By now, most of you probably know that I identify as genderqueer/transgender (if not, surprise! welcome to the party). I don't know if you know how hard that is.
To me, there are two aspects of Gender Dysphoria - my body and my societal image. Both are equally hard to explain, and trying to explain either makes me look like a misogynist. For a long time, I really thought I was - I thought, I must hate women if I hate being one so much. But you know what? Fuck that. I am not, nor have I ever been, against women. I am just not one.
Still, I cannot come up with a proper metaphor to explain anything. Do I tell you, "imagine tomorrow you wake up with a penis/vagina when previously you had the opposite. Everyone you interact with treats you like a man, but you are still the same person inside that you were yesterday. This is how I feel every day." You can't. You probably simply cannot imagine this (unless you, too, have feelings of transgenderism). So that's a bust.
Do I tell you how much I loathe my body? That I look at my breasts as though they are malignant tumors, sapping my will to live? That's dramatic. Do I tell you that every month I dread getting my period primarily because it's confirmation of my femaleness (not just for the horrible cramps and heavy bleeding)? Maybe you respond, "But Rachel, every one has things they hate about their body! ~Love yourself and accept who you are." Should I love my fibromyalgia? Should I love my migraines? Should I love and accept my depression? No. I should fight to get better. Why should I love the body I was born into if it is wrong for me?
And then we get into the societal image. There are two camps here - those like my mother who will never accept me as a man (she said she would disown me before seeing me get a sex change) and those who are ~progressive and say that by wanting to stop being female I am giving into gender roles that make me uncomfortable and that I should ~see beyond gender. Give me a society that does not see gender and maybe that would be possible (I would still hate my body, though, so there's a problem). As it stands, I am still judged for not being feminine. I don't wear makeup, and I wear my hair short. I wear pants and combat boots and men's shirts. People look at me and say, "lesbian." They will never look at me and say, "man." Or even, "I have no idea...man...woman...thing?" I will always be judged by society's standards of womanhood, and I will never, ever, ever measure up and I don't want to. So now you say, "not every woman is like that!!!" Well, of course they aren't. Many women are not the "stereotypical woman" with their makeup and their boys and everything that is seen on television - but a lot are. They are obviously the norm. My mom is one of the strongest willed people I have ever met - but she still won't go out of the house without makeup on, nor does she stand to have her grey hair undyed. Even she gives into pressure to be feminine.
I believe that any woman can do whatever she wants to. If that means she wants to have children? Good for her. If that means she wants to shave off all her hair, or sleep with every man she sees, or go into science or math or teaching kindergarten, then good for her. I believe that I can do whatever I want, too, and what I want is to not be seen as a female.
And maybe this post hasn't proven my point that I'm not sexist - maybe I'll never be able to shake that mantle. (That seems to be the curse of transgenderism.) It probably hasn't, actually, because is 5am and I haven't slept yet, and I'm PMSing which means I'm kind of on the verge of my monthly mental breakdown, and I didn't actually plan on writing this tonight but I couldn't stop thinking so I decided to just get it off my chest. I don't hate women, I simply hate being one.
And, an update:
Posted this waaaay back in January. But it still holds true. I actually wanted to comment the other day that I've finally...not become more comfortable with my body, but kind of said "fuck it, I'm going to wear what I want." So I bought a V-neck shirt - which I never used to wear because I didn't want to advertise my breasts anymore than I already did because they are very obviously there...But yeah. I fucking love V-neck shirts, I think they are really attractive on men (and for some reason they always, always ping my gaydar, which is cool because I'm totally a gay transman). But yeah, I was just kinda proud of myself.