There are times when I feel like I’m in a witness protection programme or I’m a secret spy for another entity. This because to other people I appear in a way that denotes a specific background, but my background is too different from the stereotype they expect. This because I’ve evolved my identity on top of a background that doesn’t match anymore.
Down to the point, I’ve never had my period and never will, I didn’t grow up being chased by boys or ever had a boyfriend, didn’t get my hair brushed 100 times, never had a dress of my own until I was a middle age person, etc. I don’t have the average experiences that most women have. My secret spy cover comes under threat when other women bring up any of their average experiences they have but I don’t share. In most cases I try to be emphatic and hope that they don’t ask me about my experiences. To this day I haven’t been in a situation where I’d feel more comfortable explaining that I don’t menstruate.
I don’t want to blow my spy cover. I don’t want to find out if I’d face rejection if they were to learn that I don’t have the same background, experiences and why. It’s a feeling of being vulnerable.
Losing My Transness
When I went full time I always assumed I was being read and I was ok with that. With the way I was presenting back then I felt confident that people would automatically assume my background correctly. It was a sense of being transparent.
It’s not that I’m not transparent now, but now the disconnect between what people assume to be my background and my actual background does sometimes make me feel… probably the best way I can put it is by saying “it’s slightly out of phase.” It’s like being in tune but not quite.
Just before I travelled to Marbella for FFS in late 2016 I had a discussion with a friend where I told her I was afraid of loosing my transness. When I said that she replied that I would never lose my transness. The fact is that I lost it and at the same time I didn’t nor will I ever lose it. Let me explain how we both were correct.
My idea of loosing my transness meant loosing the physical elements that would tell someone just by looking at me that I’m trans. In other words loosing what made me visibly trans. On the other hand, what my friend meant was that I would never lose what and who I am regardless of what people perceived. And after all, these 2 things became true. If I don’t tell people about my background they don’t assume I’m trans, and as I try to explain here, I will always feel and be trans.
An Odd Sense of Empowerment
Before I lost my transness I always felt in control because I knew my background and by being visibly trans often people were confused on how to treat me. But the fact that I knew exactly why and how they were confused that always gave me a big sense of empowerment.
Now that people assume I’m cis and I get that feeling of being an undercover secret spy, I get a very different sense of empowerment. Now the empowerment does not come from being in control. As I said above, for example, when the conversation somehow goes into having a period I do not feel in control; when a guy tries to flirt with me I often don’t know how to deal with it. Though the empowerment comes from knowing my background and also knowing that people around me don’t have a clue of how complex that background is. It’s as if being the keeper of this privileged and private knowledge affords me a perspective that people will never know I have. This means that sometimes I do get to see a situation from both a girl’s and a boy’s perspective at the same time. I often find myself saying in my head to other people “oh, only if you knew…”
This is one of those yin-yang contradictions my brain has do deal with from time to time. On one side I feel the empowerment of keeping the knowledge of my background to myself and all it implies. But on the other hand I sometimes feel I’m not in control and that I’d be vulnerable should my background be exposed. Yes, I feel empowered by my background and the two sided knowledge it brings to me, and yes, having a huge gap in experiences with other women makes me feel vulnerable.