It’s just that . . .

27 08 2009

It’s just that I don’t see myself as, or feel like a man independently of my female past. I had to be female to be male. And my present maleness accentuates, rather than hides, the female  . . .at least according to my inner eye.

Anytime I ever tried to cut one part off, the other part would suffer. Not that I have a discernible male part and a female part that complement each other. Rather, fe/male is intertwined within me. There is no way to cut male or female out and leave the rest because there would be no rest.

Living as male, as in physically presenting as a guy, makes me feel good. My body likes it and my brain likes it. I feel more balanced. But there is woman interfused within all that is male about me.

I look at my hands and they are fe/male hands.

I look at my face in the mirror – delicate laughing eyes with a dark history, soft skin, beard – and it is fe/male.

I look at my chest with the breasts and the hair and it is fe/male.

I look at my cunt and it is fe/male.

My drive comes from the female. My balance comes from the male. My power comes from the blend.

I choose to live as male for now and I like it because I sometimes go on stage as female, or fe/male.

But, who knows, maybe someday I will just go out into the world as fe/male . . . a fe/male who’s lived both lives.

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22 responses

28 08 2009
Shirley Anne

Yes Jacky, I think you would be best described as Androgenous if a description is necessary. In an ideal world maybe we should all just be called ‘they’ or ‘it’.

Shirley Anne x

28 08 2009
genderkid

“I had to be female to be male.”
Whooo, yeah! I loved reading this post.

28 08 2009
Eliot Newton

I think it’s good to recognize that part of your identity, and if you identify as fe/male, then more power to you. Don’t let folks tell you that you have to get that M or that you can’t exist in the world as androgynous or genderqueer.

30 08 2009
Jacky V.

Shirley Anne: I was just talking about this with my girlfriend today and she helped me articulate something I was trying to say about the term “angrogyny”. In principle, I don’t have a problem with the word. Technically, it simply means having both male and female traits, which matches with some of what I wrote in the post. However, out in the world, I find that the term is often used in reference to female bodied people that actually look more “masculine”: little or no breasts, short hair, angular faces, etc. It’s as though women who have an absense of female markers get the label androgynous. To me, that underscores this idea that the basic, generic, “by default” human is masculine rather than neatral. Once in a while, I’ve seen or heard the term applied to male bodied people with soft features and long hair but not so often. Of course, these are purely anecdotal observations and not based on any systematic research on how the term is used.

How my GF put it is that the term often appears to be used to describe people who have an absense of visible gendered traits. And that is certainly not me. What I feel is more like a blend of both. And this is not so much in the “some boy parts and some girl parts” kind of way that the word “blend” might imply but in a “each and every one of my cells is a combination” kind of way. The blend permeates me to my core, or rather, emanates from my core and infuses my entire spirit and body with that blended energy, which is part of why I don’t act (at least I don’t think I do) like a stereotypical male.

So, technically, androgyny might apply . . .but again, because of how it tends to be used to refer to people with, as my GF put it, effaced gendered traits (which is, of course, super OK!), I tend to not use it in reference to myself. This is why I like Fe/male, or even HeShe (even though it was probably used in a derogatory fashion at some point), or gender blended. Nothing is effaced. Rather, everything is underscored. Seeming opposites highlight each other. Heck, no one that has met me in person at this point would label me androgynous, I don’t think. I look (and smell!!) very male.

Again, none of this changes my status as FTM. My sense of identity is a spiritual one and has more to do with how I perceive my connection to the universe and beings in it and with my energy than with my *social* identity as a guy. It might not make sense to anyone else on the planet but it’s what I feel and I’m happy with it.

Gender Kid: Glad you liked it!

30 08 2009
genderkid

I’ve noticed that the word “androgynous” is used, in my surroundings, to describe masculine female-bodied people and feminine male-bodied people. I don’t really like that use because it mixes up bodies and gender; it implies that female bodies, for instance, are feminine, so when you combine those bodies with masculinity you get a masculine/feminine mix. I feel that this use undermines people’s gender identity, since it takes their body into account without permission.

I know I can’t control other people’s language, but I prefer when this term is used to mean an absence or mix of gendered traits, or when it’s used as a self-definition — some people do aim for androgyny. I know I look pretty androgynous right now, and I’m enjoying it for the moment.

30 08 2009
Jacky V.

Eliot: Welcome to my blog and thanks for posting! Nope, I certainly don’t let others dictate how I exist or identify. If I did, I’d still be suffering in my quest to be a “real” woman like I was taught. For a while, I thought I wanted the M, just because I wanted to be somewhat “normal” in the sense that I wouldn’t have to explain myself everytime I had to present ID somewhere, for example. And I felt that, since there is no “official” other option than M or F, I should pick M because it comes closer than F to how I feel. But now I’m like, fuck that.

In any case, I look undeniably male now and with my ID that still has Nancy on it, I am rarely given a hard time. People still call me Sir anyway! I think they just assume I had crazy parents who called me Nancy (haha . . .like the Johnny Cash song . . .A Boy named Sue). So I doubt that I will have too many problems with an F once my docs come in with the new name. And in a sense the situation will reflect who I am: a very male looking person with an androygynous name (I know, I spent a whole response explaining why I don’t apply the word to myself but I don’t have a problem applying the term to the name Jacky) and an F on his cards. So, a bit of everything : )

Anyway, thanks for dropping by! Come again!

30 08 2009
Shirley Anne

There are two levels at work here. One is the physical, the other the psychological. Whilst the term Androgenous describes both, it is usually taken in describing the physical anomaly which I guess is what people perceive. It is difficult to portray the psychological in a separate sphere, people will always regard what they see as being the whole story when we know it isn’t as clear cut as that. Who can tell if a person is gay just by looks alone? Who can tell if a person is transgendered by sight alone? The person inside can only express themselves toward others in the physical realm. To reveal their true identity they must communicate in other ways. Speech being the obvious. I know people who are androgenous, both male and female appearing but it is only when they speak do they reveal something different. Never judge a book by it’s cover for inside there can be one of a million different stories.

Shirley Anne x

31 08 2009
Y. Youkali

Thank you for that post, Jacky, and that insight. My experience, just as any other one that is not yours, is different, of course, but I feel I understand what you mean 🙂

1 09 2009
Jacky V.

GenderKid: That is an excellent point about the imposition of genders on bodies. I hadn’t thought of that! It also works the other way: there is a strong imposition of “femininity” or “masculinity” on certain personality traits and behaviours so that their presence is taken as a sign of femininity or masculinity. This is equally problematic.

Shirley Anne: Exactly. Through communication, we can expand on prior knowledge, perceptions and so forth. That’s why I try to avoid assuming anything about anyone, although some assumptions are so unconscious that we can’t completely eliminate them. I must say, I rather enjoy being surprised though, like seeing a very “feminine” appearing person with power tools : )

1 09 2009
Jacky V.

Youkali: Thank You for reading and commenting. I’d like to hear about your own perception of gender, even if it’s different and, therefore, wrong. (HAHAHAHAHA ……JOKE!!!)

2 09 2009
joaquinjack

I kinda like that you’re comfortable enough with your female past to keep it hanging around. It must not have been all that traumatic for you; that’s refreshing to see.

I almost think I’d feel the same way about it as you do if I hadn’t had the female gender shoved down my throat in the worst ways possible. There’s kind of an analogy here, I think (going on my theory that living in the female gender wasn’t traumatic for you, where I could be totally wrong):

The female gender is like a bonfire in both our lives. You got to sit near it, stay warmed by it, roast marshmallows and so forth; I was shoved into it repeatedly and held there by people who thought it’d be best for me to be burned alive. Therefore I now have a phobia of fire.

Maybe some day I’ll become more comfortable with fire, when I’m not afraid that when I get too close to it, someone will shove me back in.

2 09 2009
Jacky V.

Well, I definitely wouldn’t say that it was traumatic. I’ve written in the past about how I’m proud of my female past, etc.

But I wouldn’t say I’m completely comfortable with my female past because in the past, it was difficult to deal with being female, in the understanding that I had of femaleness and femininity at the time. I was also held into the fire, under water, or whatever other analogy and it was quite painful. The imposition of “feminine” norms was extremely hard for me to bear and to deal with on a day to day basis.

However, now that I’m living as male full-time, I can safely appropriate the things about femaleness that I felt were true to me. It doesn’t scare me anymore, although there is occasional discomfort. For example, I have no problem performing in female drag. I do it all the time. I even strip down to panites and bare breasts. But one time, “Charlotte” had a date with my girlfriend, for shits and giggles, but at the last minute, I couldn’t go through with being Charlotte for the purposes of an outing. I put on her clothes and I felt icky all over again. It’s all contextual.

Certainly, the sting and pressure of having to watch my posture, movements, speech etc 24/7 are still fresh in my memory and I can remember, physically, how it felt to feel so icky in my own skin.

All that being said, that was largely due to the bogus norms imposed on me. When I started reading about blends, I have to say it struck a stronger cord than simply being male. And I started IDing as gender blended, then genderqueer before having thoughts of transition. But at some point, I realised I wanted to be THAT in a male-looking body with a male social identity and function. It doesn’t change who I am inside and the blend of female and male spirit that is my own.

3 09 2009
joaquinjack

Well, don’t get me wrong, I can definitely understand how it can hurt to be in that area where you feel you have to self-impose the wrong gender identity and all that just to try to fit in, but we’re talking about an entirely different creature when I say “shoved into the fire.”

When I say that, I mean to say childhood sexual abuse. I mean to say my mother was incredibly twisted and sick. I mean to say she… did things to me, as just a wee thing, did things to try and make me enjoy my own vagina in response to me identifying as a boy. There are other such examples of wild outlash to my gender identity in my childhood, such as keeping me homeschooled for 15 years (doubtlessly because she thought I’d start getting thoughts of independence and self-identity if I wasn’t under her brainwashing watch every second), forcing me to wear skirts every single day until I was 18 years old, and so on.

I’m sorry if this description was too graphic, but I wanted to clarify that I wasn’t marginalizing your trans difficulties.

6 09 2009
Jacky V.

Hey Jack;

Thanks for clarifying. I’m sorry you had to go through that. That’s really horrible. What a twisted person your mother is (or was).

I wasn’t abused by my parents, well, not physically. I did suffer much emotional and pschological abuse at the hands of my mother though, but it had little to do with gender. She did brainwash me gender-wise, though, and made many many remarks on how unfeminine I was and went to great lengths to show me how to sit, walk, dress, etc. Not nearly as horrific as what you went through with your mom though.

My being pushed into the fire was older, in my early 20s, when I was in an abusive relationship with a man who did everything to destroy my self esteem because I didn’t look like a porn star. *sigh*

Don’t worry about being graphic here. It’s all OK.

7 09 2009
Shirley Anne

Many parents endeavour to influence their children in the ways they should act and behave. I remember when my mom was always wondering why I didn’t have a girlfriend and was always telling me that I was wasting my life not socialising like my peers, even my brothers and sisters. I was the studious type of child and liked being with my face in a book, especially ones about astronomy. I was pretty much an effeminate child anyway and wasn’t interested in dating girls. I secretly wanted to be one! I remember my dad saying to my mom, ‘leave him alone, he’ll change when he is ready’. He got that one right. I guess it was my mom who was the one pressurising me rather than my dad.

Shirley Anne x

7 09 2009
Jacky V.

Yeah, most parents do try but some go to inhumane lengths. *sigh*

8 09 2009
BT

Hey Jacky! I made my own LJ under the name nubilejackanape. Thought I’d give you a head’s up if you wanted to know; none of it’s locked yet.

Let the porn party begin! 😀

–Mac

18 09 2009
Gender Outlaw

Wonderful post! I totally get what you’re saying. For me, “transgender” comes down to “transcending gender.” We grow up being told that nothing is black and white, but somehow that’s all forgotten when it comes to gender.

22 09 2009
Jacky V.

Hey Mac, good to know! I’ll try to get over there ASAP!

GenderOutlaw: You’re right. People who carry on about how they don’t like to limit themselves are often very righteous when it comes to this one aspect. It’s all good . . . until you start messing with the very foundations of life, the universe and everything! 😉

23 09 2009
Shirley Anne

I was just wondering (I do that a lot!) Jacky, why do you, or anyone, have to ‘act’ in a certain way to justify your gender to others? I mean, if you don’t specifically identify with maleness or femaleness why bother trying to emulate those genders? Society revels in the fact that we must act in a certain way because we are male or female. Does this mean that if you identify in any other way there are no rules governing your actions, the way you act. If everyone acted as they pleased why should they then be labelled one thing or another? Wouldn’t it be great if no mannerisms were associated with any one gender? I hope all that makes sense….LOL

Shirley Anne x

25 09 2009
Jacky V.

Shirley Anne, I think we’ve had this discussion before. I’ve always felt that personality traits, behaviours, modes of dress etc don’t need to be associated with a particular gender. Each individual has their own constellation of traits. I think the only thing guiding our behaviour should be respect for others.

25 09 2009
Shirley Anne

Thanks for reminding me Jacky. I forget things so easily these days………it’s my age you know!……… lol. Ok you can stop laughing now! I agree we should just respect others and not judge them. Love

Shirley Anne x

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