Do Role Models Matter?

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    • #110256

      As I get more serious about finding some conclusions about my gender, I am always fascinated by the holes in my own narrative and how much they vary from other trans women’s. Especially I have been trying to find where the stigma against femininity came in. I have a 3 1/2 year-old daughter and she is approaching the age where gender meant a lot to me in both friendships and identity. It’s odd as I was never drawn – sincerely or as an act, to anything aggressively “masculine,” but as soon as anything “feminine” was hanging around my neck we had a real problem.


      Growing up in an affluent New Jersey outer suburb, I was surrounded almost entirely by horrible people. Just about any kid, regardless of their sex was being raised into a real monster and it was hard to connect. I didn’t feel connected to most of the other boys, but I wasn’t wishing to be with the girls either. Things were even worse at home. I’m not sure exactly when I realised there was no love between me and my parents, but I know my mom didn’t made femininity look that great. Or rather, she did as my only exposure to it, and eventually gender stigma and the realisation that she was a monster made me move away from seeing it that way. On the other hand, despite being a deeply troubled person prone to terrifying outbursts, there is a real human in him. even today, if i had to be one of my parents, it would without a doubt be my father.


      so, with that in mind, did that send me into gender denial? i really would love to hear the thoughts on the trans women who have – especially at a younger age, made the choice to transition and how they would feel in a position like that. if you were presented a feminine world so undesirable, would you have been able to convince yourself you were a boy? would you need to fight your body, your assumed identity, and the people around you in order to be something that (even in the most successful, idealised scenario) left you completely on your own? in other words, if you could flip the switch, be universally accepted as a girl, yet live in the same environment where you were unable to connect with anyone on a deep, positive level would it even seem worth the trouble?


      well, maybe if they weren’t putting girls in such awful dresses in the early 90s that would have been enough! the clothes sure didn’t look like much fun until i was about 9!

    • #110259

      Of course they matter, we are shaped by everything we are exposed to both positive and negative. I grew up in a small industrial town close to Pittsburgh, good people that worked hard. But any society has people with underlying issues…alcoholism, abuse, poverty, addiction…and our house was no exception. My dad was gone a couple of nights a week for work, and when he was home he drank, slept, watched TV, and screwed my mom. When he was gone, my mom drank and screwed other men in their bedroom across the hall from the bedroom I shared with my younger sister until I was about 10 or 11. Like most children, the sound of my mother’s voice was reassuring, comforting…and listening to the sounds emanating from that room began a very early association with being fem and physical pleasure. I would dress in her intimates when she was not home, and some of the earliest moments of my own physical pleasure involved either dressing in her things or listening to her across the hall. Neither of my parents were shy about nudity, and I can still picture my mom standing in the bathroom in front of the mirror doing her makeup…naked. Same with my father…except the makeup part!…I remember seeing him naked in various states of arousal as well. Comparing her smooth, fem body to my dad’s hairy and masculine body, I found beauty and a sense of calmness looking at her, and 60 years later I can still envision her standing there.

      So, life went on for me, like any boy in a small town. But, I had a secret and my association with femininity and pleasure, while suppressed for years came back into my life in my 50s, and Haley was actually born in August 2019 when I was already in my early 60s. So many times I ask myself why she stayed away for so long, and in my coming out discussion with a GG friend yesterday, she just said that it was because I could not have accepted her earlier, and maybe she is right. But that feminine role, and my desire to immerse myself in it, has come back with a force, pulling at me in ways that I never thought possible. My mother presented a very compelling image of femininity and always did, and it’s actually kind of cool that as I have aged, lost 40 lbs of fat and 5 lbs of body hair, and began taking care of my skin…when I am dressed I actually look like my mother! I never didn’t want to be a boy or a man until this point, and it does not appear to be going away.



      • #110260

        Thank you Haley. This all makes a lot of sense to me, especially the changes with age. A part of me feels really bad about not mentioning any of this to my wife earlier in our relationship, but to have said “sometimes I feel like wearing women’s clothes,” would have seemed like an unnecessary complication when I hadn’t done it in many years. Being in a relationship for the first time too, I had also never felt more content to be a man either, so when things changed and I felt less happy to be a man it took me by enough surprise that I couldn’t call any reluctance to mention it as dishonesty.

        I feel like the possibility that I just won’t want to remain a man for the rest of my life is very high. Being an older man seems much worse than being an older woman to me. Most people aren’t thrilled about ageing, but in the masculine form, it seems far less appealing to me personally. Maybe it has something to do with the simple truth that you can’t see older people of your own generation until you are one, but a part of me thinks that dysphoria will only grow. There were times in childhood I would wish I were a girl with more strength than I ever have as an adult, I think only because I was so unhappy. In that point in my life, I had the least control and that full life change was a stronger fantasy while now I think the desire to be feminine in itself may have grown and probably will.

        Most of all, I don’t want to lose much anymore. A lot of trans women don’t even want to acknowledge their past, but I would rather keep it with me, even if my future were to look very different. This is why I have connected with the thought of being a goddess forced to live in a man’s body so much lately.

        Either way, thank you so much for your insights.

        Hearts and rainbows,


    • #110271

      Hi Aoife, I started my new life at 60 and I would do it again,(maybe a little different)that’s how hard my disphoria has hit me.            I can say I have lost a lot of things and including my 40 year marriage and some friends, but it is better then my life.. I am just saying I told myself and my wife I will just put it back in the closet, I got worse, found that pain Meds. mad me numb to the point of getting myself in trouble and killing my marriage, so it was better to become my true self.

      So I’m saying that going back to living as the male you were born might not want to cooperate, or I should say the women you putting back in the closet wont cooperate. Just saying that is what happened to me.

      Love and peace


    • #110295
      DeeAnn Hopings

      Hard to say about role models. Some place great value in them and others not so much. When I was a kid, some of my peers want to be the next Willie Mays or Hank Aaron. That was OK, but there was little to be transferred if you turned out to be, say, a truck driver.

      I think where the concept is significant is if you do, or do not, see yourself replicated in certain arenas. Before Obama no Black person has ever been president. Before Dr. Mae Jemison there were scant women in space and no Black women. Before Michele Mouton, no woman had ever won a World Rally Championship event. Before Mary Barra, no woman had ever been CEO of a major auto manufacturer. If you connected with one of those, or others, it could prove to be useful.

      Role models also work in reverse. I think my first wife and I both had warped views of how marriage is supposed to work based on the experiences of our parents. Consequently there were a number of aspects that never got resolved.

      Anyway, the concept is a bit of a crap shoot because what may seem good and appropriate at one point may choose to be totally off the mark later. For example, Caitlyn Jenner represents that datapoint…

      • #135765

        Yes, DeeAnn is on the mark here. I can only relate to my experiences. I grew up in a strict family in the 60’s. No role models, no support systems. We as kids were taught to figure things out on your own.  We were not nurtured. We were not encouraged to be like anyone. We were taught that hard work in school will lead to success.  Be a realist, no place for dreams that were in their eyes, unattainable. And stay focused on that. Parents in that era, post war, had no time for thinking maybe one of their kids had talent in say sports. Never was the idea of trying to be like someone else ever entertained.  I never wanted to be like someone else but I did want to be the best at what I did.  I received no praise for that but rather constantly reminded to do well in school so I would have a secure future. I was reminded often I should not spend so much time with my female friends whom I preferred. I hated school in the late years. S we became tough mentally. We did solve our own issues, we figured out stuff on our own.  If you didn’t, you were classed as a wimp.

    • #115050

      I read this early this morning and hours and hours later I’m still digesting it.

      What a fantastic and complex question you’ve asked.

      Short answer for me, right now at any rate. I had zero positive role models male or female that I could relate to.

      Maybe that’s why I became so attached to reading and movies? (I grew up in the late 70’-80’s)

      I’m going to give this some more thought though, I’m really intrigued.

      • #115093

        i’ve meditated on this a lot. a lot in my life has changed since this post as i start developing the courage to come out. however, a lot of my reconciliation has a lot to do with these ideas.

        i understand about reading and movies for sure. as much as the feminine was stigmatised, so what the masculine, and i always sought out the most gender-neutral interests. i still feel most comfortable in them, but i am beginning to embrace all the girl stuff i secretly craved.

        one thing i really love connecting with other trans women – or at least trans lesbians, over is double attraction. that could be described as this natural drive to basically *worship* women. having that, and having a horrible mother will really add up to something pretty damaging. i was so terrified of girls and women because i wanted to be immersed by them so desperately, but only had bad examples.

        now, being married and having a daughter and living through lockdown i am in it, but not as much as i want to be. i realise how much i have needed goddess energy to feel nurtured. i allowed myself to “be my own goddess,” and that’s how it all opened up. unfortunately, that makes connecting with other women a lot harder, but it’s what i have to do, no matter what my pace of starting the transition outside of my own mind is.

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