Members: 0 member(s)

Shares ?


Clicks ?


Viral Lift ?


Please Visit Our Sponsor

Stylish or Grotesque: What a Wavering Façade Reveals

  • (An extended dialogue underlying how hidden dysphoria affects others)


    A short time ago, a beloved friend gave me the advice that I instinctively etched into my memory and took to heart without knowing whether I was truly going to need it. It was simple. In terms of talking about gender-related issues to family, be wary as such sensitive news is sure to have unexpected and sometimes explosive repercussions. In my narratives here, I thought to myself that I made my family sound a lot more conservative than I previously thought, if I wrote about them at all. Unfortunately, recent events would seem to suggest otherwise. In retrospect, it may even seem to me now that I’ve under-exaggerated exactly how prevalent the mindset is. I’ve been relatively offline from GS over the last month due to various life circumstances, but I had to make multiple trips to family and school to tie up some loose ends. I got home earlier this week from my last trip across the state, and the next time I leave here will most likely be my farewell to this particular home. Just as my personal freedom finally seemed to be within my grasp after the years of an insurmountable struggle, attacks against my character would ultimately make me question whether I’ll ever have the freedom to be happy within the bounds of my family…


    Before I got away from the site for a while, I was still maintaining contact with a few friends in chat expanding my knowledge of the habits and lifestyles of those within the community. Unfortunately, chatting with members started becoming hit-or-miss as I’ve had some rather strange encounters in the rooms. One guy seemed to be a troll, but he was really just a meathead who enjoys hitting on anything with two legs. Regardless of my protestations, he continued and I felt it rather strange to be hit on by a guy and just blocked him a day later. Someone else that I admired came in once, but little conversation ensued and didn’t go very far. An elderly woman came online drunk on another occasion and she was like anti-trans everything saying that there was no such thing as a ‘trans community’, that it was silly for people to focus on ‘passing’ so much, etc. I’ve heard some of the good, the bad, and even some the harsh realities that many have endured, but nothing quite as malevolent and disenfranchised. It made me contemplate some of the darker aspects of the trans world for a while. No matter where my mind would wander despite my propensity for doubt and insecurity, I didn’t feel even a sliver after this as it would seem that my personal evolution can go no other way. It’s just one of those things that has to be. I’ve known it, if only subconsciously. As it turns out, my family seems to think that the life I am living now, the persona that I embody, is far darker than the one I feel is ahead of me.


    I wasn’t planning on prematurely opening any discussion about anything beforehand as I wasn’t exactly eager to share my revelation with my family any time soon. In fact, the way I deal with information could be likened to a chess game really. Sometimes, you have to really analyze people, work the whole truth out of them, maintain your objectivity, don’t volunteer everything all at once, and never leave any rough edges unturned. A handful of incidents took place over the last few weeks not related to any of this though. Instead of being the manipulator, I was the subject of manipulation and it has been seriously harmful and toxic to my rather fragile peace of mind. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly being manipulated. From their perspective, it might’ve just been a lucrative timing opportunity to let out certain feelings, concerns, and perspectives that have been withheld from me for god knows how long. Nevertheless, they were extremely offensive and seriously indicative of suspicions of a dysphoric or otherwise unspecified condition. The most interesting part is that such an obvious bridge to the endgame revelation and conversation is still invisible to them, as a group so ultra-conservative might not even attribute any credibility to the existence of transgender phenomenon altogether. As the incidents took place and as they seemingly came closer and closer to the truth, it became so much more apparent that even trying to open up to them would only make me out to be a psychotic even if it logically explained all of the senseless idiosyncrasies that have defined/plagued me to which they have been so fixated upon for years. There are a few within that circle who have careers which might provide valuable counseling for identity conflicts. I really don’t think that matters though. It would seem that having these particular connections would work to my advantage, but when the subject is a family member, objectivity seems to conflict with personal bias.


    The incidents were basically a series of confrontations with my family about my character and style. The only way I can describe it now is ambiguous and intersex, short of cross-dressing in public of course. When I was younger, I developed a tendency to cover up my entire body year-round, no matter what the circumstances. Thinking about it recently, it was a way to sacrifice one kind of comfort for the benefit of another; emotional comfort over physical discomfort. As a dysphoric, I don’t care to expose my legs or arms to anyone. Showing anything more is just food for hecklers, gawkers, and further simple-minded judgment so I habitually started covering up like this, goodness, almost twenty years ago now. For my last exam, I had to drive out in one of the hottest days of the year. There was a heat wave, and the weather was just endless muck. This happened during my mid-term as well, and my solution was the same: I wore shorts and one of my nice shirts with the sleeves pulled up and unbuttoned. It was certainly one of the rarest opportunities where I didn’t care to reveal my porcelain limbs, which are sometimes shaved. The mid-term trip to my family was really wonderful, just like most of the other trips I had out there. During that trip though, I just kept those clothes on until I went to bed. For my final however, there were more extreme circumstances. Not only was it stupidly hot, but the traffic was horrendous. I was caught in the heat for an extra hour or even longer. The drive was excruciating once I got about forty minutes from the campus. I took the test and headed back up north towards my family’s place where I was, once again, impeded by another traffic nightmare in a completely unrelated area. To sum up how bad the drive went, I expected to arrive up there early in the afternoon after I took the test and everything, but I got there four hours late. When I arrived, I had to again be told how surprising it was to see me in shorts, but I was soaking wet at the same time. I sat down for a while, and my brother was going to have us over his home shortly. I told mother that I needed to change and shower, and she was somewhat rudely insistent that I do so. When I was finally up for a shower, I changed into my white bells and light yellow shirt, a very nice and bright summer outfit. She insisted that I change back to what I had one for the three-minute drive or, even worse, into one of my dad’s entire outfits. I said I was fine and that we were going to be inside anyway, but she didn’t seem to want to believe me or hear what I was saying. If my brother saw me in dad’s clothes, I’d be his personal laughing stock for the next decade, (not that I already am or anything) and she knows this about him. He has always been very volatile and belittling to me. For the mere sake of keeping appearances, she was adamant and became dictatorial, demeaning, and extremely manipulative. When I wouldn’t budge, things hit the fan… and it was very ugly contrary to my usual quiet and subdued nature…


    Being severely protective of my body, an obvious problem to them was a lack of summer wardrobe, and the one pair of shorts I had with me were swim trunks. I didn’t have any other to change into. They are old, but I never actually used them to swim. I bought them to go swimming with my family on one occasion some years ago, but it was cancelled and I kept them anyway, so they are like new still. Regardless, I probably wouldn’t have changed into another pair considering the time of the evening and who we were seeing. They are a sad reminder, too, actually. I bought them after we had went swimming once… because my siblings were taking sly cracks at my petite body shape and mismatching features. I wanted a pair that was a little longer, but it didn’t matter since they made other plans that afternoon. Ironically, the emotional scars of such uncommon incidents are always downplayed, forgotten, or “exaggerated by my sensitive nature” as far as they’re concerned. In my family, bullying is apparently interpreted as harmless horse playing, but the habitual consequences are most certainly not harmless. I might’ve developed a thicker skin, lesser trustworthiness, and avoidance of occasions where I might be exposed which, to them, is a complete absurdity. To me, its simple cause and effect and adaptation. I had to learn how to adapt to these situations because, yes, I am relatively sensitive which is probably the under-developed feminine id within me that is the stimulus for these very adaptations which I couldn’t quite comprehend myself for the longest time. So all of these things were put in the spotlight that evening. Why do I dress this way, what can explain my habits… which led to ‘how are you going to dress when looking for new jobs’ nonsense, why can’t you be normal, and ‘you owe me’ statements which, I personally thought, was a good one.


    I almost left at that point. I think it scared them because it was clear that I was becoming extremely uncomfortable, agitated, and unwelcome of all places. I didn’t feel welcome any longer, and my mother was shouting in a maelstrom of anger, something I hadn’t seen directed at me in years. I was scheduled to stay for two days, which I did thanks to an indefatigable constitution, but I felt horrible having to make myself stay when I felt like I had been put back under the microscope again. The extreme irony, however, lay in what actually took place after the assault ended: we didn’t even leave the house! They came to us instead, so the whole conversation’s principle was moot. I couldn’t help to think to myself later, “If my body were augmented in even the slightest way, in the summertime, I would always wear short-shorts or skirts. I wouldn’t feel a need to hide any longer.” Unless you’re some kind of celebrity, there’s no such thing as a sexy lithe man, but for me in terms of practicality, attractiveness isn’t nearly as appealing as normality. I’ve never seemed to be either physically or psychologically, but a little change in anatomy would turn that upside-down with relative ease. Such a change is like a dream, having the chance to simply be accepted at face value for anything other than freakish or unnatural. It might end the ceaseless pain for me and for them. Then again, it might exacerbate their concerns for my normality, but at least, as a woman, I’d be more inclined to dress as a normal woman and not some tacky beatnik or counter-culture icon.


    That conversation was ridiculous and eventually had me reconsider my timetable for moving onto my new job with my other, more supportive sibling. I knew that the conversation was a symbol representative of my family’s un-acceptance for who I am the way I am now regardless of what their take on my ‘non-normal’ style is. I thought I was accepted by them though as many years have gone by without comment or incident… so it was a shocking revelation on their part. For a long time now, I haven’t thought twice about my role in the family. I wouldn’t dress to go out thinking, “I wonder if they will approve of this outfit. Jerks!” I simply believed that had trusted that I was doing what was right and good for myself a long time ago, independent and free as I’ve always been. I have tried as hard as I could to be as independent from my family to prevent them from having to think too hard about anything going on with me. As it turns out, I was misinformed. I can’t believe she tried to steer the conversation into a lecture about professionalism in terms of career. Trust me, they make sure you understand how to make your interviews work in your favor whatever the circumstances. Sometimes, it requires uniqueness to stand out in this industry though, but my folks would have the world think I’m heading into some kind of mind-numbing desk job. In certain instances, contract work doesn’t require interviews at all. I felt like I was being treated like a child or high schooler. Even then, they grilled us about the expected etiquette for interviews. I didn’t understand where they were coming from with that. My father was present during this embarrassing event, and he was just trying to dissolve her insecurity as much as he could and calm her flaming nerves down. Later, however, I would start to get an idea of the overall picture though.


    I returned a week later to continue my relocation process. During the week before I arrived, I told my supportive sibling a small bit about what happened. The reaction from that was literally a phone call to them with a simple statement: “Shut up about that nonsense. He knows what he’s doing.” Now, in any normal family that might not say much, but this particular sibling has a rather towering influence over both my immediate and distant families. From the beginning when I applied to go back to school, I always felt a solid sense of support there because, like me, we’re both perceivably imperfect. I can’t say that we share the same type of conflicts, but there are definitely some darker, grayish, obscured areas within our lives. Honestly, I was shocked when I found out what was said. My mother sent me an email asking if I had talked to anyone about the assault on my character, so I had to ask whether a call was truly made or not. I didn’t want my folks to feel like I had run to my only source of support in my time of need… because they’ve also needed help when they were in trouble as well. As a result, they will retire easily now which was seriously uncertain not too long ago. I have been so happy about that for years now. I was afraid that they were going to work themselves to death. I made a conscious effort and learned to keep my problems, financial or otherwise, out of their minds because I couldn’t bear the thought of making their lives any more problematic than it was back then. I had to learn how to take care of my own affairs, but every time I would talk to my mother as I went to college, she would always ask if I needed money. I wished, for once, she would trust that I didn’t need help… because I always just said no, no, no. That day never came, and I think I am only beginning to understand why recently.


    Although I planned to go broke as I finished school, I still had a plan to keep moving forward without burdening anyone. At first, I was going to take some time off and just live with them for a while. I’ve rarely been around for many years and mother seemed to want this a lot. I talked with her about it in length over the course of this year, and it seems that during that time, she was just feeding me a bunch of half-truths and falsehoods about their real mindset about my life and where I’m at. Now, the plan has changed due to a chance encounter down south which opened a job up for me back in May. They’ve wanted me out there for a while now, so it seems that they were more than serious about waiting until October for my presence. As my sibling and I talked about what it would take to do this as well as what it would take to continue my studies independently, more elements were added to my potential life out there. Now, my work with music will go beyond a full-time career and passion. I plan on meeting a specialist, taking group yoga classes, (something I’ve never done) writing in various capacities, studying with a music encyclopedia, and continuing music lessons with a local professional to give my practice time focus, structure, and direction. I thought it was just going to be a short trip, but it is really building into a beautiful and productive life until I work myself into new and exciting creative projects. My folks, however, harbor a rather dim view of my future for some really suspect reasons.


    Time moves forward. The second visit wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I wasn’t expecting anything in particular. I was on the defensive as a precaution, but there were no incidents until a few hours before I left. I was sitting outside with mother again, and she started interrogating me about how I was going to go about getting a job. !?! I already have a job lined up, but that wasn’t enough. I have talked with her for the last two years about potential career tracks, what I have to do to work within them, and the various other careers that I can easily find myself within. Apparently, that just went out of the window, and it was as if I had never told her any of it. On top of that, she had even more concerns which I was not privy to, and frankly, they were highly offensive due to their intrusive nature. Basically, I was being told to ‘hurry up’ and ‘start a family’ because ‘time is running short’, and it was assumed that I would be maintaining some kind of nine-to-five job with ordinary hours, security, insurance, etc., which would all be very nice things, don’t get me wrong. It might take some time to get to all that though. I felt like I was giving all of the most painful responses to more family mandates and expectations because she seemed to simply becoming more frustrated the more I talked. I must admit that I had given the same answers more calmly over time in the past. It takes dedication for anyone to get where they want to be in the career that they have chosen, and I am just at the beginning.


    I had a feeling that she really wasn’t listening to me in the past and had recently been in touch with someone who expressed misgivings about me and my degree. At the time, I had no idea what was happening in her mind, but I wasn’t inclined to open up about some other ambitious professional pursuits under such an interrogative environment because I felt that just about everything I said was being highly scrutinized and criticized. I tried explaining what I would be doing down south in terms of the present, but that wasn’t taken very seriously or was being completely ignored outright. Other concerns that had little or absolutely no relevance to my short-term or even long-term plans were dominating her thoughts. If I didn’t have the job lined up, the conversation may have made more sense, but again, I was being treated as an uneducated child. The truth of the matter is that no one in my family really understands how someone can maintain a life with an arts degree. It’s definitely not an easy path, I can assure you, and they make that abundantly clear to all of us who’ve come into the any of these programs because a lot of students come in with misconceptions about the life that comes with the career. The students who have it wrong come into these programs for the end game, not the lifestyle itself. It usually consists of a lot of hard work, monotonous skill development, independent study, frequent relocation, creative output, and passion… and no one wants to hear that, so we are encouraged to strive for embracing a lifestyle commensurate to our financial/creative goals or to otherwise consider other degree programs that are more in line with achieving these same goals. I was kind of both an end game and lifestyle student. I wanted to change my life by getting a new career, and that would be an end game from my previous life that I was more than tired of living. It was the type of work that I was doing… that I wanted to change, my lifestyle, not for glory, not for the money. That will take time to achieve, and this is not being understood at this time. What I will be doing very soon is monumentally different from what I was doing when I started school, but there is hardly any regard for this first, momentous step toward a more wonderful and happy life. It’s a big achievement for me, for anyone under the particular circumstances, but it’s being tragically trivialized making me feel unworthy of any type of recognition. Were my efforts in vain? Did I accomplish anything of noteworthiness at all?


    This interrogation was very awkward because not only did my tone become aggressive half way through as I lost my patience, but I also had to severely restrict my statements as they weren’t being heard in any substantial regard. I didn’t want to open up about my personal ambitions or other potential career opportunities due to the mood and in order to keep the discussion from going on forever. I felt like I was on the offensive half way through. There were a lot of offbeat assumptions that I was becoming very impatient with clarifying for mother, but that seems to have become commonplace for her. As I was saying earlier, these particular assumptions were new and different even for her. I dumbed down my output to the most basic yet broad outline for how someone goes about getting a job and living a life with a creative degree, but she seemed to want more specifics about what I was going to do and where I was going to go and how I was going to get there. These are questions no graduate can easily answer straight after graduating. When the interrogation reached this area of uncertainty, I just had to keep saying, “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know” but I had to explain why there are no answers. I think my parents have a problem dealing uncertainty principles because the demand for specifics, between both of these incidents, was very high. Any creative degree comes with a great deal of uncertainty unless you start your own business, teach at a collegiate level, or live in a town huge on media arts like Hollywood or Orlando. Since they never imagined themselves in a lifestyle with moderate uncertainties, they don’t think I’d be happy living that life. So her way of dealing or coping with it is inserting a girlfriend, a family, children, a safe job that’s easy to picture, etc. What’s worse is that when reading between the lines, what’s really being said is that they feel like I am incapable of succeeding. That’s the most troubling part of all of this criticism, unsolicited and forced career advice, and doubt that is toxic to my mental and emotional well being. It is also damaging to my obligatory familial relationship which has always been deteriorating on many levels. I feel things that I don’t even want to transcribe because they are painful in an emotional way. I’ve already felt like I’ve been the leftovers of the family for my entire adult life, but being treated like a pushover, trivializing my accomplishments, being lied to continuously, and not believing in my ability is like dropping an emotional atom bomb in my head. It hurts badly and runs deeply through my veins into my heart. Considering all of this, I remembered some advice I was given a short time ago and thought, “If they can’t accept this incarnation of my identity now after all these years of struggling with my uniqueness, outing myself as a transgender would have… unpredictable consequences.” There’s no way you can prepare someone like them for that kind of news about someone who’s been so close yet so distant for an entire lifetime, so sometime years down the line, a gradual revelation would be the only way short of making the full transition and somehow hiding it during visitations which would be impractical and somewhat impossible. I’m learning how to handle the resistance, and I know what I have to do.


    This interrogation wasn’t nearly as bad as the first incident though. I went home shortly after merely feeling somewhat agitated to say the least compared to the hurt and anxiety that plagued me before. Still, when I got back here, my mind constantly analyzed the whole situation theorizing where these mandates were coming from, what I would do, how I would continue with my plans, and a lot of other non-related gender elements, imagining how they might adjust to it in the future. None of these assaults have inspired me to reconsider my dysphoric mindset. During all the nonsense and on a lighter note, I was still heavily distracted with picking out my first few fully feminine outfits. I’ve put together two, but I need to check my account before making any decisions. I was also looking at wigs for fun as well in my exploration of my feminine id. I think it would be developmental if I gave myself the freedom to explore my femininity full-time and let it grow. Before I headed up there, I met up with my ex and we had a chance to talk about some of this stuff. She’s only one of two people (in real life, that is) I can trust about it at this time, but she knows me better than anyone alive. She recognized some of my intersexual habits, and we established a dialogue about this years ago. She had some basic questions for me after having fully identified as a transgender. One of her concerns was if I was now attracted to men because her very first boyfriend went the gay route after dating her! She was like, “Not you too!” It was pretty silly, but most of what I talked with her about was what I learned about the trans world from the members here. I outlined my plan and how I want explore that side of my life, and she was very inquisitive and encouraging. She asked me if I’d date her again someday if stuff fell through with her current boyfriend, and I think I said something like, “Maybe, but that might make you bi and you’d have to not mind being a lesbian!” She’s always been so great about a lot of things, and it was a change of pace to have someone to openly talk about this subject matter with. Even for me, it’s surreal hearing myself speak about them for my internal voice seems to think a lot more eloquently than I speak.


    A few days later after I had settled back in, I got a rare message from my bullying brother. Actually, not only did he send me a message, but he also called my ex looking for me. Not being one who fondly recalls unpleasantness yet considering his past of tormenting me to a shameful degree, I was extremely suspicious about what he could possibly want that would require a conversation. Honestly, at first, I was fearful that he had somehow found out that I was shifting the focus from my dysphoria to other things. I waited a few hours before I made myself available, but I knew it was only a matter of time. The pieces were laid out on the board, we were already facing off, and he has always been quite the strategist. Both street smart and scholarly, there is very little that can get past his massive perceptive ability, but hot-headedness and insensitivity have always been hindrances to a deeper wisdom. My existence has always boggled him into an exhausted impasse, and I’ve been a puzzle that he’s never been able to fully dissect and solve. Before I became outwardly deviant, he habitually bullied me and told me how to dress, how to act, what to feel, what to like, etc., mandates I could never abide by even if I tried. I was easier to understand growing up as a normal wimpy kid but after that, my ‘uniqueness’ only served to infuriate him. I think that disparate difference, my evolution, never allowed him to objectively analyze my actions and interests throughout my life which might’ve been representative of a pattern defined by an overtly feminine disposition. Recognizing that pattern myself led me to my revelation, but it took years of fighting it or pretending that I wasn’t hurting to accept that I constantly aspired to be something quite extraordinary. The fact that he’s been absent most of my adult life also never helped him assemble all of the missing pieces because it was during that time where my habits truly became eccentric in terms of masculinity.


    When I greeted him over the phone, he sounded rather leisurely and relaxed. I was going to try being as open and honest as possible because that alone is already almost too much for him to handle. My frank honesty to him is often misinterpreted as whimsicality, indifference, or perhaps a ruse to shift the focus and veil the truth. Unfortunately, in this case, I knew that if he started talking about the way I dress again that I could not tell him the truth. That is something that I had to come to terms with myself only earlier this year, and I’m not ready to open that up with anyone who may not be understanding. In the past, I used to just tell him that it’s just the way I am, and I have freedom in America to be as stylish or weird or as unique as I choose. I stopped believing my own original objective though… it’s hard to even say that it was a style that I loved because it was more of a convenient smokescreen that was so effective that it even had me fooled. For the first twenty minutes or so though, it was a relatively benign conversation which led into the recent events and then, you guessed it, the way I dress. I was gullible for thinking that he would leave well enough alone while I was out of their hair for years, but now that I might be seen with them in public or something, I just might make them all look bad or incite a riot. Amazingly, his method for discussing the subject was ingenious and delicate like precision surgery, but the chink in his armor or strategy was his choice of adjectives… which all denoted a negative connotation to describe my style and character. To me, it was a poorly executed, undercover assault. Plus, he was fumbling too much in trying to feign politeness, a virtue he is severely lacking in practice, so the intrusion in conjunction with this demeanor suggested offense to me just trying to be myself. The words were ‘extreme’, ‘ultra-uniqueness’, ‘eccentricities’ as a synonym for my habits, (which was significant) ‘harmful’, and describing my presence among family as a huge ‘pink elephant in the room’. Apparently, the way I dress is harmful to me and others. When I started taking offense to what he was suggesting, everything just kind of expanded into a civil war that consisted of several minor battles being fought simultaneously. I attacked him for various trouble he has caused our family over the last few years, but he was just trying to tell me that I should’ve grown out of the eccentric, stubborn, unforgiving wraith that I’ve become because I am just causing everyone so much pain… even though I’m not there.


    Standing up to this kind of resistance in the past used to bring about a very peculiar sensation. The last time this happened, mother interceded and nearly had a heart attack fighting his cyclically ironclad reasoning. In the past, I learned how to not take him too seriously and just laughed at the ridiculousness of his probing rhetoric for he always seemed to love the sound of his own voice. This time, I knew I wouldn’t be able to laugh him off so easily or simply be completely on the defensive. Accepting my dysphoria recently would have me agreeing with them about a need for certain changes, but I couldn’t mislead them about what type of change if I opened that discussion. All of a sudden, things were getting a lot more complicated in terms of how I deal with this resistance. I didn’t want to keep implying that I am the immovable yet evasive object that I’ve always been, but I also understand that I’m light years away from outing myself. I knew that I was going to have to keep them all in the dark for a while and started feeling that the person I’ve become may have, indeed, unintentionally been harmful to them all. From their perspective, they may have been observing a very hopelessly confused individual struggling through life oblivious to his surroundings, the gawkers, the malevolence, the oddity of it all. When I fully embraced my current and unique style years ago, I remember how scary it was, but I learned how to ignore all of that negativity, too. As best as I could, that is. After thinking about this ongoing line of questioning from multiple sources, I had to surmise that he had somehow gotten to mother recently, opened discussion about my future, and manipulated her into joining ranks with him to assault me. Together, their contributing level of doubt is astoundingly high and only encouraged me to further distance myself from literally everyone. It’s hard to face yourself when you feel that you’re an incapable delinquent without anything meaningful to contribute. The lifelessness and nothingness… I even wanted to distance myself from myself. (or, in the very least, one part of myself wanted to be distant from another) Withdrawing into immersive fantasies or media always seemed preferable to psychedelic drugs or suicide, but I’ve relied on it so heavily over the last year or so that I’ve become numb to the diversion and simple pleasure of it. Needing to pretend I am someone or somewhere that I am not. That is the effect they used to have upon me.


    Before the hour was up, my phone literally ran out of service and disconnected from him just as soon as I finished a sentence in defense of my freedom of expression. When I argue or speak with anyone else, I don’t have a hard time standing up for myself, but it’s usually different with my family. It’s difficult to not become frazzled or flustered because it’s always a fight for my own identity. With them, I feel like I have to stand up for simple rights or basic freedom of choice that are easily understood even to children. It’s as if the conversation boils down to me defining what freedom is along with its core elements, and I feel like my conveyances are misunderstood or ignored due to their overt simplicity. It’s because my freedom isn’t in question; my choices are and there is no polite or straight-forward way to persuade someone that their choices are ‘wrong’ or distasteful. It’s a conniving power play with control as a base and conformity as the conclusion. “I choose to be me because I have the freedom to be whatever I want to be.” Their typical response, if I had to paraphrase it based on the multitude of sly inferences, might be something like, “Then why do you choose to be you?” Instead of doing what most people do which is a flat out declaration of, “**** off!”, I actually dignify their ridiculousness by pondering these questions and simplifying what my freedom of choice is, what my choices were, and why I enjoyed making those choices. Now, I understand that the ‘why’ was because I needed an outlet for a type of expression that became a dominant force and could no longer be stifled or neglected. Sadly, I integrated it so seamlessly into my everyday life that it never really evolved any further. I really didn’t know how to take that to the next level because I didn’t even know what the next level was supposed to be. I used to silently theorize within myself that I might’ve secretly desired the lifestyle of a woman over the manshee or indeterminate intersexed thing that I grew into. A small part of me used to argue that such an ambition would negate all of the aspects of inspirational figures that I aspired to who were mostly men although I had a handful of female authors that helped me learn and grow a great deal. When I started feeling that this small part of me started to dwindle and succumbed to observations pertaining to the presence of lifelong mental\emotional gender aberrations, the inevitability of a transition seemed complete and uniquely logical, physically and physiologically speaking.


    Before these incidents took place, I felt like the climate within my family was comfortable and open enough to possibly not quite divulge, but open up avenue for discussion regarding potential revelations about myself. Little did I know, the ultimate conversation is still a long, long way off and will in all likelihood cause some strife, confusion, and some hurt no doubt. There was a lot to learn reflecting upon these experiences. What was most surprising were the hidden elements of discomfort, criticism, and disapproval that had been kept from me for an indeterminate period of time. While trying to contain some of my own habits and thoughts to keep them from worrying, it seems as though they were trying to protect me in a similar vein. I was afraid of being judged by them, and aside their own distaste for my wardrobe, they were more concerned with the world judging me unfairly. Sadly, the manner in which the delivered the message only confirm a profound lack of acceptance in my own uniqueness and lack of trust in my ability to exude professionalism when and where it is necessary. Gender or cultural deviant, does this mindset suggest that there is no room or acceptance in the workforce for people of a particular, stigmatized minority? In my personal experience, I’ve seen professionalism win over bias very often, but there is still a lot to be said about others being judged for even more basic things like being black or being Muslim. The trans community is often being blasted in the media for social deviancy, and I think I’ve actually felt that for the first time from the most unsuspecting of people without ever even having to reveal a single thing. Although there are no suspicions of me being tied to even the LGBT community as a whole in any way, but there may be some lingering curiosity regarding my overall stability nonetheless. I can’t help to think that their confusion about me stems from my inability to embrace and integrate a part of myself that lay dormant for so long in fear of rejection bolstered by societal taboos. The experiences, although deeply painful, were instrumental in giving me an objective perspective on how others have been affected by the choices I’ve made whether I was cognizant of such well-meaning concern or not. One thing is for sure though: this is merely the prelude to a grand symphony that has yet to be written and will most assuredly bring the house down.


  • robin w
    robin w Wow, that's a lot to twke in, and I'm not in your shoes. But you do need to stop looking for acceptance from your family and move along. It seems nothing you have done pleases them. I doubt anything ever will. If I understand correctly, you were born inte...  more
    September 9, 2016 - 2 like this
  • Donna V
    Donna V This is a lot to take in Dana as Robin says.Practically every Transgender person faces an acute denial of the right to develop themselves.Its a human right to be allowed to discover and develop yourself.I think Traci is right overall.It takes a lot of tim...  more
    September 9, 2016 - 2 like this
  • robin w
    robin w In John Cleese's famous movie line, "Yes, I guess that's it, then!"
    I have a brother, six years younger, so we were always a bit disjointed bc of the age gap. But I thought we had a great brother bond. But later in life, I think he resented my education, ...  more
    September 9, 2016 - 2 like this
  • Dana L.
    Dana L. Oh no, Traci, you don’t have apologize for I think you are, as always, spot on. Honestly, I think most of us in this community normally face harsh realities and unfair assessments, so I welcome the truth and the encouragement from the abundant source you ...  more
    September 11, 2016 - 1 likes this