So here’s another ongoing funny thing in my life as a guy: the surprised reactions I get to my feminist statements. Both men and women are surprised when I denounce patriarchy and androcentrism, or when I talk about my training in feminist anthropology.
Those of them that know that I’m trans probably think it’s a natural result of me having lived as a woman. While living as a woman allowed me to be much more aware, at a visceral level, of the subtle kinds of sexism and misogyny that exist in my society, it doesn’t explain the whole picture. Indeed, many women that I know are not only *not* feminists, but they are against many aspects of feminism. And I’m not here to convert any of them or get into drawn out debates on the merits of feminism. So living as a female does NOT automatically lead a person to being a feminist.
In my case, what attracted me to feminist questionning and thought before I had even heard of feminist theory was my own gender questionning. As far back as I can remember, I questioned the gender norms. They pissed me off and I felt a need to break out of the mold that my society imposed on me. When I started studying anthropology, the cultural variation with regards to gender helped confirm what I had always suspected: there is very little that is “natural” about the notions of masculinity and femininity that Western societies hold dear.
However, some people assume that transitionning to adopt a male identity and certain physical aspects of masculinity signifies that I believe in the legitimacy of those norms. These people don’t know me very well for, although I present a masculine appearance in my daily life through clothes and demeanour, I’m very well aware that I could legimately do this while maintaining a female social identity. Also, I take a great deal of pride in my female past and in the many elements of my person that remain and that are socially perceived as “feminine”.
No matter how “masculine” my appearance becomes, I will always see myself as a blend. Although Jacky is my public face, Nancy is always present as a guiding force. After all, SHE is the smart one, the one that struggled against a whole bunch of odds to get to where we are now, both professionally, socially and spiritually. Rather than abandoning her, my sexual transition signifies a gift to her. She now gets to play around in idea and spirit land without having to worry about all the physical and material crap that embodied persons have to worry about. That’s all she ever really wanted.
In the meantime, base myself on her thoughts and experiences to continue to denounce sexism and androcentrism (that is, views of the world that are based on male perspective only) wherever I see it, just as I denounce other forms of discrimination and oppression.