I had one of those days yesterday. One of those days when I question myself and my identity. I fell prey to an old envy, the envy I sometimes feel when I find out a butch or genderqueer friend has decided to transition, definitively moving from one space in the gender cloud to another. I don’t envy the difficulties they will face, the challenges and the questions and the multitude of follow-on decisions that come with transition. The envy comes from the decision, the recognition of a destination of sorts. I am sometimes not sure of my destination, other times I recognize that I am at my destination, even as my journey of self-discovery and exploration continues.
So I went through a round of self-examination that was a bit brutal. It tends to happen most when I learn that genderqueer butch identified people have decided they are fully transgender and have made the decision to transition. That hits me in the core of where I am and I wonder if I’m just in denial, if I’m just avoiding the decision to transition out of fear.
As I said in a Facebook status last night:
Sometimes I wonder if my gender identity isn’t just a gigantic ball of indecisiveness dressed up to look like it knows what it’s doing.
A friend chimed in right away, another butch identified genderqueer, and one of my best friends. I’m not alone, is what they said to me, they feel this way a lot. That helped, it helps to know you’re not alone. A conversation with Roxy this morning also helped, she reassured me that I am not a pretend bi-gender, not faking genderqueer identity, that from what she could see, I was as authentic as anyone could be. Hearing things like that helps, it really does and I’m climbing out of the depression I was wallowing in last night. I think a big part of the challenge of my identity is not being visible in the fullness of who I am. I’m guessing that when most people look at me they see either ‘butch dyke’ or ‘transgender man-to-be’. I’m neither and both, but most people don’t see all that complexity and it’s hard to communicate without handing everyone in my life a page-long essay.
Am I a fiercely identified genderqueer or a gender-middle-muddle? Both, I think, at least for now. I do hope that someday I can come home to me and not worry or question doubt my core truths. Even though I can’t imagine not being on an exploratory journey of some kind to the end of my days, I hope I can settle down happily in some respects because these sink holes of self-doubt and self-pity are tiring and unhealthy.
[Note: Because I value my friends and their wonderful partners, I want to say again that I do not mean to minimize or trivialize the difficulty all of them have been through to reach this point. Transition is less a direct route to a destination and more a series of potential paths, each with its own pluses and minuses for all involved. And no amount of transitioning magic does what most transgender people seeking it truly want: to have been born with the body matching their gender identity. When I say that I have some envy for those who choose to head in that direction, I do not mean to say it has been an easy choice or that the path will be easy from that point forward, only that at times I fear that I am in denial and that I envy what seems to be a clarifying moment that these individuals have had. Though I have had many clarifying moments, the times when I feel confused and unclarified are scary. And in those moments, I feel that envy. ]
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