Having a female past

18 01 2008

I know that some transsexual people feel very alienated from the body in which they were born and, once they have physically transitioned, wish to be as distant from their past as a member of the undesired sex as possible. While I understand why this may be the case for some people, it isn’t mine. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few people assume that I think being male is somehow better than being female or that I’m ashamed of or disgusted by being female-bodied.

Although I’ve never felt that this body suited me, I don’t see anything wrong with being female. I also don’t see being male as being inherently better than being female. I know that there will be things about having a more masculine body that will displease me and things about having a more feminine body that I will miss. It’s just not about that. It’s like wearing clothes that don’t fit – you might really like the outfit but it just. does. not. fit. You walk around with clothes that’s way too big or way too small and you feel uncomfortable. You spend years making yourself miserable trying to fit into the outfit but to no avail. Eventually, you realise that it’s time to wear clothes that fits. 

About being female: I have to say, after much reflection, that I’m proud and honoured to have been born into a female body and to have lived as a female for 34 years. I’m glad that I got to experience things that I could only experience with a female body, ranging from extremely unpleasant things that I won’t go into here to beautiful life changing things like giving birth and nursing a baby. I’m glad that I know what it’s like to be a woman in a patriarchal society, not being taken as seriously as men, not being heard over their louder voices, being dismissed when you’re angry because it’s probably just PMS, etc. I think that this experience will make me a better guy than I would have been had I been born in a male body . . . I needed those lessons.  I would not be the guy that I am/will be without having been the girl that I was.

If I need and want to modify my body now to make it match who I am inside, it’s not because I want to escape female oppression or obtain male privilege. I’m actually putting myself at higher risk for oppression and marginalisation by locating myself as a transsexual. No, if it’s time for change it’s because I feel I’ve learned what I needed to learn from being female. It’s time for me to take those lessons and apply them and I will be able to do that more effectively with the greater self-confidence,  self-assurance and self-love that will come with having a body that fits. Having my outside reflect my inside will enable me to walk through the world, not with more *power* but with more *empowerment* and this will make me a more cohesive and balanced person. Part of maintaining that cohesion and balance, for me, will always involve remembering who I was and what I learned from being female.  

And, no matter what, I will always be a mother. I will never remove my child’s right to call me “Mommy”.




10 responses

18 01 2008

The part about learning what you needed to from being female and applying those lessons really resonates. It’s the past that helps shape who we are in the present.

18 01 2008

I think you make a really good point, about being a better man because you’ve been a woman, and I’m glad you clarified some things – your analogy of the nice outfit that doesn’t quite fit is great!

I think, as Mish intimates, we should all be conscious of where we come from, in all respects, because our past cannot help but influence our present and future. Those that try to ignore/rewrite/suppress the past are perhaps not doomed to repeat it, but certainly will have to deal with ‘issues’ – your approach seems a lot healthier!

18 01 2008
Jacky V.

Thanks for the comments! I’ve always felt that a past was a huge part of the present whether it be positive, negative or neutral. I remember a woman where I worked when I was in my 20s asked me if I thought I would ever regret the tattoo I had gotten when I was 19. I replied that I hoped that at 30, 40, etc, I would always be able to remember who I was when I was 19. That tattoo reflects who I was at that time so how could I regret who I was?

19 01 2008

Thanks for the link. You write so well about such complex emotions and issues that I’m sure you will achieve your objective of helping others – indeed inspiring them.

You make a good point about learning from the past rather than regretting it. Can I offer you in return something i saw recently which inspired me and seems relevant for you just now – “The future has as much influence on the present as the past”.

19 01 2008
Jacky V.

Thanks Jim! Let me ponder that last phrase . . .I have to think about it a while before I comment.

29 01 2008
Round-up: “You Said it!” Edition « Cheerful Megalomaniac

[…] wrote a post about having a female past that just makes me go YES YES YES […]

6 03 2008
Tarald Stein

I think you’re on the right track. And your thoughts are sometimes clearer than mine. I especially like the part about learning what you needed from beeing female bodied. It resonnates well whith my own thoughts.

6 03 2008
Jacky V.

Thanks Tarald. I really think there is a reason for everything. I’m glad I was born the way I was. And I hope to remain proud of it in the future.

7 03 2008

Hey, I really enjoy your writing here. I’ve added you to my blogroll so I can remember to come back. Nothing else to add in my comment here, since you’ve said so much so well.

8 03 2008
Jacky V.

Thanks Malcolm!! Glad you enjoy it. I’d love to visit your blog as well but your post doesn’t link to it . . .

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