Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for July 21, 2008

How do ~you~ see me?

So, being exposed to that old friend last night made me do some thinking about how much people think of gender as binary. I must confess that as I live longer in my proper gender, the more inclined I have become to see the binary in gender. I know there are many people who find comfort in the middle, but for me it really does feel like I was on the wrong side of something that has two sides. That’s only my experience and I’m certainly not saying that because I feel comfortable seeing gender as a binary that means that it is.

So, my point:

Whether or not people “accept” me does not completely categorize how they ~see~ me.

There are some people that will never accept me; they think I’m deluded or crazy or whatever, but they see me in no way making an acceptable use of my life. I’m not talking about them.

People that accept me fall into two groups, and it does seem to matter a little whether or not people knew me before my transition.

Anyway, the first group seem to be people that accept my transition, but see it as if I used to be a man and chose/decided to become a woman (how the hell would one “become” a woman anyway?). These people are lovely, but they’re missing a big part of the picture for me. To these people I used to be a man, and they’re never going to see me as completely a woman (even post-surgery) in the way that “normal” women are. I will always be a woman with a modifier (“trans”) to these folks. These people are fine to hang around with, but it can be a little tiring and disconcerting at times.

The other group ~gets~ it. They know that I have always been a woman (well, okay, at first I was a girl). There were no choices involved, other than the choice to accept myself. In terms of my womanhood, it’s the same as any other woman. I didn’t “used to be a guy.” I lived as a guy. I pretended to be a man. I hid from the reality that, all along, I was a woman.

The short way to describe the way that the people in these two groups see me is:

1: A man that we accept living as a woman.

2: A woman that was born with the wrong parts.

It’s kind of a big difference. If it seems purely semantic, I assure you that it is not; it matters in almost every facet of life; it impacts the way these people interact with me on every level.

You might imagine that there is a difference in my comfort level between hanging with people from each group.

And it seems like women are more likely to be able to make the leap to the second group.

And it seems like whether the person in question knew the person I lived as before or not makes a difference as well. I’m always shocked when people see any of “him” in me. It’s just so hard for me to fathom.

And I won’t even delve too far into the whole herd of guys that think I’m hot and then turn it around into “you’re really a man.” (as if…)

And so there’s yet another reason why stealth is so tempting sometimes. I completely understand that I’ve ~always~ been a woman. Sometimes I lived under different masks, and different levels of denial, but my womanhood was always there; it was the base reality that triggered all of my other choices. People that meet me as a woman, and don’t know that I have a transgender history are not the most comfortable to be with, though, because some of my history will always be hidden in that context.

The people that are the most comfortable for me to be with are the people in group 2, who know my history and see me as a woman; not as a woman with any sort of modifier, just a woman, just like any other woman. “Penny: a normal woman.”  lol  

And even though a certain amount of this is “you get it or you don’t,” it is possoble for people to move between the groups, so people that might not fully get it now can work their way into really understanding.

Just musing after being called by a boy’s name last night.

%d bloggers like this: