You might be looking at this post with a quizzical eye, maybe an eyebrow lift. Â Or maybe you’ve been through all this and you’re nodding in recognition.
It’s not something that happened right away, but as my appearance and voice have become more and more masculine – corresponding with being read as male more often – I’ve gotten more and more comfortable showing my feminine side. Â I don’t think it’s something too obvious to external viewers, except for those who know me well. Â I don’t wear dresses or skirts, or make up, or lots of jewelry. My femininity expresses as a softness, an openness, some additional flair in the way I talk with my hands.
So why now, you ask? Â Why now, when T has commandeered my body and taught it how to do all sorts of amazing things with hair and vocal chords? Â Why as my face gets hairier and my chest furrier do I feel OK getting my nellyboy on? Â Confidence is a powerful drug. Â Feeling good in my skin, being seen, being recognized, being appreciated in a way that is aligned with my self-image has been like Miracle Grow on my self-confidence. Â And apparently, it was the lack of that confidence that led me to stifle my feminine side. Â Even as I defended its existence, even though I’ve insisted that I’m not all male, that I am a blend of genders… even though my feminine is a closely held part of my identity, I felt insecure expressing anything but masculinity.
I know from conversations with other transmasculine folks that this isn’t uncommon. I’ve been struggling against outside expectations all my life and some of those struggles have been about my masculinity. Â My mother tried her darndedest to suppress my masculine side. Â The feminist lesbians who were around me in my early 20s did their best to shame it away. Â It went under and didn’t come out until it had received repeated invitations from people who were butch positive. Â So yeah, once I found myself in a place in life where my masculinity was not only visible, but celebrated and in demand, I didn’t want to confuse matters with a flounce or a faggy flip of the wrist. Â I didn’t want to detract from the image I was painstakingly building at the very time that image was beginning to get legs and walk on its own.
So what has changed? Â I’ve been asking myself this question. Â It’s not just a matter of reaching the proper ratio of body hair to total surface area. Â Confidence doesn’t arrive with a Â particular Free T level or as a prize for the 100th time someone calls me Sir and doesn’t take it back. Â I don’t really know why now is the magic time. Â But I have theories.
There are two elements to this new level of comfort I am feeling in expressing my full range of gender. Â The first is that I have reached a level of visible and audible masculinity that feels very affirming, it feels right and that has resulted in a lot of confidence. I don’t fear that the slightest hint of femininity will erase the recognition of my maleness. Â The second is that I have a sexual partner who is comfortable, turned on and ecstatic to be in the presence of all of my gender expression. Â I feel very comfortable and safe with her. Â She accepts and loves me in all my configurations and blends. Â I feel safe and welcomed and adored by her and my feminine side has been present more and more – which has delighted us both. Â I feel less and less gated. Â My gender is able to roam freely and express itself in whatever way feels good in the moment, which is really the way it should be for all of us.
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