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Thursday, May 31, 2012

second thoughts

So I'm having second thoughts about my transition.
Not about my engagement with the process as much as whether the direction is as clear as I'd like. Perhaps it's in some way down to lacking presently for a surgical marker, and partly it's going through those initial weeks and months for a documentary at the moment and remembering how those first few months of confusion clarified and directions were set.And then there was this excellent article in(unapologetic) Bilerico . That hit home especially  for the coincidence of having just had 'Simulacra' as my U-bahn book.  Whatever, really just thinking over how I resolved identity and whether that resolution still holds.
After the first couple of weeks I was clear that something quite drastic and very related to gender were happening with me. My main aim was to try and ascertain just what exactly I was. It seemed axiomatic at the time that I couldn't just lose male history and identity, that whatever I was would come under the genderqueer rubric. There were a couple of months of going backward and forward and through genders, or so it seemed before the habits started to fade and the essentials of the male vanished softly and silently away.
More, though, there was an emerging picture of the process. I was a young girl in the antique surroundings of her deceased uncle's overstuffed mansion. And my process was to go through that place and change, keep, add or subtract through viewing his accumulation of objects, of habits, of pasts. And thereby try and define my capabilities and autonomy as a woman. Or at least that was the main one of a small number of analogies that I used.
And at that point of time, when that process was inexorably starting, thinking to myself about exactly where that transition might lead and what I might be at the end of it. That, in turn, led to how I saw transsexuality and genderqueerness as operating.
After about three or four months I couldn't really think of myself as anything but female and transsexual, it was only too obvious a conclusion. But there were still three ways I could see myself as being potentially genderqueer.
The first was simply by adopting 'genderqueer' as a more descriptive term than transgender or transsexual.
The second is a superficial performative thing. That we can never totally eliminate every last habit of movement, every quirk of that previously assigned gender. Being 'read' that way messages genderqueerness.
The third was more about what I might grow into. Maybe the male material would prove recalcitrant in some ways or the maleness of the experience might somehow contaminate. Maybe the very extent of transition allots a transgressive gaze on the world, a genderqueerness born out of too much knowledge.
In trying to resolve things on this third level, I came to the thought that whatever would eventuate I'd simply engage in the process as a female and nothing more insofar as I could help it. And even if I were to come to a place of genderqueerness in myself then the only way to do that was through being myself, a woman, and not by harbouring any theoretical reservations about that to hamper me.
Lately though, there is an undercurrent of ennui. It sometimes comes when I'm walking around and viewing the same patterns of the gendered world playing themselves out again and again. It's not any real feeling of alienated identity and any genderqueer identity remains inactive, excepting inevitable performance trivialities. And some iterative ones, if my present butch trending appearance is anything to go by. But thinking that this is part of the transness that makes me a trans woman - that vision of the binary in all it's multiple permutations, that hard won literacy of behaviour and understandings.Because to be simply a normal cis woman I'd have to give up not only much of my past but what I've learned through transition. I do see it as one thing unites us as trans women in that as we go through our transition processes, our transitioning eyes see the world in ways that no cis woman ever does.
It doesn't make me genderqueer. What it does do, though, is challenge my articulation of womanhood to reflect something of that, without needing any special social milieu to practice it in.
Something to live up to.
Fifteen year olds ( I've just had that particular birthday party ) think things like that.

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