Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Upside

It occurs to me that I complain a lot about gender- and transition-related stuff. This is because it, frankly, sucks. Getting misgendered sucks. Having to correct people on pronouns sucks. Trying so damn hard to look masculine and then being called "ma'am" at the grocery store sucks. Dysphoria sucks. Processing the changes in your relationship with your parents sucks. Being legally identified as the wrong name and gender sucks (and the process to change that double-sucks).

It sucks, it sucks, it sucks.

But hearing someone call me "he," "sir," "young man"? Makes me feel like a lottery winner, like a fairytale prince whose dreams have all come true, like the king of the fuckin' world.

Pictured: me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

On Being An Ex-Lesbian

The frequency of the identity trajectory
lesbian --> trans guy
 is well remarked upon, but that doesn't make it any less weird to experience.

I was never that big into lesbian culture. I mean, I like Tegan and Sara and alternative lifestyle haircuts, but that whole Dinah Shore, L Word, second-date u-haul, group-of-lesbian-friends-who-have-all-slept-with-each-other scene always kind of mystified me.

(Not, of course, to suggest that that scene is either prescriptive for all lesbians or somehow worthy of condemnation. I just mean that it's a big part of lesbian subculture, and that it was not for me.)

So I don't feel as though I'm leaving behind a whole community, which it seems like some people do. You know, the kind of guys who keep going to womyn's music festivals and stuff. I was never comfortable in women's spaces being around an all-female group is easier for me now that I'm not expected to be one of them, but the majority of my friends are and always have been people who are not women and the only thing I really miss about femaleness is clean public restrooms.

The fact is, though, there are things you do and say as a lesbian that have a very different resonance if you do and say them as a guy.

For example, my ships. Yelling, "Make out already!" at a movie screen when two female characters are talking seems like a pretty okay (if potentially obnoxious) thing for a lesbian to do. Insisting on some offscreen headcanon Hermione/Ginny experimentation might not make any damn sense (on Hermione's part anyway), but it's understandable in a lady-loving lady. Obsessively scrutinizing every minute aspect of your favorite lesbian relationship on TV is, contra Ryan Murphy, fair play in a community that gets so little pop-culture representation.

In a guy, though? Those behaviors are kind of creepy.

If you're a guy who spent a few years being part of that community, it's a little more complicated than that, but it's still something to be cautious about. My sexuality, which for years I've been used to considering inherently transgressive, now risks reinscribing the male gaze.

(Not that I consider myself straight now. If there's one thing I've learned about sexuality from this whole transition business, it's that "gay" and "straight" are untenable identities. Also the last person I made out with was a gay cis man, so whatever.)

It's very weird, though. I'll hear mention of something very lesbian, and instinctively think, "That's me!" and then, almost as instinctively, "No it's not."

In the end, I guess I think of being a lesbian in the same way I might think of a place I used to live: with fondness, recognition, and a degree of nostalgia, and also with the understanding that it's in my past, that I am no longer the person I was back then. I don't live in Lesbitopia anymore.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How I Would Like To Live

I am not at all a long-term thinker – on some level, I'm surprised every time I wake up and the world is still here, trundling on as usual, and hasn't become a post-apocalyptic wasteland – but I think I have figured out the living arrangement I would like to have once I am no longer in dorms.

I would like to live with between two and five other people. We would be the most important people in each other's lives. I would not be romantically involved with any of these people; they could be involved with each other in any configuration they chose, but nobody would want or have children. We would just be a little chosen family of three to six adults who wanted to hang out with each other pretty much all the time.

I realize this is a very, very unlikely scenario, because it involves finding a group of Best Friends who also think this is a good idea. Still, in an ideal world, this is how I would like to live.

I want this to be my life, is basically what I am saying.