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[personal profile] dolari
"No...really, Jenn. After 20 years as a woman, what HAVE you learned?"

I do believe that transitioning into the life of a woman is much harder when you're not born into the life of a woman. I often say "I was born in the language of Testosterone, so my Femininity has a bit an accent." I've been lucky that nearly all the women around me have embraced me as one of their own and "adopted me into the sisterhood."

This isn't an easy question. Life is much more different than I was expecting, and I was EXPECTING difference. I'll focus on the good, the bad and the ugly. One thing that struck me the most of each.

The Good:
The thing that strikes me most, one of the things I never had growing up as a male, is how being in a group of women, and women alone, can quickly turn into one of the most uplifting, reassuring and confidence building experiences ever. I always felt, with my male friends, that when we got together, it was more of a party than a support group. While it was a fun party, I find I prefer the support group. I do worry that I poison the well when I'm with my girlfriends (something that happens rarely to begin with).

The Bad:
Again, I feel this is one of those "being born into it" makes it easier than "learning to do it later," but so much energy goes into "maintenance." Shave this, shave that, don't eat this, do eat that, put on makeup, take it off, women don't do this, women should do that, rob a bank, rob a store. Choosing clothes went from "T-Shirt, jeans, socks and sneakers" to a regularly creating feats of textile engineering (I never did get my degree). It's something I had felt glimpses of when I was crossdressing in my teens. But I was surprised, once I did transition, that it never got easier. And I don't have to worry about dealing with all those things on a period, which I can't imagine makes anything easier. I don't really dress up anymore (for reason's we'll get into in "The Ugly"), and I don't feel like I live up to acceptance I was given for that reason.

The Ugly:
It's a matter of Equal and Opposite. I hear the stories of unwanted catcalls, guys forcing themselves on other women, sexual harassment at work, friends of mine have been raped. It boils down to male entitlement over women's lives. As a male, these things thing did not even make a blip on my radar. And as a non-passing transgender's still not on my radar. What is on my radar? I get the catcalls, but they're not to tell me I'm beautiful. Men still force themselves on me, but call me shemale when they do. Sexual harassment at work consists of running me out of the women's bathroom (Disclaimer: Has not happened in any of my Washington jobs). Thankfully I've never been raped, but the threat of murder hangs over my head all the time. It's still that entitlement over my life.

I often feel like an ogre in a land of elves, but, after twenty years, this square peg had nestled comfortable in the round hole (no Freudian imagery intended), and is doing her best to be a good woman. Even if she doesn't' look like one.
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