I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

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I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby ToixStory » Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:00 pm

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-1756-i-was-transgender-didnt-know-it-6-weird-realities.html

Righto, good article but there seem to be some misconceptions in the comments section that I'd like to iron out as a trans woman myself (pre-HRT as of now due to parents and living in Texas...), as well as someone very active in the LGBT community.

One of the big questions people seem to have is why trans women equate being girly with being female, when many biological women feel perfectly feminine wearing jeans and boxers and cutting their hair short. This is something hard to grasp when you are not trans, but the long and short of it is that when you are biologically a woman, you are a woman no matter what you do (unless you yourself are trans). You can never wear makeup, always wear boys' clothes, play boys' sports, do traditionally masculine things, and you and society still see you as a girl.

Unfortunately for trans people, this isn't quite true. If you are trans, the world at best sees you as kind of a girl, and at worst sees you as a freak. For a lot of trans women, including myself, being more "girly" or "femme" is a kind of coping mechanism to convince both the world and yourself that you are really a woman, and not just a freak of a man who is pretending to be one. A biological woman doing masculine things is just a tomboy, a trans woman doing masculine things is "being a man again", and thus many trans women stay as far away from anything masculine as humanly possible.

This also does not mean every trans woman thinks that all there is to being a girl is makeup, girly clothes, being femme, etc. A lot of us do experience a fondness for such things in adolescence (I, like the girl in the interview, have a fondness for soft things, prefer sweats over jeans if a skirt is not an option, etc.), and part of that is biological in that our brains tend to be wired differently (don't quote me on that, I haven't read enough of the scientific literature to be an expert on it), and part of it is simply lashing out against a childhood that is filled with constant reminders to be a man, like manly things, act like a man, etc. In a better society, gender roles would not be so prevalent in adolescence and thus transitioning would be easier, but unfortunately that is not the case.

And one final thing, as I saw this mentioned in one comment, trans women, despite many of us being more girly and femme, are not simply defined as "men who like girly things". What separates trans women from men who are simply more feminine and/or girly (which is perfectly alright to be!) is that we are people who feel we are women whether we are dressed in a skirt and high heels with HRT or whether we look like lumberjacks pre-HRT. Just like biological girls, I suppose, we are simply people who feel we are women at all times, but don't always have the outside appearance to match.

I hope I answered some of the bigger questions I saw cropping up in the comments, and if anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask me. Sorry for the big post along with the article, just figured I'd try to clear anything up from the start.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby Tesseracts » Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:50 pm

I'm glad I don't have to prove to anyone that I'm a woman. This sounds like a huge burden.

This is only tangentially related to being trans, but it's a popular subject now and it's the only question which comes to mind. I'm wondering what you would say the difference is between somebody who lives their life as another race, and a transgendered person.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby ToixStory » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:29 pm

Tesseracts wrote:I'm glad I don't have to prove to anyone that I'm a woman. This sounds like a huge burden.

This is only tangentially related to being trans, but it's a popular subject now and it's the only question which comes to mind. I'm wondering what you would say the difference is between somebody who lives their life as another race, and a transgendered person.

Ah, this question has come up a lot lately. To understand, one must look at gender and race as two different things, as biologically only gender is a real thing. Race is, ultimately, a social construct with no difference between humans of different melanin levels.* Gender, of course, is much more biological in nature, with very real differences in thought processes, physical attributes, etc. It has been documented (links here: [1] [2] [3]) that there are very real genetic and biological differences in trans individuals and other people that share their biological gender. As in, I, as a trans woman, do not have the same genetics and brain functions as a cisgendered male. Biologically, I am different.

However, race is purely a social construct. There is no real difference between the brains of a man in Nairobi, a man in Beijing, and a man in New York City. Thus, racial dysphoria is not an actual thing that can exist, because there is no part of our brain that can actually detect our "race" as we see it. I personally don't want to take a stance on trans-racial individuals because it is really not my business, but there is no biological backing in the same way transgendered individuals are biologically different from their cisgendered counterparts.

*Yes, there can be differences in bone structure, hair color, eye color, etc. but it isn't tied directly to race. Thus why you can have Africans with blonde hair, East Asians with blue or green eyes (the famous Afghani girl picture comes to mind), Europeans with darker skin than Middle Easterners, etc.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby Paradox » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:32 pm

I remember a M-to-F transgender I met once. I'll call her Priscila, mostly because I don't remember her actual name. When I was a teenager, I used to frequent a group of people who liked to meet twice a month to play Pokémon. We held organized tournaments, and four times a year the champions would get to fight the Elite 4, our best players. She joined our group once. We had a really varied roster. It included a muscled, dumb guy who liked to go to parties and fuck chicks, and relentlessly brag about it. It was pretty fun to remind him he's a Pokémon nerd, as he'd get genuinelly mad over it.

He was the only one to give her trouble. She'd just roll her eyes. She's probably the most down to earth person I've ever known.

Not everyone who uses the wrong pronouns do it out of hatred. Some do it out of genuine confusion. I was one of those people. I'd say "he", then stutter, than say "she", then look at her like I'm about to say "sorry". She'd just say it's okay, and she's not gonna make an asshole out of someone who isn't trying to be one. I had heard of transgender people before, but meeting one in person was a whole other game. You can easily discern who is doing it deliberately and who isn't.

Even given how she seemed to have her ideas in place, her lack of femininity seemed to bother her a lot. I've seen some F-to-M transgenders and they look pretty okay, specially when they try to build muscles, but a feminine form is hard to acquire. I'm a broad shouldered female, but I have a girly figure, none the less. Her wide shoulders looked manly. She dressed up in a over the top, stereotypically girly way. While all other girls wore baggy tops, sneakers and sweatpants, she was always in corsets, high heels, carefully braided hair and make up. And that still wouldn't make it.

That's my biggest fear of having a trans kid. Gay boy? Go and find a guy you love. Lesbian? You go girl. Bi? Twice the chance, huh? Asexual? Relationships are a pain in the ass anyway. Sometimes literally. But with a trans child, you know he or she may never fully achieve what he/she wants. And that's heartbreaking.

Over the internet, I heard a trans woman saying she doesn't want to get genital surgery, so she can still feel sexual pleasure. That made me question my own sex. I'm not proud of it.

One thing I noticed on the article, is that the boy mentioned having sex "in the right way for him", without saying what is it. I remember Priscila saying she had sex with guys, as a transgender, because she thought it was all about that, when, in reality, she just likes girls. Some people got confused. Why go through all the hassle to become a woman when you are gonna like girls? As if being a woman was all about liking men.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby ToixStory » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:44 pm

Paradox wrote:But with a trans child, you know he or she may never fully achieve what he/she wants. And that's heartbreaking.

Not to butt in too much, but this is something that is actually quite a big deal in the trans community, sadly. In particular, it affects many MtF trans women, due to the fact that our (male-driven) society tends to have a bit more leeway on a girl looking like a man (nowadays, it's generally acceptable for a girl to wear jeans, a t-shirt, sneakers, short hair, etc.), but still not much on a man looking like a girl. A lot of times, as with your example in Priscilla, that results in trans women somewhat overcompensating to be as feminine as possible, due to being criticized for being feminine and not being feminine enough at the same time. As in, many people will mock trans women for trying to look like a woman but also mock trans women if they look too manly.

It's enough that I personally know a number of trans women who, in some ways, don't quite identify as a woman, but as a trans woman specifically. As in, trans women who make being trans their main identity, to somewhat deflect criticism of not looking girly enough. Many of them never get genital surgery, as part of that identity. It doesn't help that, for trans women who do like men (myself included), there are many many many more men who are willing to be with/fetishize about a trans woman with her male genitals intact than a MtF trans woman with genital surgery.

I guess my point is that it is very difficult and many trans women have different coping skills, from being over-the-top feminine like the girl in your story, to not fully transitioning to be more appealing to others like the trans women I know (and, to be honest, myself at times). Oh, and fyi, we only care about pronouns if it's being used to mock us, it's fine if you mess up by accident without any malice behind it. :)
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby FaceTheCitizen » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:19 pm

ToixStory wrote:I hope I answered some of the bigger questions I saw cropping up in the comments, and if anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask me.


How do you pronounce your name? Tox Story? Toiz? Break the mystery!
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby ToixStory » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:25 pm

FaceTheCitizen wrote:
ToixStory wrote:I hope I answered some of the bigger questions I saw cropping up in the comments, and if anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask me.


How do you pronounce your name? Tox Story? Toiz? Break the mystery!

Like "Toy Story".
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby Popinki » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:28 am

What's your opinion of the Caitlyn Jenner media hoopla?

I read/post on some other boards where opinion seems to be split; one camp thinks it's great that she made her transition so public, especially since she was so famous and well respected as Bruce that it helps people realize that even stereotypically manly men can have gender issues. Others think her case is too special to be relevant, since most transwomen don't find such easy acceptance among their family and peers and don't have her resources (i.e. it's easy to look gorgeous when you can hire the best plastic surgeons and makeup artists etc when most women, cis and trans, can only do the best they can with what they have.)
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby ToixStory » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:47 am

Popinki wrote:What's your opinion of the Caitlyn Jenner media hoopla?

I read/post on some other boards where opinion seems to be split; one camp thinks it's great that she made her transition so public, especially since she was so famous and well respected as Bruce that it helps people realize that even stereotypically manly men can have gender issues. Others think her case is too special to be relevant, since most transwomen don't find such easy acceptance among their family and peers and don't have her resources (i.e. it's easy to look gorgeous when you can hire the best plastic surgeons and makeup artists etc when most women, cis and trans, can only do the best they can with what they have.)

I think Caitlyn's case is a great one, and I'm very glad it came up. While, yes, Caitlyn's case is a special one like it is for all celebrities who are anything but normal, it's great because her coming out has started a conversation that a lot of people otherwise would not have. Transgender people have always had a representation problem in the media, so having someone so public and (relatively) well-liked has been a boon for many transgender people being able to talk more openly about their issues, their struggles, and their feelings when they may not have been able to do so before.

I may be personally biased, too, since that is actually what I did, being able to talk more openly to my parents about transgender issues because of Caitlyn. Like it or not, we are a very celebrity-worshipping society, so sometimes the best thing for a community is a popular celebrity to represent them in the limelight, if only to get people talking.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby Tesseracts » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:02 am

I can tell you right now I do not like the fact that nothing is OK unless a famous person does it.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby cmsellers » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:04 am

I really wonder if I'll be one of those men transitioning at the age of 50. I've known since I was a little kid that I want to be a girl, the stuff about growing long hair, plucking body hair, and wearing sweatclothes (in this case because my female friend wore baggy clothes) resonate strongly with me. Instead of the long hair, I had the thrill of someone mistaking me for female (which I feigned indignation about, but always enoyed). In college, I cut my hair short and started dressing in nice clothes, because that's what most lesbians around my age seemed to do.

However despite all this, I have always believed that at least in my case, hormone therapy and surgery would just result in a man with a vagina and severe identity issues. In my case, there are several issues. Some of these I'm still not sure if they're qualitatively different from transgendered people, if transgendered persons just ignore these issues, or if I'm just transgender in denial. Any rate, my reasons are as follows:

Spoiler: show
  1. I have always wanted to be female. I have never believed that I am a female in a male body.
    -
  2. Surgery would be essentially cosmetic; I would not have a functioning female reproductive system.
    -
  3. I haven't just always wanted to be female; I've also always wanted to be culturally (but not religiously) Jewish and left-handed. The desire to be Jewish has more or less dissipated, but I still wish I were left-handed, to the point that I periodically try to force myself to use my left hand. I'm pretty sure trans-Semitism and trans-handedness aren't even things, so I wonder if my desire to be female comes from some sort of weird inferiority complex.
    -
  4. I have so many things wrong with me besides wishing I'd been born a different gender (and ethnicity, and handedness), that I often wonder if these desires stem from a subconscious belief that these other things would be easier if I'd been born a left-handed Jewish girl.


Some of them, based on this article (or other articles), I can confidently say are general issues transpeople do have:

Spoiler: show
  1. I've always wanted to be female, but I've never wanted to be feminine. I've never had an interest in makeup, and though I dressed in ways that I thought of as "female," I've always emulated non-feminine styles. In elementary school this was wearing sweatshirts with shorts; in middle and high school this was sweatclothes and a ponytail, in college this was dressing like a lesbian.
    -
  2. My pre-puberty erotic fantasies has me as a girl in heterosexual relationships, post-puberty I'm attracted to women. I don't know whether I'd be attracted to women or men if I were on female hormones, and considering the difficulties that fat ciswomen and normal-weight transwomen have with dating, that uncertainty is terrifying. (Being a lesbian would definitely be a bit easier in that regard, and also in that I manage to end up attracted to more lesbians than straight women as it is.)
    -
  3. All but one trans-person I've met gave off very strong vibes of being of their birth sex. I know that with puberty (and probably socialization as well), I've picked up a lot of very male habits and outlooks, and I doubt that those would go away with a sex-change surgery.
    -
  4. I would want to look feminine, and in terms of appearance, I think even Laverne Cox looks pretty mannish. I have seem transwomen who look very feminine, but they're a small minority. (I haven't met any transmen who didn't look feminine, though that might be less of a problem, in fact I didn't realize that the non-womanish-seeming transman I met looked feminine until I learned he'd been born a woman.)
    -
  5. Remember how I said that I want to be left-handed but always end up giving up on efforts to use only my left hand? At least in the short-term, staying right-handed and male is a whole lot easier, even if it makes me unhappy to think about.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby Tesseracts » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:11 am

cmsellers wrote:I really wonder if I'll be one of those men transitioning at the age of 50. I've known since I was a little kid that I want to be a girl, the stuff about growing long hair, plucking body hair, and wearing sweatclothes (in this case because my female friend wore baggy clothes) resonate strongly with me. Instead of the long hair, I had the thrill of someone mistaking me for female (which I feigned indignation about, but always enoyed). In college, I cut my hair short and started dressing in nice clothes, because that's what most lesbians around my age seemed to do.

However despite all this, I have always believed that at least in my case, hormone therapy and surgery would just result in a man with a vagina and severe identity issues. In my case, there are several issues. Some of these I'm still not sure if they're qualitatively different from transgendered people, if transgendered persons just ignore these issues, or if I'm just transgender in denial. Any rate, my reasons are as follows:

Spoiler: show
  1. I have always wanted to be female. I have never believed that I am a female in a male body.
    -
  2. Surgery would be essentially cosmetic; I would not have a functioning female reproductive system.
    -
  3. I haven't just always wanted to be female; I've also always wanted to be culturally (but not religiously) Jewish and left-handed. The desire to be Jewish has more or less dissipated, but I still wish I were left-handed, to the point that I periodically try to force myself to use my left hand. I'm pretty sure trans-Semitism and trans-handedness aren't even things, so I wonder if my desire to be female comes from some sort of weird inferiority complex.
    -
  4. I have so many things wrong with me besides wishing I'd been born a different gender (and ethnicity, and handedness), that I often wonder if these desires stem from a subconscious belief that these other things would be easier if I'd been born a left-handed Jewish girl.


Some of them, based on this article (or other articles), I can confidently say are general issues transpeople do have:

Spoiler: show
  1. I've always wanted to be female, but I've never wanted to be feminine. I've never had an interest in makeup, and though I dressed in ways that I thought of as "female," I've always emulated non-feminine styles. In elementary school this was wearing sweatshirts with shorts; in middle and high school this was sweatclothes and a ponytail, in college this was dressing like a lesbian.
    -
  2. My pre-puberty erotic fantasies has me as a girl in heterosexual relationships, post-puberty I'm attracted to women. I don't know whether I'd be attracted to women or men if I were on female hormones, and considering the difficulties that fat ciswomen and normal-weight transwomen have with dating, that uncertainty is terrifying. (Being a lesbian would definitely be a bit easier in that regard, and also in that I manage to end up attracted to more lesbians than straight women as it is.)
    -
  3. All but one trans-person I've met gave off very strong vibes of being of their birth sex. I know that with puberty (and probably socialization as well), I've picked up a lot of very male habits and outlooks, and I doubt that those would go away with a sex-change surgery.
    -
  4. I would want to look feminine, and in terms of appearance, I think even Laverne Cox looks pretty mannish. I have seem transwomen who look very feminine, but they're a small minority. (I haven't met any transmen who didn't look feminine, though that might be less of a problem, in fact I didn't realize that the non-womanish-seeming transman I met looked feminine until I learned he'd been born a woman.)
    -
  5. Remember how I said that I want to be left-handed but always end up giving up on efforts to use only my left hand? At least in the short-term, staying right-handed and male is a whole lot easier, even if it makes me unhappy to think about.

It sounds to me like you have self esteem problems and want to be pretty much anything other than what you are. That doesn't necessarily mean you aren't really trans, but that's the vibe I'm getting.

The issue of not really looking like a woman is a problem. Laverne Cox definitely looks like a MTF transgender to me. So do most trans women. It looks a lot more convincing if you transition before puberty, but plenty are opposed to that. Part of the problem here is society's prejudice against those who look androgynous. In time, as trans people are more accepted, women who look mannish will come to be accepted as real women.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby cmsellers » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:18 am

Tesseracts wrote:It sounds to me like you have self esteem problems and want to be pretty much anything other than what you are. That doesn't necessarily mean you aren't really trans, but that's the vibe I'm getting.

That's possible, though like I said, I don't identify as a woman and/or transgender either way.

Any rate, it's odd that the three groups I've wanted to be part of since I was a kid have all been historically disadvantaged, but that it's clearly not a general desire to be an underdog. I've never had any desire to be black, or gay, or Hindu, or a dwarf, for instance.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby ToixStory » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:23 am

Tesseracts wrote:The issue of not really looking like a woman is a problem. Laverne Cox definitely looks like a MTF transgender to me. So do most trans women. It looks a lot more convincing if you transition before puberty, but plenty are opposed to that. Part of the problem here is society's prejudice against those who look androgynous. In time, as trans people are more accepted, women who look mannish will come to be accepted as real women.

The sad thing is, it's almost something that most of us trans people are very aware of. We know we don't really look female and won't be fully accepted as female, and it's a major problem in the trans community, particularly because even if you have someone like me who has known I was, in my heart and mind, a girl since I was 4, very few parents let their kids transition pre-puberty or during puberty.

The result is that trans people deal with it in different ways. Some just own it, like Laverne Cox, who makes no apologies for her being more visibly a trans woman and looks pretty great (imo) doing it. Some, as I mentioned in a different post, instead own the trans identity itself, not fully identifying as women but as trans women (this is a big thing in the trans community where I live, myself included), and then there are others who, well...the rate of suicide in trans people is abysmally high. It's a very sad thing and a major problem for major trans individuals. It's one big reason I'm an active part of my local LGBT community, in hopes that future generations won't have to deal with the problems we have today.
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Re: I Was Transgender And Didn't Know It: 6 Weird Realities

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:54 am

cmsellers wrote:
Any rate, it's odd that the three groups I've wanted to be part of since I was a kid have all been historically disadvantaged, but that it's clearly not a general desire to be an underdog. I've never had any desire to be black, or gay, or Hindu, or a dwarf, for instance.

How about a gay Siddi dwarf?
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