Thank you for responding. I was so moved by Hari Nef’s performance in Transparent that I listen to some of her videos, in particular a TED talk,
In it she says at 8:22 something that applied to me, although I had never thought of putting it the way she did, but she hit my nail on the head.
I starved myself and abused laxatives so I could fit the clothes I wanted to wear. I did all this because I wanted a body that allowed me to do the things I wanted to do in the way I wanted to do them, things men in this country aren’t really allowed to do. I tried to do them in the body I was born with, but people told me, “No. You can’t. You’ve got to soften up your face, get rid of all your body hair, get breasts, shrink your waist, get a vagina.”
Of course I looked them right in the eye and I said, “f**k you!” turned around and did pretty much all of what they told me to do . . . It hurt . . . and it worked.
It worked! My career goals were very different from Nef, but what she described above fit me perfectly. There is some “nice” about womanhood.
I applaud you and your wife from having the maturity to stay together and work through the process. I had “Vicki” who informed me all the fashion choices I made that today would more or less track Nef’s, were wrong. I had to learn to look attractive to other women. To dykes that is. There were times I wore a crewcut, but that was toward the end of my lesbian days and it did not induce dysphoria. Traveling through the deep south with my lipstick girlfriend at the time, I got “sir’d” once in a while as many a butch woman will, but it made us safer than two lesbians heading out in their SUV.
And then I gave it all up. I still wear my hair short, but have gravitated back to more feminine styles and dress butch only when I do the heavy chores.
Being with men and being married introduced me to whole dynamic I never suspected. Being a wife has a whole set of unwritten rules, but so does the husband. It’s all so automatic — I run the kitchen, he takes out the garbage, fixes stuff, and does heavy lifting in every sense of the word. I liked it. Sorry. So shoot me.
He was cis straight and there was no way I could ever be a wife the way I wanted to be or be with him without going through the physical changes Nef described. If he ever suspected there was anything “off” about me, he did not let on — quite the contrary, took our relationship at face value and I never brought up my past. Hiding? I did not see it that way. Unlike your situation the people I was intimate with did not have a false image I used to have to project. Why drag that old cadaver around?