May. 30th, 2009 12:16 pm
I haven't changed my name yet because of some email issues and a lack of paperwork but I finally got my new driver's license in the mail with a picture that doesn't look like a male convict.

So I am very very pleased.

It isn't the best of pictures as I look very very startled but it is still a picture that looks undeniably like me at this venture in my hormone therapy.

It's also nice from the standpoint of the eventual name change. A lot of trans folk are stuck carrying around the old ID for stuff as the name change thing gets filtered through everything. What really sucks is that the old picture usually looks entirely like how they did pre transition. So it's a pretty shitty source of dysphoria. But now, my "old" ID will be girl picture/old name instead of old name/omfg bearded guy picture.

...yeah I had a goatee when I was younger. x_x

I'm not quite comfortable yet putting up pictures of myself here so I can't really show you how radically different I look now from how I looked before. I get the comments all the time of "omg, hun that can't possibly be you." But as I get a little more settled in and make sure there isn't any linkages between me irl and here that I don't have at least some control over, you (my faithful readers or figments of my imagination <3) can expect some photos to compare.

This sort of ventures into an interesting topic of stereotypes and misconceptions. To those unexposed to trans folk, many have this sort of clear stereotypical view of what we look like as a whole. This idea that we all look like manly dudes in dresses with big chiseled chins or petite curvy chicks in guy clothing with short hair.

There are folks out there who got really effing screwed by the lifetrain and do (unfortunately) have very strong features of their birthsex and never get rid of them even with tons of surgery and stuff. But assuming that is all that's out there is really kind of ignorant. But to be entirely aware of society, this happens with EVERYONE. Black people are stereotyped, gay folk are stereotyped, women are stereotyped, etc etc. Even people in the majority are stereotyped, it just has a slightly lower impact because they tend to control the resources of a society. The really serious issue is when the community in question absorbs these stereotypes as truth.

When I tell people that I'm trans I get the head cocked to the side and one eyebrow up expression nowadays. Even other trans people sometimes. That's great from a self esteem standpoint, but it really dismays me that people think it is so utterly impossible for a trans woman to look good that they actually have a hard time believing me when I tell them I'm trans. It gets a little mtf specific here, sorry trans guys and nonbinaries. I just don't have much experience with you folks and your image issues coming from these attitudes to reliably shoot my mouth off about them. And sure it's a blog, so no one really expects accuracy but I do my best not to talk about things I know fuckall about. *nodnod*

But if any trans guys or nonbinaries wanna sound off in the comments section about some of the issues you folks face from the misconceptions about trans person appearance, please do. Hell, I might even edit the post and throw some of your comments into it with a name to give credit. <3

But yes, back to the attitudes on trans person appearance. This is especially a negative thing because these attitudes permeate the trans community too. I can't tell you how many girls I've talked to who think they can't possibly look good if they transition pass age 21. I've seen and even met transwomen who transitioned at age 60 and look utterly amazing. To me, allowing these attitudes on appearance to poison us is nothing short of self sabotage and it is utterly unacceptable.

Things like this can make all sorts of awful shit happen. People dosing themselves on way higher amounts of hormones then they should because they feel like they'll never look like their target sex if they don't rush it. Does anyone else realize that natal girl/guy puberty can take between 4~7 years to finish? We move fast in comparison! Or people delaying and giving up on transition until they can't take it anymore and either finally jump in or kill themselves, because they think it isn't worth it if they can't look like their target sex and automatically believe that they never will. There's other issues there of course (seriously you don't need to be an effing supermodel to be happy, folks) but this assumption that everyone is equally fucked by the lifetrain is an awful horrible assumption.

It's incredibly destructive to our self esteem as well, to the point that we may actually develop complexes that make us negate compliments and positive affirmation from people with excuses, rationalizations and outright disbelief.

"Oh he's just hitting on me because he's bi"

"I'm only getting sir'd because they're respectful of trans people"

"She's only telling me I look good because she cares about me and she's biased"

I'm not immune, I have these issues too. It took a lot of self affirmation to start believing people when they complimented me and to get over my own negativity about how I look.

I don't think there's much we can do to change the widespread stereotypes quickly. It'll be a long and arduous process. But there is something we can do now and that's educate our fellow trans people about the actual realistic effects of hormones and the actual realistic way to view yourself and your possible results. You don't have to look perfect to be happy. You aren't guaranteed to look like your birth sex forever. You aren't utterly fucked if you transition after a certain age. These are things we need to internalize in our community so we stop letting society's misconceptions and idiocy drag us all down.

And folks? I started hormones at 24 and I look great. You do not need to transition as a teenager to reach your goals. Stop the self sabotage.

As a mild disclaimer: I can not reasonably state that my dysphoria is exactly the same as anyone else's. So expect results to vary when you ask other trans folk to explain their feelings to you. But this is how it feels to me:

Have you ever seen a broken leg? I don't mean a normal broken leg. I mean the nasty freaky broken leg. No exposed bone or blood, but the knee is bent the wrong way. The leg doesn't go in the direction it's supposed to. It's something that's sort of terrifying to behold because you know it's absolutely horrifyingly wrong deep down in your most instinctual parts of your brain. Now imagine that you look down at your own leg and it's broken like that. You're not feeling the pain but you are feeling the utterly freaked out feeling of "OMFG MY LEG IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE BENDING THAT WAY." (Yes. The caps lock is required)

Not a pleasant feeling, right?

Okay, let's go further. Let's pretend that this freaky bent broken leg is seen as utterly normal by everyone else. They look at your body and go, 'what's the problem?' There's nothing freaky about them, you're the only one with the freakishness driving you nuts but no one else sees it. Forget the leg and just remember the feeling. The feeling of intimate, screwed up, almost grotesque wrongness. Like the very laws of how your body ought to be are violated, just like if you had that bending the wrong way leg. Imagine that feeling applied to everything about you that is male or female. Imagine seeing the male/female parts you have and getting that "OMFG MY BODY IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THAT." (Caps lock still required.) That deep down instinctual feeling of "what the fuck"-ness that you get when you see a shattered knee bending a leg the wrong way or even worse see that bent leg on yourself. It's not rational. It doesn't make logical sense. It's utter instinctual response.

That's bodily dysphoria.

Now. Imagine living with that every day for the rest of your life.

Suddenly me going a little crazy from it makes a bit more sense, doesn't it? The drastic measures taken to make my body feel like it ought to be makes a bit more sense, now doesn't it? Because there's no other way to make that feeling go away.

Therapy doesn't get rid of it. There's no meds that do. This feeling is omnipresent. Sometimes I can cope with it better than other times. When my emotional resources aren't drained from other stresses, like relationships, work, school, etc. But no life is without stressful times and when that happens and I'm drained, it hits me really full force.

To a certain extent the identity has followed up with it. I mean think about it, if my body being male hurts me in the way I described above and changing it to female helps fix that, I'm naturally going to start thinking of myself as less of a guy and more of a girl. Knowing that you'll eventually have the body of a woman sort of changes the equation for self identity (it doesn't work like this for everyone, some people get the woman or man identity first and the bodily dysphoria after).

But for me, I really feel myself settling into the self identity of a girl. The self descriptive words I use have changed (tomboy, bitch, cute, pretty, lady, woman as opposed to tough, asshole, handsome, rugged, dude, man) and with that comes a change in my abstract psychological view of myself. So that adds a bit more pressure onto me on top of the bodily dysphoria.

I'm lucky in some ways. I'm not too upset about social things. The whole tomboy part is very much me not giving a shit about gender expectations and gender roles. I'm quite content having my own awesome self expression and not seeing it as girly or guyish. But others get hit with that in harsh ways.

I hope this helped get the idea across. It can be really hard to express these feelings to people who have never experienced similar things.

Genderbitch: In ur gender, revealing ur privilege


This is a blog. About transsexuality, feminism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, GLBT stuff and etcetera (check my tags for more on that). This is also an angry blog.

You might see me as slightly antagonistic. Oh well. I incite because I am trying to push people into thinking, discussing and breaking out of the stagnant bullshit of privilege. Which needs a nice firm kick quite a bit. Sometimes to the head. If I need a nice firm kick too, make sure to distribute it because well, I'm not immune to privilege either. XD

Anonymous (account-less) commenting is allowed but please sign it with an alias or name. I reserve the right to delete useless trolling, hate language and attempts to out my name or out anyone else here.

Welcome to my space. Take your shoes off, stay a while. Use the fucking coasters.



RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags