Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Just Like Everybody Else

I've just been reading Stana's latest post on "Femulate" about some of her early experiences, and am yet again struck by how different our experiences are. Stana writes about being a feminine boy, about being bullied as a "sissy", about finding that her mannerisms and speech patterns were always quite feminine and how it was just a case of making the external presentation match. This is so far from my own experience.

I was always perceived as being very masculine, even to the degree of being thought of as quite threatening in some circumstances, I can't say I was ever bullied for anything, at one point I was teased for being fat, but my apparently obvious masculinity prevented it going any further. Add to that I was always big, not especially tall, simply big! When I first started to play rugby I slotted straight into the front row as a prop, and found one of my roles in life! As a musician my choice of instrument was also perceived as being masculine ~ however much I might complain about trying to gender instruments ~ I know friends who played the violin got teased, but the sheer bulk of the tuba stopped that.

Later as I took on leadership roles, that again was seen as being masculine (men are leaders, women are pushy) all this and my very heterosexual attractions all added together to make me appear very much as a "man's man". Maybe this is part of why I spent so much of my life in confusion, trying to reconcile all of this with my internalised femininity. In the 1990s men were beginning to be encouraged to "get in touch with our feminine side" but I was always aware that this did not mean getting dressed up and going out in heels! Society still made it very clear that transsexuals and transvestites (as we were then still known) were not approved of, were figures of derision, were ~ queer! The narrative was also very much that "trannies" were an extension of feminine homosexuals, or blokes in a dress, things that I knew I was not!

It was only with the advent of the interweb that I could start to become aware of others with the need to cross dress, that I could get in touch with others in the transgender "community" I realised that I was not alone, and that the stereotypes we were presented with were not typical at all.

I suppose the point of these meandering memories is that as transgender men and women we are exactly like everybody else, in that we are all different. And, that is the biggest problem that society seems to have with us at the moment, there seems to be a desire to pin us down with a "that's what trans women are" attitude, and it simply can't be done. We are musicians, we are heating engineers, we are electricians, we are politicians, we are quantity surveyors, we are everywhere in society, fulfilling all sorts of roles ~ just like everybody else!

1 comment:

Vivienne said...

That's one of the things I'm deliberately trying to do. I'm a doctor. I want people to see and know that trans people can be doctors, i.e. productive members of society. I also want people to see that trans people can be kind, moral, educated and cultivated, rather than weird or grotesque or kinky. I'm deliberately trying to set a bit of an example.