Am I Binary after a...
 
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Am I Binary after all these Years?

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Posts: 30
(@marianne)
Eminent Member     Israel, Central District
Joined: 6 years ago
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During the holidays, a friend asked me how my marriage was going. I gave the regular answer (I mean normal, not in a dismissive tone. I love my wife, and we are very happy, but I don't want to bore anyone with it) and continued talking about the weather and clothes. She admired my ensemble and was very curious about how it was that I always managed to do stuff in high heels. At the same time, she is a total blob, like Bambi, every time she wears a pair of 3" (I usually wear anything between 4" and 5" for everyday stuff, except walking, which is a no-go and my trusty flats are in charge of that task when I am commuting on the train or subway), this seems a recurrent topic when a cis-woman finds out that I am a transwoman, other topics go to makeup (they are always surprised that I am good at it) or clothes (how I manage to get my size or where they can get my size.)

It's that low-key surprise that a "not" girl can do "girl stuff" better than "they would do." *Here is where yours truly takes a deep breath and says: "Yeah, it's just practice. makeup, walking in heels, putting together a look, hundreds of mag flipping, YouTube/TT/Insta beauty tutorials and the will -and enough dysphoria LOL- to put on the hours)*

Disclaimer: End of the rant. Back to the topic.

Then the conversation turned a little more into more curious topics, and she asked me if I had ever been interested in marrying a guy, or at least someone who identified as such. And THAT sent me down a rabbit hole of why am I like this? As a transwoman, we are very good at doing it. I mean, how many of you have not spent an entire afternoon at work, commuting, or in the middle of a meeting lost in those thoughts only to find out that the thing has ended, and we have no idea what anything was about.

Of course, that inner turmoil also triggered my second fear: Is my wife happy? Is she OK with me? Has she ever had second thoughts about us? Is there anything I should change? Yes, I must take more care of... The fear was put to rest when my wife answered in her incredible practical way: "Yes, I love you, and we are together. The only time I don't feel comfortable is when I see our bathroom cupboard and a new box of eyeshadow alongside the other four that are still quite new," and laughed about it.

This conversation gave me insight into why I was with her, why I have always gravitated towards female friends more than males, and later with self-identified women. And that is the ease with which I find myself in a peaceful, pleasant conversation with zero drama. Hollywood and soap operas usually portray women as drama-prone. But believe me; however, I have always found talking to males and male-oriented folks an easy type of conversation. Only with female-identifying people have I always felt fulfilled, like the interaction and the emotions always get in sync. There is an inner form of communication underneath all the blah, blah, blah that happens outside.

And there, my dearest readers, is where all this train of thought began. Do I identify myself in a fluid way or more in a binary way?

Non-binary, queer, and gender-fluid have a different conversation to which I don't think I am informed or identified enough to talk about knowledgeably, despite being friends with many people that identify as such, and that is because my own journey has landed me on a kind of binary situation.

When I started my transition process, I had zero idea where I was going to land, so I embraced my fluidity and the fact that I was not part of the binary world; I know, in reality, I am and will never be binary, but hear me out, please. After struggling with becoming a woman, I put all my effort into going all the way to the other side, and I ended in a โ€œmost of the timeโ€ convincing and โ€œfew times questioningโ€ female-presenting form.

I know that female passing is a privilege and that living in an accepting society plays a significant role in that. If the country or city that you are living in is relaxed with queer folk, you get more chances of practising, training, and accessing resources that cater to women, and that is an advantage. Stana, from the world-renowned "Femulate" website, frequently mentions that the state where she lives (on top of her fabulous wife) is so friendly she has been able to go shop "en femme" and the people are OK.

Disclaimer:ย If you haven't poured a nice cuppa or some wine, I don't know what we are doing here because this is a girl talking, and I am spending a nice moment with my friends.

So, back to the topic. The fact that I identify as a woman (transwoman) and that I have a visible lesbian relationship puts me in a very well-known box according to societal standards, and I would not like it otherwise. The changes I have gone through have pushed me so much that after starting as a fluid person, I ended up in an established box where people can see and understand me in a way that makes our lives easier.

Let's tie the loose ends: Have I ever wanted to date a male/male-identifying person? No. As I was going through the process of understanding who I was, I could identify my attraction to women; I mean, I like women so much that I became one, right?

Did I date guys? As someone on the search journey, I would say the answer is yes. But that was not entirely OK. It was kind of awkward for me, hence the previous "I would." I needed to understand if I was in a different place regarding preferences, and then I found that, no, guys were not my thing. So my journey became two thousand percent more difficult (Also, it is very awkward when the blue prince asks what shoe size you are and if he can try your heels.)

It is not easy to explain the difference between Identity and Expression to a binary world, so I usually use my Gender Unicorn to put it in a way that is easier for somebody else to understand themselves or other people: I Identify as Female. My Expression is Feminine. I was Assigned Male at birth. I am Physically Attracted to Women and also Emotionally Attracted to Women.

So, in a nutshell, Would I say I fall into the binary definition? As you can see, probably yes, but nobody in our little corner of the Gender spectrum can be 100%.

*This is when we keep the convo going and pour another glass of... well you choose*

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2 Replies
(@coleenedin)
Joined: 5 months ago

New Member     United Kingdom, East Lothian, Edinburgh
Posts: 2

@marianne I find that there is one thing for me. I do not want a relationship with a man I only want a relationship with a woman. Yes having fun with a man which leads to sexual deeds happens.ย 
I do not know where I am on the scale. ย ut when I was younger in the 70โ€™s it was against the law in the U.K. to be anything other than your birth gender. Men would be beat up for dressing or being involved with other men. When bi become a common term used it was eye opening for the likes of me. I get so confused with all the different terms that are banded about now. When dressed as male Iโ€™m a he when dressed enfemme I like to be treated as a she. I believe at my age Iโ€™m bi with a woman relationship, with a man sexy fun. I love my being dressed with male and female.ย 
im Confused. Com help

Coleen

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(@marianne)
Joined: 6 years ago

Eminent Member     Israel, Central District
Posts: 30

Thank you, Coleen! What you describe is precisely what the Unicorn is trying to address: the fluidity and how that fluidity reflects on your behaviour. That is the description that you are looking for. Being fluid is also a thing, and it is to many people sometimes the scales finally tip one way or the other (Eddie Izzard, F1nnster -in Twitter), or they remain back and forth (Bowie or Asia Kate Dillon) Embrace the best of you at all times and find peace and love in that place. Love, Maya

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Posts: 123
(@alexl)
Estimable Member     United Kingdom, Wiltshire, Marlborough, Wiltshire
Joined: 3 years ago

Fascinating insight Marianne. Much thought you have put in...and also I have to say, how balanced and comfortable you seem with your inner self and life. That in itself is a comfort to you I'm sure. It's also nice to read, like a story that you know will have a happy ending.

It is an interesting question though, and where we sit on the scale of M___F is a transitional one. Or is it that it depends where you are looking at it from? Down the rabbit hole with Alice eat me/drink me. Size makes things look closer/further. I might have to think that metaphor through but I guess non-binary and non-linear come into this too haha.
I know what you are saying and I empathise with it. Lately I have had to remind myself I wasn't always female, that there was a me before transition...but for the life of me that is too hard to fully remember. So have I moved along the scale M__F or F__M I can't remember where I was...so I can't really tell how far I have moved...if at all?ย 

Labels are awkward, I used to identify as 'queer' then 'trans'...now? I'm still trying on the labels to see which fits me now. It is for my own amusement I guess, as I identify as demisexual. That was hard to explain before but it hasn't changed? Or has it? Is demisexual non binary? Does that make me, gay, lesbian or hetero...or none of the above lol. I see another rabbit hole approaching haha. Thanks Marianne, I enjoyed this.

Alex x

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(@marianne)
Joined: 6 years ago

Eminent Member     Israel, Central District
Posts: 30

I love your answer because it fully reflects what is in the article/rant/tea convo. I think that labels were made for people to have a common understanding of "what they are looking at", but if failure of convention means anything, remember that before the explosion of Grunge, all music was labelled Alternative.

For us, it doesn't need to mean anything other than how comfortable you feel at the place where you are. Maybe the balance that I kind of project comes from the years of failure to fit in one place, and I ended up just being "me". The fact that those labels are a social construct only made me more and more uncomfortable since nobody but I knew who I was. Trying to explain yourself at a family/friend reunion is so hard that I stopped minding anything they had to say (obvs except when those comments were offensive, then to me, is a very hard line)

Love,

Maya

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Posts: 98
(@middleground)
Estimable Member     United States of America, Ohio, Ashland
Joined: 3 years ago

Marianne,
I had a bit of a hard time following your most recent article, but I identified with something you said. Background first; I am a bit more than two years on hormonal therapy and had my full-depth vaginoplasty almost one year ago now. Ever since beginning my journey, I've wondered if my sexuality would be different than it was as a guy. The fact I had a full-depth vaginoplasty may point that I was drawn to men, but I'm not certain as yet. I'm now sixty-nine(kind of funny in itself)and had it done for two reasons. The first is I wanted to feel as close as I could to being a woman and a vagina to me was important for this. The second was when I had intercourse as a guy in my later years, the only way I could achieve orgasm was to have my nipples stimulated and then think of myself with a vagina being penetrated. It is quite ironic now that I seem to still be drawn more to women, although I would sometime like to experience penetration (with the real thing and not some toy). As an ob/gyn, I've seen women hurt by men, many times by STD's (sexually transmitted diseases). I must say, besides having taken a marriage vow to my wife which I still honor although she refuses to have lesbian sex, I have no desire to experience vaginal intercourse with any guy who does not love me totally and would never put me in harm's way. So, you said, and I'll paraphrase, you love women so much you wanted to be one, and you did change yourself to be one. I believe I have done the same thing. The feminine form is so beautiful. My conversations are so much more wonderful; I'll even say luscious now as I spend my life engaging so much more fully in the female sphere!
Thanks for posting your article.❤❤

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(@marianne)
Joined: 6 years ago

Eminent Member     Israel, Central District
Posts: 30

@middleground Thank you for your words.

Yeah, I did this article, not in a classic way where you have a whole structure since it was more like talking to a friend during tea/drinks.

The way it came out was how my poor brain tried to process information and find solutions and answers as it kept moving forward (or sideways), and the final product represented the turmoil of the process itself.

We, as human beings, are very complex. Some would like to think that men are easy, but they are not, and women are complicated, but we are not more than men; the most significant difference that I have found, both empirically and by research, is in the way and the freedom with which we express that complication.

Coming to terms with one's alignment is messy, and that is where the goldmine is because no human being can be one single thing; we can only be more or less aligned. Recognising that in other people is the key to becoming at peace with each other.

Love,

ย 

Maya

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Posts: 15
(@kaiya)
Eminent Member     United States of America, Utah, Midvale
Joined: 3 years ago

When I finally figured out I was trans, I remember I used to use the term androgenous to describe myself were I was on the gender spectrum.ย  I had longed to be seen and be taken seriously as a woman, but I wasn't hesitant to declare I was a woman.ย  I mean no one in my life at the time saw it in me.

Overtime I came out to more people and slowly transitioned socially.ย  At first I had a lot of imposter syndrome being out in women's spaces.ย  Always worried I'd be "discovered" and rejected, but I was embraced instead; and I soon came to be comfortable in my identity.ย  The fears of being labeled transgender and being labeled a woman slowly melted away.

These days I firmly feel planted as just female.ย  I don't wobble like I did in those early day.ย  Sometimes my wife and I joke that she is the "wusband" since she enjoys doing the provider/stereotypical male activities in the relationship.

One of the funny things about that though, is that as I found that as I feel like I am solidly in the binary camp, my sexuality has shifted.ย  I used to not find dating interesting at all.ย  My friends in high school were always trying to get me to date, and I never saw the point.ย  It wasn't until I started questioning my own gender that that world opened up for me.ย  At first just for dating women, but then after crushing on a guy friend of mine to the point I was thinking about touching his lips instead of sleeping, I realized I'm more bi or pansexual.

The unicorn is an interesting way of talking about it and has been useful for me to see where I am still figuring stuff out and where I feel I am headed in the right direction.

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(@marianne)
Joined: 6 years ago

Eminent Member     Israel, Central District
Posts: 30

@kaiya Thank you for your response ๐Ÿ™‚

This is precisely what the article is about; since this is not a straight journey, we usually try to find our way on this winding road.

The fear of discovery is more acute in places where we are more exposed to harassment or physical violence, and it affects the way we behave. I am very grateful for the community and the places where I have been able to express myself. However, I also had to "hide," especially when I started my journey, because I was still living in a very conservative suburban community.

What I have seen, though, is that people take you as seriously as you carry yourself. I have seen sisters that, in my very personal view, are not that passable (I have a horribly strong self-aware demon that tells me every other second how much I don't look good). They get the most lovely attention and respect because they behave, dress and are that person. And I admire that with all my might.

I am going full Forrest here: "My momma used to say people treat you the way they see you."ย 

Finding our place in the world is a road we walk alone, but we can stop and share and find comfort, strength and understanding in others.

Love,

ย 

Maya

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Posts: 4
Member
(@undecided1975)
Active Member     United States of America, California, Los Angeles
Joined: 3 years ago

I find your post very interesting. I must begin with a disclaimer. I'm not trying to judge but simply point out what I see.
It hurt to read about the microagressions you encounter with your female identifying friends. To act surprised or make comments about a transwoman/man/person when they express themselves in a way that "only real women can". I hope you can see that these are not compliments but microagressions and if we don't call them out on them, they will continue to commit these. I'm only half way through a book that helped me see this (He/She/They by Schuyler Bailar). I have committed these microagressions myself back when I identified a gay man and I have many regrets about it. In my opinion the question (ing) about if you ever thought about marrying a guy seems to also be a bit of a microagression as it seems to ask (in my opinion) "why now that you're a woman you wouldn't think about marrying a "real' man) which projects their need to put people into THEIR boxes (how they want to see you, or what "fits better" in their mind). Maybe they're not aware of it but it is something to think about.

I'm 48 and just started taking estrogen and t-blockers 2 months ago. I just came out as non-binary and one of the many amazing things of coming out now and at this age is that I feel free to be whoever I want to be, whenever, back and forth between masculine and femenine (having a very hard time with the latter). BUT sadly being 48 also ties me down to my old ways of thinking (very binary and gender identity/expression having a book end).

I loved reading your story. It was very enlightening to read about your experience. Thank you for sharing it.

Like you, I wonder if my husband is (and will be) happy with me. Last night he reassured me that he loved me and that will talk to me when things change. And I'm sure he would say something like your wife about buying one more of something I already have 4 of. haha

With love and respect,
M (they/them)

ps. and passing as female is not a privilege but a right. no one owns these titles. We area all free to use them

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Posts: 30
(@marianne)
Eminent Member     Israel, Central District
Joined: 6 years ago

Thank you for your answer.

I agree with you that, in general behaviour, those may feel like microaggressions. But in the context of a group (the same thing happens when you find other people like you, i.e. another Brit, another Mexican, another Vegan or the like), they are an acceptance if made with enough chutzpah and understanding that it is welcome to someone that they didn't think about before. Of course, if those first statements are followed by less nuanced comments about how a "not-woman" can look and act better than them, then I usually ignore them and leave as soon as I can.

After so many years, I questioned myself whether I was responding to those comments as a form of "spreading the truth" or more, as those remarks reflected my insecurities. And I decided it was the latter. So now, I take a deep breath and carry on without acknowledging that first awkward moment, which usually results in a decent to good conversation or striking a nice moment with someone who was also expecting a bad reaction.

I am an ambassador of myself and the community I belong to, and I want people to see that: 1. I don't take destructive behaviours lightly and 2. There is always room for understanding and for them to see a little out of their boxes.ย 

That may be the little change that will let them later comment about that "nice pretty translady that was also super charming and omg her heels were amazing",... or at least that is what I like to play over my mind after those encounters.ย  Wink ย 

ย 

And Mazels for your new journey!!

ย 

Love,

ย 

Maya

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