Transition Blues?

I’m a much happier human being since I transitioned, but…

But there are some things about men I really hate. Well, about patriarchy, I guess. Not about men, or being a man myself, but about sexist, male-centric culture. I hate it enough to feel oddly uncomfortable identifying myself as male.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go back, not in a million years. I’m much more myself as a man than I ever was as a woman. And most things about me haven’t changed: I’m still a feminist. I’m still a liberal. I’m still queer. I still like anime and sci-fi and fantasy, and cute kids and pets, and bright colors and shiny things, and Japanese art, and all the other things about me that make me me. Transition has allowed me to shuck a layer of falseness, stop pretending to be something I’m not, and just get on with the business of being myself.

But there’s a loss to transition, as well as a gain.

It makes me sad, in a deep, existential place, to know that I’ve given up membership in a Sisterhood I never really fit into, but always wanted to, to find myself stuck with “men’s right’s activists” and dudebros as the fellows of my new tribe. I hated men like that as a woman; I hate them even more as a man.

And yeah, yeah, #notallmen. There are certainly more awesome men in my life than awful ones, but it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil the whole barrel.

I hate that some women I meet fear me, just a little, just for being male. I hate that I can’t smile at a kid in the grocery store without being a suspect pedophile, can’t walk down a sidewalk without having to cut a wide berth around any woman walking alone. Hate the look in her eyes as I go by.

And I know that look, because it’s ingrained in me. I spent too many years living as a woman not to be just as instinctively afraid of men, especially men on their own. I know exactly what she’s afraid of because I’m still afraid of it, too, and I hate that I’ve become part of the problem just by existing. That by becoming visibly male, I’ve made the world feel that little bit more unsafe for that women.

The farther away my days as a female get, the more self-conscious I feel. I pass Victoria’s Secret in the mall and find myself averting my eyes from the lingerie displays, because they most definitely aren’t for me, and any woman who caught me looking at them would probably read me as a creep. I don’t smile at kids anymore, or I do and then I flinch away. Or I make a quick comparison to my nephew, to reassure the parent that I’m not a creepy predator, I’m a gay uncle. I try to appear gay, even though I’m really bisexual, because gay men are less threatening to women.

I’m not blaming those women for being afraid. They have every right to be afraid. I’ve lived that fear myself. I still have that fear.

What I want to say is this: Sexism is bad for society, period. I have a dual perspective on it that makes it even clearer to me how that works, because it hurt me as a woman, and in a different way, it hurts me as a man. It hurts women more. It definitely hurts women more, but it also hurts men. And until there is real equality, it will keep hurting us all.



~ by Nezu on 12 July 2014.

2 Responses to “Transition Blues?”

  1. Totally with you on this. It sucks to be feared, but doesn’t suck more to be fearful.
    But, now I can’t shop at Victoria’s Secret? Not even to select a gift for my wife?

    Reminds me of how my mother used to ask to put bras on her wishlist for her birthday when I was a kid. Very awkward for her teen sons. Finally, my brother bought her six bras and said never again.

  2. I hear you loud and clear. As a Transwoman coming at life from your mirror image, I find myself not exactly living in fear, but certainly wary of men. I just don’t trust them. Their cheap come-ons ruin things for guys who might be sincere. I identify as a lesbian anyway. I still retain a few male friends but find myself spending the bulk of my time with other women. On a side note, I do love being able to smile or wave at little kids and have both them and their mom smile back. My world is a happier more gentle place than ever and it fits me to a tee.

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