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Transgender thoughts from a transgender

(63 Posts)
ripples101 Tue 16-Feb-16 00:14:17


I recently joined mumsnet in order to post some of my thoughts on another thread that was active on this site at that time. After I did so, I received, from many of you, really positive, encouraging feedback. After I did so, I received no negative thoughts from any of you. And for that, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all.

The reason why I've decided to create this thread is to expand on what it means to me to be transgender, and to share with you all my concerns in regards to issues that are being discussed currently in the public sphere. I want to say right now that my thoughts relate to my own experiences as a biological male who identifies and presents as society would dictate a biological female to present.

First of all, I want to make it clear that while I am transgender, my own thoughts in regards to being identified as such do not sit well with me at all, to the point that I actually want to "revoke" my trans identity. For what this "identity" is seemingly intent on becoming is something that I can no longer identify with. This creates somewhat of a "catch 22" situation for me in the sense of how do I actually go forward and identify myself if the label that was once most suited to encapsulating who I am no longer has any resonance with me?

The only answer I've been able to come up with in response to that question is that I have to formulate my own identity, and in doing so only hope that others can understand what that identity may be. At the time of writing this post, I've failed in that regard. For no matter what word I use, others will already have a preconceived idea of what the word that I may end up using actually means. And so it remains difficult for me to be able to correctly and succinctly express to others who I am and how I wish to be regarded.

I'm going to start by providing an analogy. An analogy that I personally think encompasses the issue that every single transgender experiences. An analogy that gets right to the heart of the very meaning behind identifying oneself in terms of the gender presuppositions that are put on every single one of us.

The analogy that I'm going to use, somewhat aptly, somewhat ironically, relates to the word "binary", and what it means in computer/mathmatical terminology. That is, "1" and "0". For the sake of this analogy, let's say biological females equal "1", whereas biological males equal "0". For the sake of this analogy, there is nothing in between. No 0.5. No 1.5. Only ever "1" and "0". Now let's assume that in the case of a transgender person who was born male, all they have ever known is 0. Yet they don't feel happy as a 0. The only other alternative that is open to them in order to escape their own unhappiness at being 0 therefore is to become (or at least identify as being) 1. Yet they have no experience of what it actually means to be a 1. All they know is that being 1 allows them to escape from their actual identity of being a 0.

What I am getting at by using this analogy I hope is clear to everyone here. To bring it down to a personal level, if I am not happy being male, then the only other alternative open to me is to identify as, express myself as, a female. And the only way I can do that is to push away my male identity and present as female, using signifiers that society and culture dictates are traditionally associated with the opposite sex. Such signifiers being pronouns, clothes, body shape, societal roles, etc.

It's for this reason that I believe so many transgendered people, after transitioning, remain unhappy. For while they may have "escaped" the gender that they can't associate/identify with, the gender to which they have escaped to doesn't resonate with them either. When the only option from escaping from "0" is to become "1", then it's only after becoming "1" that they will then know if "1" is actually what they really needed to become. Put simply, there is no guarantee that that actually is the case, and the only way to find whether it is or isn't, is to experience both.

This leads me to a conclusion that I can not escape from. That conclusion being, a transgender person is simply unhappy being with and of themselves. And that is a frightening thought, and I say that as a transgender person myself.

The only comfort I can garner from this is not to identify as either a 1 or 0. As either male or female. Not something in between, just simply as neither. To put it succinctly, not feeling like a man doesn't make me a woman. To put it even more succinctly, how can I possibly say that I feel like a woman if I've only ever been a man?

Yet this is what you will hear transgender people say all the time. I can only conclude that I, and others who have said such a thing, simply have no idea what such a comment actually means. All I can ever say is that I'm not happy being male. And I can see now that the idea that "not happy being male" must therefore somehow equate to being female is an incredibly offensive thought process to have to those that actually are female.

SealSong Tue 16-Feb-16 00:18:24

An interesting and brave post flowers
All I can say is be kind to yourself in your journey. You are a valid human being however you identify.

Fanjango Tue 16-Feb-16 00:22:15

I sincerely hope you find some peace with yourself. My brothers girlfriend is a post op transgender. She's lovely. My children adore her. I have told them that she was once a boy...but wasn't happy. They are aged between 8 and 15 and all accept her, don't care less. I hope one day you will find acceptance of is possible for many's just a much harder journey. All the best X

Bardolino Tue 16-Feb-16 00:59:40

Thank you for posting such a touching and thought-provoking post. flowers

Alasalas Tue 16-Feb-16 01:19:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryRobinson Tue 16-Feb-16 02:23:19

Yup what they all said.

It feels very rude to want to use your personal experience and extrapolate /compare to some points that people have made on other Trans threads.

Best of luck, I hope that you find happiness with yourself.

RufusTheReindeer Tue 16-Feb-16 09:22:23

It does seem a shame that we are "forced" to identify as one or the other rather than just ourselves

Thank you for the post thanks

pastmyduedate0208 Tue 16-Feb-16 10:59:54


A lot of your post went whoosh over my head but I was impressed by your such deep thought and analysis...

gleam Tue 16-Feb-16 11:07:59

I'm a woman with no desire to be a man.
But I don't 'feel like a woman'. I don't even know what that phrase means.

WilLiAmHerschel Tue 16-Feb-16 11:37:11

Thanks for your post ripples. One thing I don't really understand is this need to identify as something. I have never felt like I fitted in with anyone really. Well a few people but not many. I look like a woman (because I am one) but I rarely enjoy being treated like one as in my experience that is often a negative thing. What I don't understand is what it means to identify as something and why this is so important. I don't feel like anything but me. I don't know if I'm making sense.

I hope you're able to find happiness in yourself one day. flowers

DangerMiss Tue 16-Feb-16 11:45:29

I'm probably not going to express this in the most articulate way, but I don't understand what it means to "be a woman" either, although I am a woman. Biologically you may be the same as every other female, but emotionally, personality-wise so on, so forth...every woman is different. There is no single female identity.

It honestly sounds to me as if you are struggling to find a role, and thinking about it too hard, when you should just be yourself.

seeThereWeAreThen Tue 16-Feb-16 11:56:30

flowers and welcome to Mumsnet.

I've have been woken up to transgender issues recently, some of the laws and the "A transwoman is a woman" stuff, did freak me out a bit.

I spent a lot of my late teens and 20s with gay friends around the gay scene. Back then there wasn't really transgender. Their were transexuals, transvestite's, drag queens, butch, camp and some men who on occasions felt like wearing pat butcher earrings, or a tight croptop, sometime a skirt and tights paint their finger nails. They weren't classed as transvestite they just sometimes liked to wear stuff like that.

It seemed at the time it was be coming more acceptable. You could be who ever you wanted to be dress how you wanted and so on. I know that it isn't my personal experience and I am only commenting on what I saw.

Unfortunately you would get some be mused old fuddy duddy comments (not to their face) of I don't know its a man or a woman?

One male friend worked in retail, and went to work in a big fluffy white coat, had false nails and wore eyeliner.

Now though it seems very one or the other, male stuff, female stuff.

I don't know what the answer is. It would be nice not to have you are male you are female by what you do choose to wear or choose to behave.

Male and female should just be biology. Identity's should be who you are regardless of sex.

I do and always understand that for some, who are very unhappy in their own body, that it is more than that.
These were the transexuals.

OP I hope and wish you can find your happiness in yourself.

BunnyTyler Tue 16-Feb-16 12:32:45

Male and female should just be biology. Identity's should be who you are regardless of sex.
This by ThereWeAreThen is exactly my thinking.

It's the relentless push for woman or man that I find frustrating - it's like we're going backwards.
I am a woman, but I've only very very rarely worn a dress, I wear makeup all the time and have my nails done, I did a traditionally male job for 20 years, I am fiercely independent and single minded.
Born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s where we were just allowed to be kids with no pink & blue, young adult in the 90s where anything went.

In all aspects of my life I am not one or the other, I'm just me - and I'm happy with that.

I hope you find peace with yourself ripples, and that you find happiness within yourself.
You don't have to 'identify' as anything at all, just be happy being you.

LumpySpacedPrincess Tue 16-Feb-16 12:51:11

Society should accept people as they are and not push gender roles onto us. So much of what makes me as a woman is just what I have absorbed over the years. I believe that your sex is a fact and gender is a social construct.

Your post is interesting and thoughtful, I wish you luck on your journey to be comfortable in your own skin. smile

pastmyduedate0208 Tue 16-Feb-16 16:11:10

I often think, with the increasing Transgender activism movement, that it will probably be the Transgender movement that opens the box on limited gender expectations on men.

Women, we had feminism. "Let us wear trousers, and a tie. Let us take part in politics, let us own land" etc... and there is an ongoing equality movement for women.

Men, they may well wish to take on more "feminine" roles in society, such as homemaker, someone who likes high heels, (bear with me).

There hasn't ever been a movement for men allowing reverse equality to happen. Males (gender) are finding themselves closed into a tight box, while women seem to have more choices. The Transgender movement seems to open up the box for men towards more choice.

The problems start when the only way for men to take on feminine presentation, in the same way that women can take on masculine presentation, is by pretending they are women (feminists never had to pretend to be men in order to wear trousers).

Men need to find their own way, to wear feminine attire and assume feminine roles, while still being men. The Transgender movement may be the only way to achieve this.

It's all work in progress though! Society is changing.

WilLiAmHerschel Tue 16-Feb-16 18:17:25

I agree with you on the one hand pastmyduedate, but on the other if you think back to some of male musicians who used to wear make up and have long hair a decade or two ago, none claiming to be women, and look at all the butch lesbians who are now saying they are trans men, it seems as though the trans movement is doing more harm than good to the widening of gender roles.

Like that beardy guy who is 'widening the boundaries of what it means to be a woman' (or something). He's a man with a full beard who wears dresses and make up, and that is exactly what he looks like. The trans movement calls him a woman (and so does he). Maybe we will all wake up to how ridiculous it is one day but how many people will get hurt until we do.

ICJump Tue 16-Feb-16 22:16:55

I wonder if you have had a chance to connect with any gender critical trans women. Miranda hart is one and there are others.
And while it may sound at odds with your feelings at first you might find some comfort in rad feminism. Because while you'll never be a women (adult human female) you should not have to live within the strict and harsh socially constructed gender boundaries.
I know the pain of being deeply unhappy with my body and wishing desperately to be something else. I try very hard to reconcile this daily so I have empathy for you situation

Shallishanti Wed 17-Feb-16 21:52:37

eh what?
Miranda Hart is a gender critical transwoman?

however, insightful post from OP, best of luck to you

WilLiAmHerschel Wed 17-Feb-16 21:58:52

I think the pp means Miranda Yardley.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 17-Feb-16 22:14:53

Or Aofie Assumpta Hart.

ICJump Wed 17-Feb-16 22:33:55

Oh fuck! I'm must learn to edit before pressing post. As I've merged the two of them into one name. Sorry for the confusion.

MyCrispBag Wed 17-Feb-16 22:42:55

Great post Ripples, I found your analogy especially interesting. I am ashamed to say that it was reading Aoife Hart and others that actually brought about my "peak trans" moment. Up until finding these interesting insightful people I had just assumed that the 'terfs' were being bigotted.

It must be really difficult to feel like you do and I can understand why some transwomen are attracted to the (seemingly) dominating view that a woman is whatever you say it is. It's a simple answer to a complex question and when the issue is negatively effecting you to such an extent I imagine it must be a real relief to have that answer. I know that some of the 'Gender Apostates' have had some horrible abuse from what is supposedly their own community in much the same way so called 'terf's' have.

Shallishanti Wed 17-Feb-16 22:49:43

phew, thanks

Clonakiltylil Wed 17-Feb-16 23:50:31

Ripples, I really admire your honesty and your integrity. So few people are able to admit that what they thought would make them happy was not what they needed at all.

Like other posters, I wish you well and hope that you manage to find equilibrium.
Best wishes.

WilLiAmHerschel Thu 18-Feb-16 08:41:37

I think someone shared this link on the other thread you were on ripples, but I'll put it here just in case not.

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