So, new day. It’s been interesting, thinking on the gender presentation thing, but this isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved overnight. There are a lot of inputs that have been on my mind, recently…not all of which would be right to share, here, because they deal with specific people who are either in my life, or whom I’ve overheard.
One of the issues that has arisen is about seeing transgender positionality as an essentially privileged thing. I can see how the viewpoint would arise; I’ve noticed a definite trend in the demographic makeups of the genderqueer, nonbinary, gender-variant, and transgender groups that I’ve been in. But…I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that gender-variant identity is essentially White. For one thing, that’s not what I’ve observed.
For another thing, it’s probable that White TG/GQ/GV/NB people are more likely to be visible because of their relative ability to transition and relative safety in doing so; whereas TG/GQ/GV/NB people of color may already be marginalized enough so that they don’t feel capable of visibly taking on another stigma.
I know that in my case, I have enough stigmata that my life is pretty complex already, and this is without my changing to a male gender role so far as my public life is concerned. While I do think I would have been better off having been born physiologically male, a future of hormone administration isn’t welcoming…and, I’m looking at physically transitioning to a place where I’m seen as a Black male. A non-heteronormative Black male, at that.
Big deal with this: the U.S. has a prison culture. There are only a few males on the African-American side of my family who have not been in prison. I have not interviewed each of them about the circumstances which led up to their arrest; however, it’s well-known that police will target people of color over White people.
It’s also known that life inside a prison is violent and that rapes do occur, even in same-sex facilities. If it isn’t other prisoners, it could be the guards (particularly in a women’s prison). I don’t believe, if I were to be arrested for doing whatever, that I would be safe in either a women’s prison or a men’s prison (and I’ve had my supposed sexuality used as a weapon against me enough, already).
Which…just brings to light the lack of space afforded nonbinary people in this culture. Bathrooms, until relatively recently, have largely been either men’s or women’s; locker rooms and bathing facilities are men’s or women’s; apparel is either men’s or women’s.
It’s just one of those things. This is not to mention the surgical, “correction,” of those people who do not clearly fit into either the, “man,” box or, “woman,” box, which often causes lifelong scarring (I’m talking about psychological scars, but I would expect physical ones, too, from what I’ve heard and read).
Just in general, it’s a risky thing to transition. Especially if you’re not White. I have and had been attempting to hold solidarity with those people in history who have been gender-nonconforming and did not have the tools to be able to physically transform themselves. It doesn’t mean their identities were invalid, or nonexistent.
Now we have the tools, but society has not yet matured. For some reason, other people’s gender and sexuality are things that a great many people (not to mention, governments and the medical industry) want to control. I am not entirely sure why, at this point.
What I do know is that there is nothing at this point that requires that I change myself to, “make my outside match my inside.” My outside already does match my inside. My problem is that others see me, and the idea they get from my appearance is not at all accurate to who I am.
I would like a beard and a voice drop (just for myself), but the deal with that is that I’m likely to get hair all over — not just on my face. I also would likely get hairline recession, which I don’t want (it’s a reason I went on birth control — I was starting to lose it on my own), worse acne, and I’d lose my curves. I’m still not certain if I would be able to safely and comfortably bind for the foreseeable future. It’s easier after having been on testosterone, but I haven’t heard of it being a sustainable practice.
There is a possible in-between zone, where I could get a full beard and voice drop and then stop testosterone. I’d get back my curves (good? bad?), but then I’d still have the cartilage growth to deal with (which I can’t predict from here), possibly still hairline recession, and coarse body hair. It’s not that great a place to initially aim for, largely because it’s illegible to the vast majority of people…and people don’t like things they don’t understand.
The best-case scenario on testosterone is to get top surgery, stay on birth control or get a hysterectomy, get off of the medication that’s causing my weight gain, and become more physically active so that I can become buff. Of course, still maintaining my line of work (Librarianship) and my other plans for the future. It’s vastly easier to transition when one’s end point is…not something that makes one obvious.
And the fact is, still, that on medication for mood, anxiety, and detachment from reality — I’m essentially asexual, with a few rare instances of wanting to get close to certain people (but not really to have sex with them — a fact which people don’t understand, especially since I’m relatively open when talking about my body).
Also, I had been getting encouragement from one person who thinks I might do well on testosterone. The other day, I could see it. If I retained my long hair and got a beard and started presenting masculine, maybe with some eyeliner…yes, I can now see the possibility in that, and how it might make things make more sense in my life. I need to remember that I’d be transitioning to be a nonbinary masculine-appearing person, though: not to be a man.
On the other hand, there are a lot of other things to consider, like whether I’ll still recognize (or like) my own scent if I go on testosterone. I do know that getting top surgery isn’t anything I’m really hot on, because there’s nothing wrong with my chest. If I did get it, it would be, “because that’s what people do,” or for the sake of convenience and safety, or as a concession to other people. The first and third reasons don’t fly with me. For the sake of safety, though — that’s something different. And I would like to be able to be in public without a shirt.
(I did just remember that new eyebrow filler which will draw hairs on your face. That could be fun to experiment with!)
Why does it seem like my main problem in all areas of my life is having too many options?