I used to imagine what I’d look like if I born male, if I were born with the expected physical features of biological maleness. Â I’d give myself facial hair and mentally take the roundness out of my cheeks and let that image float in front of what I was seeing in the mirror. Â I think this is a pretty common activity among trans* people.
I was reflecting today on the fact that I can now see the maleness in my face without squinting my eyes and doing mental overlays. Â It’s not that my face has changed drastically – the shape is a little different and yes, my facial hair is darker and in greater quantity – but it’s still my face, the face I’ve had since becoming an adult. Â So why can I see the masculinity so much more easily now?
I think it’s all in my head. Â All my life I’ve been schooled in the art of seeing the female in my face and body, regardless of the masculine tells. Â It was another overlay that fit firmly over my image when I looked in the mirror, that I saw first and foremost. Â When I began questioning my gender identity and exploring what gender could mean to me, I began seeing the male more often. Â It was like a flickering image, at first it was hard to hold on to but eventually I could steady it and examine its details. Â It was like having another person in my body. Â Sometimes I’d see the female butch dyke, sometimes I’d see the man. Â I remember confessing to Roxy that I had a crush on my male side, it was really like looking at the image of someone else, someone I craved being in the presence of, the Kyle side of me.
This morning I took a selfie of myself and looking at the picture I took, all I could see was the maleness. Â My perception has switched over – now it’s more rare for me to see the femaleness in me, it flickers in and out of my vision and won’t stabilize any more.
I am still surprised at being seen as a man in the world, strangers rarely misgender me now. Â It still surprises me because inside I am still a mixed gender person and the habit and expectation of being seen of female is based on 50 years of experience.
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