denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
Seems like that definition encompasses a whole lot of real estate, yet is somehow still lacking. Does my personal identity and gender not correspond with my birth sex? Well……..sometimes. But sometimes it does. So am I transgender? I have asked myself this question numerous times over the past few years. The truth is I still don’t really know the answer. But I have come to realize that “transgender” is just a label. The real truth is that my gender expression shifts as my internal identity shifts. When I see myself as more “April” then that is my truth; when I see myself as more “Bill” then that is who I am.
I realize that this duality can be difficult for friends and family to accept, but after decades of trying to be what others wanted me to be, I have found that the path to happiness and acceptance for me is to allow myself the freedom to be myself, and to express my identity as it feels right for me. At times I find the term “transgender” to be limiting, as I see the gender spectrum as a fluid thing. For many of us we cannot say unequivocally that we are male or female, because our concept of ourselves, our identity is constantly changing. Many of us occupy various points on the spectrum at various times in our lives. I find that I go back and forth between my male self and April. My identity fluctuates. Lately I feel more April than my male self, but I know that can and probably will change. My hope is that one day society can accept the fluid nature of our being and find it OK to let us be who we are at the moment.
No judgement, just acceptance.
I know we aren’t there yet, not even in the Seattle area where I live, which in many ways is a wonderfully accepting and supporting place to be. Yet, there are times when I would have loved to have gone to work as April because it was how I felt inside, but except for a single day (Halloween), that just hasn’t been possible. At least for now. Maybe one day I will be able to be “myself” at work at those times I identify as April, but we’re not there yet.
I suppose for those who feel more confident in their identity as their “birth” gender, my shifting sense of self is very hard to comprehend, possibly even more so than understanding those who are 100% certain their physical birth gender is totally wrong. At least they are certain of who they are at all times. I have noticed that the people that seem to be most fearful of the “other” tend to have the hardest time with this duality. I think uncertainty and fluidity is very tough for a large number of people to deal with, so they shut off the thinking parts of their brains, and fear kicks in. And it’s hard to be accepting of differences when you are fearful. And when the fear has no rational basis it is hard to counteract.
I know it will be a long road to acceptance, but I have learned to accept myself and that is the most important first step. It has been liberating to finally accept that I am not one or the other – but both. That my life is complex, but that is OK. I am happy with who I am – all of me.
I hope you are happy with who you are too.