Integrated

I’ve been feeling really integrated lately. There’s something amazing and good and whole about devoting all of my social energy to lesbians, which creates spaces where I see more and more glimmers of myself reflected. I’ve been able to let my guard down a bit.

It’s been very interesting really getting to know older lesbians for the first time, at this point in my life. They see me as unquestionably female, which is a huge relief but at the same time makes it a little difficult to convey some of my day to day experiences, and even harder to relate my experiences during transition.

While my social life has gotten more comfortable and lesbian-centered, I continue to pass as male for the most part when I am out and about. Cashiers at the gas station call me sir, guys at the gym call me bro. I try to talk to my older dyke friends about these experiences, and they just reassure me that I “read entirely as a woman.” It’s very nice, and I really appreciate it, but it doesn’t change the fact that I do not “read entirely as a woman” to many folks. It’s been baffling to me that I continue to be read as male despite never wearing compression of any sort (I really need to write a post about this – the past six months or so of not even wearing sports bras has been a huge positive shift in my life), having a uniform of jeans and tshirts in a casual town where everyone wears jeans and tshirts, and consciously trying to keep myself from shifting my voice down when I get anxious (read: always). I feel like I am giving off every natural “female signal” I have to give, at least without explicitly marking myself in some more easily socially recognizable way.

I never want to compromise or capitulate in order to make myself “appear” female. I am female, and that is enough. I am seen when I am with Lesbians, and that is enough.

Sometimes, even when I am relating my experiences while I was transitioning, it is difficult for my new friends to imagine me as a man. They want to see pictures, so I pull out my phone and flip through the few remaining on my Facebook. I get to hear about how my face was still so obviously female, how I still looked like a lesbian, how I don’t really look any different now, and it’s meant to be positive and affirming but I just feel like my past is being erased. These comments come alongside stories of people they know who “just seem so natural as men” after transition. I remind myself that they didn’t know me back then, all they know is this much better version of myself that sits in front of them today. They don’t know what an unanalyzed misogynist piece of shit I was, despite my best efforts to be “the good guy,” and I how I fit in just fine. I remind myself that they probably don’t realize that it’s not at all that other men didn’t think I fit in or was natural as a man – I decided that the last thing I wanted to do was fit in with these men and continue to capitulate to patriarchy and misogyny. For all my talk of how I didn’t change when I detransitioned, it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me just how much I’ve changed. I’ve changed purposefully. I decided to be a better, more authentic version of myself. I learned how to embrace myself fully. It was my choice, and I’d choose it over and over again.

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6 thoughts on “Integrated

  1. hi there – I was wondering, do you pass as female without having to prompt people to call you that when interacting with strangers? or do they automatically always gender you male when talking to you, or just have no idea how to read you?

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    • (this is in response to some cashiers and gym bros calling you “sir” and “bro”. I’m wondering whether being read as male is your only common gendering when talking to strangers in public)

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    • It’s kind of a toss up, and a lot of it has to do with the situation and what folks expect to see. I get called he/sir/etc probably 75% of the time in public and I still confuse some of my coworkers that I’ve been working with for 2+ years (the inconsiderate ones, at least). I’ve learned to say something to identify myself as female or a lesbian pretty quickly in situations where I can sense folks don’t know how to read me, because it’s really usually not malicious and everyone is set at ease once they can figure out what’s going on with me.

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      • oh cool, thanks for the reply. I’m not necessarily detransitioning myself, but I am going on a lower dose of testosterone and possibly stopping in the future, because I’ve become tired of being read as a man all the time. Sometimes is nice, but I’m kind of over it.
        I’ve got a really deep voice though, because I went on when I was 17 (I’m 18 now), but I’m wondering whether my short stature and female fat distribution would combat that somewhat, along with the sometimes slightly highering of pitch that happens when you go off T (this is mainly from Meagan Brockeier’s account on youtube, and one other person I know who went off T and had their voice raise a bit. I’m not counting that it would happen to me, though).

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      • My voice is definitely still a lot deeper than when I started testosterone (I keep thinking of making some sort of voice comparison video, maybe this is my motivation to do so 🙂 ), but it has also definitely changed since coming off T. I feel like I still have access to my lowest range, but I have to consciously engage it. My voice isn’t as rough as it was while on T, but I also don’t smoke cigarettes or drink a 6pack or more a day anymore. I have a lot of voice feels, some days are better than others. On the phone I’m gendered male about the same as in person, my name is ambiguous so again it usually depends a lot on what folks are expecting when they call me (in the case of telemarketers, calls from the bank, etc). For singing reference, I was a first soprano (the really high voices) when I started testosterone and now I’m still more of a tenor, if I pop up into my alto/soprano range now I feel like it sounds like falsetto.

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      • a voice comparison video would be great! there are so few resources of what to expect when going off hormones that it would be useful + interesting I think!

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