What’s in a name?  The end of girlieboy69.


Thus sprake ex-Patrick, Patti, Patricia…take your pick.

Over the past month or so I have felt that the handle I had chosen with such care is no longer appropriate for how I feel.  This is an existential issue but is an incomparable source of joy.  I was born a girlie boy, an androgyne, and looked like one well into my 20’s and early 30’s.  The comfy years of professional excess and success also padded me out like a bear—in all ways—physical, emotional, a kind of packing around my personality as so much fuzz.  

What did girly-boy mean to me?  Well, it was always being willing to express a little femininity as a boy.  And I say boy because I never wanted to grow up.  Peter Pan syndrome?  Perhaps.  This manifested for many years in clothes, at first feminine attire like harem pants and blouses figured in my wardrobe, but over time this morphed into extravagant clothes, whether men’s or women’s—dressing a bit like a peacock.  I remember trying on a chartreuse double-breasted suit, it fit perfectly, and thinking it looked grand, and my friend saying wistfully, “but you can get away with it.”  And I thought, ‘but anyone can get away with it.  All you need to do is put it on.’  I never really understood that feeling but do know that many people feel that way.  A shame.

Social pressure is such that we do really seem to dislike the “other”.  Anything which is different for us is alien and makes us uncomfortable.  I wonder whether this is society gone awry or whether there are biological roots in this…that difference meaning “not like us” carried some element of reproductive risk or diminished the chances of the group gene pool.  Competition.  Is it so far fetched?

Being a girly-boy was an important outlet for me.  It was like a pressure-release valve for dysphoria.  What I realise now, however, is that being a girly-boy was not just a playful take on personal self-expression, it was the tip of the vast underneath, the giant reality inside my body—that the female was more important to me, more essential to me, than the male.

I thought that I was non-binary.  Since I was and am AMAB (assigned male at birth), it made perfect sense to me that my dabbling, my expression, my outward gender markers were somewhat playful, mixed and mildly female…so being a girlish-boy felt accurate.  But the truth is that it appears to have never been accurate.

And why 69?  Well, not as an escort on Twitter recently posted about what a silly name it is (she wasn’t writing about me, but about someone else)…because she found it offensive that a guy would call himself a 69 with the connotations of mutual oral sex positions.  I’ve never done that, not for any particular reason, only that it never seemed to naturally come about.  No.  I chose 69 because it is the numerical symbol of another cliché, yin and yang.  But that one suits me much better.  It felt like a numerical description of being non-binary.  Expressing male and female at the same time.

So, there you have it, male and female, yin and yang.

And you might say, well that all makes sense and sounds perfectly good.  And it really is.  Only it doesn’t feel right.  I don’t feel like a boy anymore.  I don’t feel girly anymore either.  I don’t even feel non-binary anymore.  I feel increasingly female.  I aspire to feel female.  And in that sense, being a girly-boy doesn’t feel like a good fit anymore.

It isn’t to say that from one day to the other I have gone from male to female.  Nor is it to say that I will ever look female.  I would never hope to be so fortunate.  I would never give myself or demand from others a view that I am female.  And yet, I do certainly feel that I am trans feminine.  I know that I will feel that I am a transgender woman more and more every day…and that my growing breasts are a daily reminder.  I also feel that the anatomical rubicon that a sex change represents will push me over this line with absolute certainty.  

Do I think that I will ever pass?  No.  Not even after surgery.  But do I need to pass to be a transgender woman?  Yes.  In some ways, I already am.  Given that I am experiencing female puberty, it makes sense that this is an evolving feeling.  It takes up to 5 years for all of the effects to take hold.

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