From femme to GQ to drag king to ftm to ftmtv

13 11 2008

Are you confused? I’m not. Not anymore. In the past 5 years, I really have gone from femme to MTF transvestive. I used to wear femmey clothing to try to be a “real” woman. Now that I don’t have to prove anything anymore, once in a while, for sexual purposes, I like to dress like a femmey slut. And it feels subversive now, so I like it.

It was quite a route to get here though. As mentioned in one of the very first posts here, there came a time when I realised that I didn’t have to limit myself to “F” and I started to explore “gender blended” or transgender at large. It was quite liberating but then there came a time when I needed to explore the other extreme. If I had become well-versed in extreme femininity (as socially defined in North America), I needed to explore extreme masculinity (ibid.) I did that through drag kinging as Gary Dickinson.

I started to publicly embody Gary at Montreal Pride 2004. I had been practicing colouring my bountiful peach fuzz with mascara to create a nearly-realistic looking beard at home for a few weeks. Walking at Pride with a beard made me feel SO GOOD.

Montreal Pride 2004

After that public appearance, and after realising how good it felt to embody manhood, I began to seriously question my gender identity. I had already been through an existential crisis back when I started exploring a trans identity through the idea of being gender blended. This time, though, I felt myself moving closer to male than was comfortable. It was uncomfortable because it was bringing me closer to trans with a capital T that, at the time, terrified me with it’s implications of suffering and loneliness. I would get a feeling of cold, hard, heavy metal (not the musical kind, because that would reassure me instead of scaring me) in my stomach whenever I would make it all the way to a website discussing physical modifications. This was still 2004.

Throughout 2005, I embodied Gary at home or on outings in the village with my bi friends. People would ask me if I wanted to be a man and I would apologetically reassure them that no, I was going to stay gender blended in a female  body. It was reassuring to be between the binary. It felt like I wasn’t betraying myself (my anti-essentialist politics, for example). And yet . . .something was nagging me. I kept repressing it. It kept coming back.

In 2006, I hit the stage as Gary for the first time. I still had my long hair and I embodied one of my idols, Bruce Dickinson, by lipsyncing to the Iron Maiden tune, Number of the Beast. It was an amazing experience and I was hooked. I networked with other beginner kings and we formed a troupe called King Size (now renamed as the Dukes of Drag). For quite a while, I thought that portraying extreme, or stereotyped masculinity on stage was enough to feed my need to embody masculinity. For a while, it was enough.

Gary Dickinson

What amazed me about the whole thing is how natural it came to me to embody masculinity. I eventually realised that it was because a lot of the physical cues that are defined as masculine (but which I don’t believe are essentially and inherently male – I’m anti-essentialist, in fact) came naturally to me. I had spent my life suppressing them out of a desire to please, to be accepted and read as a “real” woman. More and more, I realised how feigned and affected my mannerisms were  in the rest of my life and how natural I felt when I was Gary. And, over the course of 2006 and 2007, I increasingly allowed myself to express the natural “masculine” me in my daily life: during social outings, at work . . .everywhere.

The skirts and tight tops that I thought I should wear to convince people of my womanhood started to gather dust. I would wear them occasionally in the name of maintaining my claim to “gender blendedness” but it felt less and less right. By the spring of 2007, I was packing 24/7 and wearing men’s clothing 95% of the time. By the fall of 2007, it was 100% of the time, except for binding. I remember a day in October of 2007 when I thought I would give “being a woman” one last shot. I wore a long denim skirt with a tight grey top that showed off my D cups very well.  I walked my son to school like that, stopped back at home to pick up my stuff for work, left home and walked half a block. I couldn’t do it. I felt  like I was betraying myself yet again after all that work at being me. After all the unlearning of what I had learned as a “wanna-be” girl. I ran home, put on some men’s slacks, black men’s shoes, a button-down shirt and whistled (metaphorically, because I don’t really have that skill) all the way to work. A month later, I made my decision to physically transition and began to identify as FTM.

And I lived happily ever after.

Waitaminnit! I’m not done! There’s the transvestite part!

Yes!

A few months after self-IDing as FTM and beginning psychotherapy to get my letter for testosterone, I began to get the urge to wear women’s lingerie on occasion. For a brief second, I went “uh-oh!”. But I quickly realised that it has nothing to do with wanting to be a woman. I now occasionally enjoy transvestitism, as in, being a guy wearing women’s lingerie, because of the subversiveness of it. It turns me on, especially if I’m sporting facial hair and a bulge. I think it’s sexy and so do others who see me, apparently. And it doesn’t, in the least bit, threaten my sense of masculinity. I actually feel VERY masculine dressed that way. Think of the men in Rocky Horror Picture Show when they are wearing corsets.

Jacky in drag

As it stands, I identify socially as male because it comes closer than female in expressing how I feel inside. However, inside, I’m genderqueer. I’m between the two, and beyond. I’m a whole other sex and gender. I’m trans. I’m a trans male who expresses masculinity through dress, demeanour and identity in his daily life, who expresses gender neutrality in his personality and attitudes and who expresses femininity when the mood strikes him through clothing in sexual contexts.  All that and I’m a mother and a feminist to boot!

So there, identity police. Just try to pin me down. I’ll laugh at you all the way.

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22 responses

13 11 2008
Edward

You go girl/boy/trans/FTM/generqueer! My bio-male spouses says your his new best friend! I am so glad to hear you being so happy/content/and o.k. with who you are, where you are, and all of the above!

For me the flip side of being a butch mama is being a limp wristed queer, at least thats how the rest of the world views me, even if I feel like a pretty tough guy. I’m happier now than ever and all I can say is I’m glad I’ve found me, my place, my home, my being and that I am not the only one on this gender journey. It’s stories like yours that make my heart feel light and light up with good warm fuzzie feeling and joy.

Thank you for sharing!

14 11 2008
genderoutlaw

What can I say? You’re f*cking awesome!

14 11 2008
Jacky V.

*blush* Thanks for the comments guys. I *do* feel great. Edward, glad to hear you’re doing great too!

14 11 2008
Griffin

Hey, it was Harry Benjamin that said you can be both transsexual and a crossdresser! I also have some lingerie that I’ve bought fairly recently (been transitioning almost 6 years now). I think it’s hot, I like exploring other elements even though I do consider myself 100% man all the time.

Before transition and early into transition, I tried to put myself into a box that said “This is what a real man is!” but really that’s bullshit. The guys I know run the gamut from being femmey to being super-butch. Most are just average dudes, but none of them fit a ‘profile’ of average-straight-man. Once I realized I didn’t have to pretend to be someone totally different, I was able to relax and be myself (who as it turns out is a pretty damn cool guy). 😀

14 11 2008
Griffin

Oh also, I will say that I am waiting until after chest surgery to get a nice, new corset. I think it will look great 😀

14 11 2008
Jacky V.

Hey Griffin;

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective. It’s great to hear from a fellow trans-cross dresser : ) The corset I wear now I’ve had since my “female life” but I totally hope to get a new one after top surgery. I don’t understand why more men don’t wear corsets. A nice male chest looks so good that way . . . .mmmmm . . ..Tim Curry . . .

15 11 2008
missnomered

That’s awesome!

Being yourself is always cool. And fuck binary gender norms!

15 11 2008
Jacky V.

Thanks Missnomered, I agree!

15 11 2008
Jillian Page

Way to go, Jacky! Did I miss something, though: when and why did you decide to change your name from Gary to Jacky.

I love your pictures. I guess a date is out of the question, huh? Smiles (and winks).

Love you
Jillian

15 11 2008
Jacky V.

Jillian: Gary was always a stage name, a persona. It was never intended as a full-time name. As described above, Gary was a way to explore “extreme” (i.e. stereotypical) masculinity and that’s not what I (Jacky) am all about.

What do you mean out of the question? How could any reasonable hetero or bi male pass up on a date with a gorgeous lady?

; )

Jacky

15 11 2008
genderkid

I love the Pride photo!

It’s also reassuring to know that, even when I transition, I can wear girl clothes and stuff, if I want to. I’ve been told that I can’t have *everything*; that I can’t shift between genders at will. That attitude doesn’t make decisions any easier.

So, hooray to all trans people who continue defying gender norms!

16 11 2008
Jacky V.

Genderkid, there is a lot of that attitude here too, even within the trans community. I respect people who choose to adhere to the binary. If they’re comfortable there, good for them. But I resent it when they label me as “fucked up” when I choose to go against the binary. In one discussion/support group, when I explained that I was trans AND genderqueer, one woman said: “You’re even more fucked up than WE are.” So suddenly I was put in opposition to “we” trans folk and marginalised into a whole other group. *sigh*

But at least there are people who get me . . . and most of the time, the ones who get me are not trans or ID as trans but without physical transition. I have met a few other people who physically modify their bodies through hormones and/or surgery and who mess around with gender but it seems we are few and far between. But it’s OK . .. I’m comfortable with that.

17 11 2008
Jim

“This above all,
to thine own self be true”

Often the hardest of advice to follow but your example will make it easier for evreryone who follows. And is inspirational even for those of us not on the same path.

Keep writing the rules as you go Jacky ; it makes the game one you’ll enjoy playing – winks and doffs my cap, in some awe.

17 11 2008
Cristopher

rock on brothergirl. Do whatever floats your boat. I for one have never liked womens clothing. It is like being burned at the stake, but having had said that I love drag queens, kings and everything in between. Who is to say that you were not a tranvestite man trapped in a female body. oh…
I love lingerie on my wife 🙂 does that count??

c.

18 11 2008
Jacky V.

Jim: Yes, the game is much more fun by my own rules. Thanks!

Cristopher: Indeed, I think I *was* a MTF TV trapped in a woman’s body. I got rid of most of my women’s clothes . . .the very straightlaced office wear type of stuff. I only kept the slutty stuff. When I was trying to be female, I would always feel awkward wearing sexy clothes because I felt like a guy trying to be a girl, which I was. Now that it’s explicit that I’m a guy, it doesn’t bother me so much. Especially when it’s kind of a kinky context.

21 11 2008
Jacky on Kinging and Gendering « My life as a drag king

[…] He mentioned it in the comments to my last post, but I wanted to draw attention to his story about where drag kinging fit into his transition from woman to transman to transman/transvestite. I […]

3 12 2008
Sex is FREE! » Blog Archive » My Big Transgendered Posting!

[…] by my friend Jacky. He is a mom like me and over the past three years that we have known each other has been fucking with gender in the coolest imaginable ways. For the past year he has officially transitioned to male and has been on hormonal treatment for […]

6 12 2008
Kate

Hey Jacky,

Just reading this post reminded me so much of myself…but on the opposite end of the spectrum. Now that I’ve transitioned (MTF) I feel so much more comfortable expressing my masculinity and am very soon going to try doing a drag king performance if I can get my nerves up. Yes I agree that the identity police have a hell of a time with folks like us…but you know what? i say fuck em and let the trannygods sort em out 😛
See you next week hopefully!

xoxo
K

6 12 2008
Jacky V.

Hey K : ) Thanks for reading and responding. Glad to hear there is another local genderfuck trans person. I would LOVE to see you do a drag king number. Let me know if you need help. Hey, perhaps there is a gender fuck duet in the making as well ; )

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