myself to people as being Transsexual and Inter-sex. There must be a reason to tell someone that I am. I don’t have a habit of saying anything about it. I don’t announce it as a grand acclamation. I don’t find that disclosure necessary.
I’m not soliciting for an intimate encounter when perhaps that specific disclosure seems fair. But then again, I rarely meet new people outside the Trans Community where I am known as Trans and my history is public.
This introduction quandary is something quite individualised among the Trans Community. Each of us determines what is comfortable to the situation and audience.
There’s no hiding this, and I don’t. I shall always be Transsexual and Inter-sex. Likewise, I always was, always have been, always will be Female / Girl / Woman. I knew of this since age 3. Family knew of this at least that time. Various friends came to know this as I revealed it to them during the course of my life.
Related to this, there is Stealth. This becomes a personal decision for a variety of reasons. Frequently, Stealth is critical for safety in public settings where disclosing being Trans attracts violence, assault, murder. Disclosing being Trans at work invites harassment and getting fired. Don’t I know that! Disclosing being Trans can get you evicted from your home where city, county, or state laws allow Trans people be refused housing. Now, here at Arizona, our state Supreme Court ruled that a business open to the public can refuse to serve an LGBT customer. Add more to that sign in the window:
– ‘No shirt, no shoes, no F*gs, no Tr*nnies: NO SERVICE!’
I admittedly don’t know your life, Dear Reader.
Nevertheless, allow me to tell you what may come. Your thoughts will exclude your Trans history – possibly for days, weeks, months, maybe years.
For myself, that was my experience. Dunno if it was because of living stealth or merely because I eventually put my Transition in my past, its significance diminished through the passage of time. As the premise of this topic, I progressed from being in Transition, to being post-op, to being me.
Days, weeks, months passed and I had no thought about my having been what I was – Trans. I am only what I am – a woman.
Taking my daily hormones was not anything more momentous than taking my daily vitamin supplement.
Sure, I attended to medical appointments. Attending to medical appointments specific to my condition were the only occasion that brought about the thought of my past experiences; other health care was for me as a woman.
So, too, went swaths of time when I had little thought about my anatomical anomaly – that I thought about it only when I had to attend to medical appointments.
In 2015, for my first time, I outed myself when I began participating in social media. That was a rough start. It was the time when TV was introducing new characters as Trans, one of them named Nick (I wrote about a personal backstory to that character in a prior essay, and other TV characters were named Sharon and Nick by the same producer in another TV show). Gradually, the others at that chat room forgot about my being Trans, they eventually perceived me simply as Sharon, a woman, not Sharon the Trans member. To them, I was as any other woman.
As I explained, I was living life unconsumed by this. I had no Trans Community at that time – not in real life, not among social media. I remember coming out of my Stealth during 2015 – I thought, ‘WOW! I just met someone who is Trans!’ totally oblivious to the fact that I am Trans, grew up as a Trans child, began my Transition more than four decades earlier. All those years, I gradually had begun to think less and less that I myself am Trans.
Being here at social media allows me to control information about my life. I am comfortable discussing my Trans and Inter-sex situation with civilians. I reveal only what I choose.
You can talk with me any time, any place. Let’s keep it respectable.
Sometimes saying that I am Transsexual and Inter-sex now makes it a political declaration, a statement of revolution and defiance in the face of opposition from Crooked Drumpf and his Right-wing Republi-con Christian Con-servative Evangelical Fundamentalist Taliban.
Some members of the Trans Community consider that it is important to be public.
– That being open educates the Cis Community, we are Trans ‘ambassadors’ presenting our positive image representative of the Trans Community.
– That being public encourages others who are themselves trying to find themselves, who may be just starting, who may be early in their journey.
Allow my presence to become a role model, a mentor to others coming this direction. I had my start same as everyone. Then again, I was more than fortunate to have several Trans people help me throughout my life from the earliest of my memory.
Thank You, Dear Reader, for visiting today.
Thank you for checking in:
Please return for the next essay.
A Trans Woman speaks about hate crime:
For parents raising a Trans Child:
London ‘Pride’ event:
The importance of an out teacher as a positive role model:
Assistance for you seeking surgery and surgeons:
Physicians must be held to their Hippocratic Oath:
This should please Mary, my one-time Pinewood Class-mate friend turned Christian Con-servative school teacher from Lethbridge:
Turn-about against Christian Con-servatives:
Learn about TERFs:
Three articles about DeVos banning Trans Children from school:
Carson denies public housing for ‘hairy’ Trans Women: