Monday, June 26, 2006

Signs

Not a day went by that in the last five years that I didn’t recognize and evaluate my life as a TG. My most profound insights came from getting out and intermingling with all types of people, gay, straight, trans, and tourists – they deserve a category of their own, don’t they? Gaining clarity is not solely from how people interact with us, but rather how we interact with them - in our varying degrees of presentation. Did I act or feel different with people depending on whether I presented myself as male or female? The observations aided me in learning about “who I am,” as a person in general, and as a transgender person in particular

Most of us seem to have begun the gender discovery journey down the same path. Along the way we rejoice that first day when we realize that there are others in the world just like us: we're not alone! Yet in large numbers it becomes more apparent that "they" are sometimes “not the same as me.” Like most things in life there are varieties to everything, even transgender people. So while we as trans-people can can barely comprehend ourselves as a group, the mainstream is totally lost when looking at the many branches of the gender tree. So, how can one know who they are or where they fit on that tree? First, it is important to understand that you don't have to "be" any certain way, or fit into any certain space. Unfortunately, most people, both in and outside the community get lost if the box that we supposedly belong to isn't outlined in chalk. My own journey has taken me from one end of the gender spectrum to the other, in and out of various boxes, and for me, although the discovery part of the journey was difficult, the knowing part was harder.

What I mean by that is that once you find the answers to the questions you seek, there is no more exploration needed; only for you to make a decision on how to live the rest of your life, based upon that which you have come to know. If the gender journey was a highway we would all recognize many of the stops; “fetish lane,” “Cross Dresser Ave.” “Gender Fluid Parkway,” and Transsexual Road.” And although I got off at the last exit, the gender journey isn’t really a roadway at all; it’s a maze, that when you first enter doesn’t appear to have any clear directional signs.

But when you look at the obvious from a slightly tilted perspective, you begin to see things you walked right past at an earlier time. You may be able to make some distinctions based upon what you like to do, but that doesn’t necessarily represent who you are. Discovering who you are is a deeper journey, one that you may or many not want to make. Discovering who you “are” is complicated by the fact that the lines are blurred and at the same time you are often trying to untangle your sexual orientation as well. “Am I a straight man that likes to cross dress, a gay man in denial, a lesbian, or am I attracted to men because I’m a straight woman”? There are as many combinations as there is imagination, and the deeper you go the more complicated it becomes. So, one might ask, “How do I find my way”?

Since we emulate -- or in some cases feel we are – woman, we should follow their example. When they find themselves in an unfamiliar place they simply stop, ask directions, and then follow the posted signs. Throughout the maze there are many people to talk to, and signs to follow. But, like any one taking a survey can attest to, the answers you get are only as good as the questions you ask.

Some people aren’t really looking for the truth, but they are looking instead to validate the fantasy they’re chasing. If you are not open to the truth of who you are and not willing to go where ever that path leads, then odds are you won’t see any of the signs along the way. But, if you are open, then there are signs everywhere. No doubt some of you have had, or thought about having, sex with men. Of those that do, many will state that they only enjoy men “as a woman,” therefore they are straight. Sometimes people can get so caught up in the label being “straight,” or “gay” that they miss the substance and significance of what any of it means. If you are engaging in sexual activity then you should be asking yourself what it is that you’re enjoying about it. Are you trying to “feel” more female by emulating what woman do? Are you enjoying the sexual act – detached from the role it represents? Have you engaged in sexual activity with a woman when you were emulating one? And if not, why? And if so, then why do you need or want to have sex with men?

Other thoughts would include analyzing your attraction to woman. Do you want to be with them in a lustful way, or do they simply catch your eye and make you feel fuzzy inside because you appreciate and want to be them? Surprisingly, differentiating between the two is not as easy as it sounds. When you are in a relationship with a woman, do you find yourself critiquing her? Always checking out her clothes, her movements, or her physical attributes: face, lips, legs, rear or shoulders? Perhaps you are living vicariously through her, because in some way she is who you believe you are (as a woman) or want to be.

These are questions that can last for years, and require repeated investigation to find an answer. What was true yesterday may have chengd with time and experience. Many times getting to the core of your sexual orientation can actually help you determine your gender identity. When you concentrate your mind on one thing, often clarity can suddenly appear for another. When you finally do get all the answers about yourself, then you will be faced with the hardest part, “What do I do about it?

As always, be happy, be safe, and think pretty.

1 comments:

Angelica said...

Thoughtful and very true. Since i belong in several combinations i truly understand the complexity and the social implications.
A good article, creds to you.