Monday, November 26, 2012

Good Afternoon Ma'am

My heart goes out to someone I think about every day even though they may not realize I do.  They are in my thoughts, in my heart and I hope that one day this person will be able to realize their dream.
The dream isn't extravagant.  It isn't something that is unobtainable.  It is not out of reach.
Yet I totally and completely realize why this person feels as though the dream is buried in a tunnel beneath the ocean floor.

The person dreams to be true to self.  I know, you may be thinking "What?  Why that's easy, you just do it!"
Believe me; it's not as easy as it sounds.  You see, this person feels like what you see when you meet them is not how they would like to be viewed.

Okay, let me get with the program and stop being vague.  Do you know what transgender means?  In case you don't, let me provide an explanation.  First let me explain that I will be using a transgender person born with a penis as an example.  That does not mean that transgender people are only born with penises.  There are both transgender males and transgender females.

Let's say you are born and you have a penis.  Great.  The doctor exclaims that you are a boy and everyone buys you toy trucks and football jerseys.  But as you begin to grow up and realize a sense of self, you feel like something just isn't quite right.  You feel wrong and you don't really know how to explain it.  You see females in your life wearing brightly coloured or flowing clothing, cute shoes, showing off their pretty painted fingernails and trying on lipstick and perfume.  You feel like you are supposed to be wearing those things and acting that way.  But society sees you as a male.  They would scoff, mock and frown upon you if you wore a dress, heels and painted your lips and nails.  So you try to be a boy but it just. feels. wrong.

At some point during adolescence your body completely defies you and you go through puberty becoming on the outside even more of what you do not feel like on the inside.  You are becoming more male when you feel more female.  And it doesn't stop there.  You grow into what looks like a man.  You have large feet, broad shoulders, narrow hips and facial hair.  But when you look in the mirror you dream of seeing someone with small feet, narrow shoulders, broad hips and if there is any facial hair it is pulled, plucked, waxed or bleached.  You dream of soft skin, cute shoes, flouncy skirts, blouses, the perfect shade of lipstick and a ring that matches your necklace that matches your earrings that go perfectly with your new purse.

You are all woman, but the world sees you as all man.  Now go on and try to tell me that it's easy to be true to self.  I know.  Not as easy as you thought it was, is it?

You see, she wants to know what it feels like to really be a woman on the inside and the outside.  And not just on Halloween.  But there is a fear holding her back.  A fear of society.  A fear of being judged.  So she hides her true self from almost everyone.  She has some support from a loved one and from a very few select friends.  I'm lucky to have been chosen to know that she's transgender.  

It makes me dream on her behalf that one day the world will understand that being a transgender person is not a choice.  It is the way the person is born.  

Try.  Just for a minute.  To imagine what it would feel like if your body didn't match your gender.  Go on.  Close your eyes and imagine it.  Don't be silly and act like it would be cool.  It isn't cool to have body parts that aren't supposed to be yours.  If you are a man, see yourself with a vagina, breasts, hips, narrow shoulders, small stature and no five o'clock shadow.  If you are a woman, see yourself with a penis, scrotum, hair on your chest and face, large stature, and broad shoulders.

Would people treat you differently?  Of course they would.  We are a world that defines us by male and female.  Men drink beer and women drink wine.  Men mow the lawn and women cook dinner.  Men like to shop at the home improvement store and women like to shop at the department store.  Men are the head of the house and women clean the house.

Yes, you may cringe and scoff at my words, but can you honestly tell me that you don't know someone who has made these generalizations in recent times, and meant it?  Probably not.

I'm not a transgender person.  I was lucky to only be born gay as I watch those I know who are transgender struggle to become the person they really are.  

I look like a female.  I feel like a female.  But I am also attracted to women.  Society calls me a lesbian (or gay).

A transgender person can look like a male and be attracted to men (what society would call 'straight' if the inside matched the outside).  
A transgender person can also look like a male and be attracted to women (what society would call 'gay' if the inside matched the outside).  
Or a transgender person can look like a male and be attracted to both genders (what society would call 'bisexual' if the inside matched the outside).

DMU Society
(a poem written by me in May 1990)

Darkened, Mislead, Unknown,
Disrespected, Meaningless, Unprovided,
Diseased, Misunderstood, Uncaring,
Discarded, Mistreated, Unloved.

Defied, Misjudged, Useless,
Dying, Misconducted, Unjust,
Disbelieving, Misconcepted, Unreasonable,
Distrusted, Miscreant, Society.

I was feeling the heavy weight of not being able to be my true self as I didn't tell anyone I am gay until nearly two decades later.

I hope that one day my friend will be able to realize the dream of being true to self.  Of being able to have someone see them walking down the street and acknowledge them as their true gender.  

"Good afternoon Ma'am"

My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely (Google Affiliate Ad)

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