Thoughts on my trans journey, June 2016
I started a train of thought on Twitter, but it deserves an article.
This article is mainly intended for trans people. More specifically, to my old self, as if she could have read this, it would have saved her some time and some suffering.
I’m a trans woman. I have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for four months. This personal conquest — allowing myself to start HRT — came after a mighty inner struggle with the help of two great mental therapists in the course of about two years.
I am now struggling to assert myself in public, and as I am now very aware thanks to therapy, that’s merely a reflection of my own inner struggle of acceptance.
I may have accepted myself “politically,” being able to say that I am a trans woman. But that’s no different than the “acceptance” of other people who merely do the bare minimum of “tolerance,” by e.g. not misgendering me in speech — regardless of what they actually think of me and what framework they actually use to understand me and map me as a social entity.
The TERF in me, the person that has wandered through the unenlightened, psychiatry-pathologizing “Gender Identity Disorder,” “Transsexual” “support groups” of the 1990–2010 Internet, cannot help but emotionally fall for the “Autogynephilia” anti-scientific bullshit. Having grown up blaming myself for being different, having a mind hooked up on guilt and a feeling of having failed as a person, as if it was my “fault” to be trans, it’s easy to latch on to these damaging, suicide-thought-inducing theories that shame us as sexually deranged people, perverts, mentally-damaged, insane, schizophrenics.
And so I “learned” that if I were to be considered a “true transsexual woman,” then I would have to prove it by making use of whatever existing medical methods to create a vagina out of my penis. If I would not do that, I would not be a trans woman. I would be a mere “transgenderist,” not a “transsexual woman,” let alone a woman.
My reaction to this, as I progressed with therapy and worked to exorcise all the transmisogyny in me, was to reject the idea that a surgery (or anything external really) could ever possibly “reveal” something one “truly is.” What you assert about yourself is what you truly are, nothing else. TERFs and bigots of all kinds will always judge trans people to be lesser people, and playing through their hoops and mind games, even when they are very sophisticated and dressed as “science,” will never grant a trans person their acceptance as sane people.
But the truth is, as a simply existing and self-accepting trans person, you are more sane than the bigots and TERFs ever will be, I promise you this. You are not crazy, AT ALL, not even a tiny little bit. If you doubt that, get a therapist and they will gently guide you to see that being trans is not your fault, never was. And the only acceptance you can ever obtain is your own and of people who evolve out of the primordial social soup of bigotry and bullshit that our civilization is still trying to get out of.
You thought you needed a certificate from some external entity, some sort of doctor, and that you would show that certificate around and be respected for it. It would show your “physical brain is different” or some other irrelevant fact about your worldly material shape. But external entities cannot ever see you. There is no gender probe, and there never will be.
Your gender is self-assessed, self-inspected, self-seen, with your objective insight on the core of your being — that part of you that only you can realistically see, study, assess and then communicate about. You say “I am a trans woman,” or whatever, and what you are doing is verbally relaying in the best and most meaningful way you currently can the scientific findings of the inner study job that you performed and that only you could have.
That’s what “insight” means, that’s what “going inside” means. You do it all the time, regardless of whether your mind has any useful concept about what’s going on inside of itself. Whether you have educated yourself with the ability to distinguish what’s playing in front of your awareness. To see the difference between insights and the mere regurgitation of things perceived through the external senses, sometimes from the distant past.
Having put that behind for good, now I can finally unpack a new iteration of my relationship with vaginas.
I am OK with my penis. That does not say anything about my gender. It’s what I was born with, and my familiarity with it is a blessing, not a curse. I will not damn myself for having the fortune of not having suicidal thoughts because I have a penis attached to me.
I am OK with not being currently satisfied with what modern medicine has to offer in terms of genital reconfiguration. That does not say anything about me and my gender.
I can see clearly that I would have absolutely wanted puberty blockers when I was 12 years old, and hormone replacement therapy when I was 18. If I could turn back the clock, I would.
And that still does not say anything about me and my gender.
And I can now see, clearly, that would prefer having been born with a vagina.
I am now free(er) from misogyny, and I can now see clearly, from a deeper part of me, the simple fact that vaginas have no sexual orientation. It sounds like an obvious thing when you say it, and you can say it to yourself and believe that you do believe it, until you look closer into subconscious thoughts that make you whip yourself with inner judgement based on misogynistic reasoning.
That means I could have sexual pleasure with other women even without a penis. That’s called being a “lesbian.” Vaginas don’t imply you have to necessarily like having sex with penises, or men, or cis men. Who do you have sex with and what do you enjoy is a function of sexual exploration. That is its own realm, and an individual’s inner journey on that realm is theirs alone. People who want to fuck each other should just fuck each other, and if they don’t want to continue fucking each other, they should stop fucking each other. That’s all there is to it.
Sexuality has nothing to do with gender in the same sense that sexuality has nothing to do with anything else.
So I am a woman. I want a vagina, but I may never get one. That is relevant to me, and that may help other trans women struggling with self-acceptance, but it should be entirely irrelevant to everyone, including the State.
I deserve State documents that state my gender is female, that is my right and I should not have to prove anything to obtain them. I deserve them as a citizen, regardless of wanting a vagina and regardless of what doctors or judges think I am.
I want State documents that have an “F” in it, that state that I am “Female” — a woman.
AND THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY GENDER.