I had the strangest thought today. The more female I become, the more of a man I feel. Those words are misleading. Let me explain.
People have told me that until I learn to accept men and masculinity, that I will always struggle to accept myself, to find self-love and happiness. That made sense, at least rationally, as a man. Whether I was ever a man in the classical sense is just splitting hairs. I am not sure how much it makes sense for me as a transfeminine person of indeterminate destination.
I was a misandrist. The seeds for that were sewn by my father. One of my therapists noted that many male children of abusive fathers become the same…and opined that my rejection of this model of masculinity was the result of my transgender nature. Who knows? It does, however, make sense.
I know that I processed my witnessing of the physical and verbal abuse of my father towards my mother as a kind of eternal sin. Something for which I have been apologizing for in my interactions with women my whole life. I begin to understand that this is why I am submissive, and why the moment of submission almost always makes me cry.
Still, I listened to a broad array of people from therapist to women friends to lovers to a dominatrix…that I needed to let go of man-hate in order to heal. One of the biggest revelations I had along the way over the past year was that the more space I created for my female self, the more accepting of the male in me I became.
But as I have begun a transition in earnest, something has struck me which has been totally unexpected…and of course, I am going to beat around the bush to get there. One of my closest friends, one who has been watching this process unfold over decades, feels very strongly that female pronouns lie in my future—that I am not a “they” but a “she”. I won’t dare give this to myself…and it is too early anyway…I am not a woman in that sense…I am years away from that—and there are many who would say that I shall never be one. I won’t be drawn in. It isn’t relevant. But she’s right.
The mind is plastic. Insanely so. My mind has already crossed the rubicon. What do I mean. I don’t think male anymore. I don’t think of myself as male anymore either. Sometimes I am wistful, also because what I am, or what I am becoming remains shrouded in mystery, and I long for certainty. I do not wish to die in a man’s body. I will do what it takes, no matter how long it takes, or the suffering and hard work that it will take.
In session with my endocrinologist the other day, as she rattled off the consequences of oestrogen, which was such an amusing interaction that it merits its own post, one of them was germane to this line. She noted that many trans people experience a change in sexual orientation.
“You might like men.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding!”
“Many trans women end up finding that their desire takes them towards the new opposite sex.”
“I hate men. I hate what they look like. I hate their smell. I hate body hair. I hate how they act. I don’t find men physically attractive. I think men are gross. I love women. I love their curves, their complexity, their beauty, their richness, their intellect, the rich tapestry of female existence. Fuck men!” I think she was a little taken aback by my declaration. It would be so much easier to be homosexual [and it sure would make my wife happy].
“I’m just saying…” she said, and she blushed…and suddenly I was so attracted to her. I know, right! And you will think I am nuts to imagine that she was attracted back, but I could feel it. It must have been the pink taffeta skirt!
So, I’ve been thinking about this misandry business for the last wee while. And what have I discovered?
I’m still a misandrist. Maybe more. And yet, this is not an active process. I don’t seem to want men in my life at all. What to do about that? That isn’t productive. At least on a rational level, I can see that. Let’s say that I eventually become a woman and become a lesbian…and accept myself as such, I still live in a world that is 50% men, so that kind of mindset seems self-defeating. What a palaver! And anyway, I am such a late transitioner that even with the most powerful doses of estrogen and surgery, I cannot erase the indelible marks of testosterone on my body or my life.
And as for sexual orientation? The most curious thing is happening. I used to like “manly” women. “Butch” women—women in whom the masculine coursed strongly. I found this intoxicating, utterly beautiful. I married this. I always dated this. I was always attracted to this. This has changed. How? Suddenly, I am really attracted to girlie-girls, to ultra-feminine, petite, delicate, classically pretty women. One of my friends joked that I have just taken the butch half of the lesbian couple. I can feel it, no matter how flouncy I become myself, the legacy of testosterone lives within me. As my friend said, “opposites attract”…and before, I liked the “manly” woman because it made me feel more centred. And my ex-therapist is such—achingly feminine.
Even a dominatrix can be as delicate as a flower—and teach me things about dominance and submission that I could have never imagined—the subtlety of a true artist. And that is the kind of domination I am experiencing now…very different than any I might have conceived of…I am wrapped in endless layers of femininity, and for once in my life, I don’t ask for more. I am simply content to experience, to surrender, and that is also because it is the first time I have interacted within the context of BDSM and experienced equity.