h1

One Year Later

January 28, 2010

This week (Monday, to be precise) marks my one-year anniversary of deciding to transition. It’ll be a little while before the anniversary of Transition being anything other than a thought in my mind, but January 25th 2009 was one of those days I’ll remember forever because of that very important thing that happened in my head.

Since then I have reached out to local transgender support groups, made several trans* friends, reconnected with an old one, had a ritual coming-out party, started T, run out of my T prescription, failed to get around to legally changing my name, started two classes where I am simply known as male and not as a transitioning person, started blogging here, left off blogging here, gotten a job, begun training in stage combat and acting, sought prospects for my future as a performer, and felt a consistent desire to have a future as — well, anything. I have learned to design emails and websites with HTML and CSS, to use words like “SEO” and “affiliate marketing” and “link building”, and how to hand-roll a cigarette. I have remembered that acne is a pain in the ass and that short hair is fun. 2009 was quite a year.

Now we’re near the end of the first month of 2010, and I’m sitting in my neighborhood coffee shop whose employees know me as Gabriel and who know my regular order (grilled chicken wrap, black coffee) and who tolerate my working on my laptop for hours at a time. 🙂


Since starting to move in the world as a man it’s not uncommon for a woman walking ahead of me on the sidewalk to glance nervously over her shoulder, then move more quickly or shift to the side or cross the street. Which sparks thoughts of a more complicated post on how I’m now, oddly, more comfortable participating in conversations about gender dynamics and the fear of male-stranger-assault that is supposedly ingrained in every woman. (I have in the past felt awkward in such discussions because I cannot recall ever living with that walking-down-the-street fear and I felt there was something wrong with either me or with the premise, but now that I can comfortably remove myself from the category “woman” to which that rule applies, I can interrogate the rule without it being so personal? Something?)

There is also a post in there about my awakening awareness of rape culture and the male role in overturning it that’s been tumbling about in my mind ever since cereta’s post “On rape and men (Oh yes, I’m going there)” that practically everyone on livejournal commented on.

This is not that post, but those are things I want to formulate thoughts on and talk about. Now here’s a question –

What do YOU want me to talk about?

All six of you that read this blog, that is. Prompts and questions and commentary are more than welcome.

Happy genderbending. Happy 2010.


Advertisements

16 comments

  1. I'm interested in anything that approaches the differences between living as a woman and living as a man, including how your perceptions and awarenesses of issues like rape culture and sexism may or may not have changed. How do you feel about the way media and society speak to you now, as a man, compared to how they spoke to you as a woman? What expectations do they have of you? What kind of conditioning to they subject you to? What should they (or we) be doing differently? (To inspire a happier, healthier, safer generation of men. And by "safer," I mean treating themselves and others better.)


    • @Anonymous — Are you someone I know? You don’t have to answer that, I’m just curious. Thanks so much for the feedback; I think those are all topics I’m interested in talking about.


  2. (I have in the past felt awkward in such discussions because I cannot recall ever living with that walking-down-the-street fear and I felt there was something wrong with either me or with the premise, but now that I can comfortably remove myself from the category “woman” to which that rule applies, I can interrogate the rule without it being so personal? Something?)this this this. it may be a combination of that and getting the ideas and communication possibilities properly in my head, but i am so very much more comfortable talking about these things as something that many women have to deal with. it was a lot harder when i felt that discourse was making me invisible as a woman who didn't feel that way.i'd be interested – in a kind of selfish way – to read about how you deal with other men, and how the way they talk to you has changed. i know that i certainly feel really awkward when they, not knowing i'm trans, try to include me in their blokey-bloke conversations (which are often sexist, racist and homophobic . . . or at least not explicitly anti- those things).


    • @nixwilliams — I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’m sure a lot of it is that before I had more uncertainty about what my identity actually was, so I spent the discourse (be it Rape Culture, Stranger Danger, or other things related to Feminism) thinking about mememe instead of about the discourse itself. “Making me invisible” is right too — without assuming any intention on the part of the people having the discussions, I often had no sense of where I fit in.Interactions with other men who may or may not know I’m trans — yes. That will be a thing to talk about for sure.


  3. Oh, it was the same for me re: fear of men. Before getting on the internet and reading feminist discussions I had no idea so many women felt that way. It still irks me when people say all women do, because even if I don't identify as a woman, I was raised as female and never once felt that way in my life.


    • @Travis — Indeed. And I’ve certainly known cis women who don’t get the fear of men thing either. I feel weird even bringing it up sometimes, because I recognize that it’s a real and very common feeling for women (and some men) and that it’s indicative of a general culture of oppressive gender dynamics, and I don’t want to come off as trying to silence that discussion. But sometimes it feels like… saying “all women feel this way” is both disingenuous and kind of fatalistic about that culture of oppression.


  4. Hey, Gabe, it's Tegan. Just to throw in my two cents on the women being scared of men thing, I think a good number of women have that fear. Even if some might say, "No man has anything on me," get them in an alley with any guy and I bet they will at least worry a little. I don't know why that is. Something ingrained in us, maybe, the idea that women are weak and men often take advantage of that. *shrug* I was reading one of your older posts and saw this: On that part of my inner journey (woo inner journeys), I felt a surge of affection for the masculine within me, when I wanted to meet my inner boy and see what he had to say.—I would like to know if the boy you are now is all that different from Faith? Are you who you expected you'd be as a man? Have your thought processes changed? What do you have to say now that you ARE that boy?


    • @Tegan — Yeah, I definitely get that the feeling is deeply ingrained in a lot of (mostly women), and that it comes from a place of reality. It’s not like I’ve never felt nervous when walking alone at night or anything.

      Re: my inner boy and the way I used to feel about him — it’s interesting, I haven’t gone back and thought about that in a while. In a lot of ways the reality of living as a man has become mundane, because I’m just sorta… doing it, where it used to be this thrilling
      semi-forbidden desire. And I don’t know that I’ve changed that much as a person, aside from generally becoming more comfortable, confident, and present in the world, but then it’s really hard to judge those things from the inside. Will ponder.


  5. mens room? how do u use the pisser? ever heard of p-style?


    • It’s unlikely I’ll spend a lot of time talking about how I use the bathroom. Mostly I just sort of… go into a stall. Terribly boring.

      However, I may have something to say about bathroom accessibility politics at some point. If it seems relevant.


  6. Gabe,

    I have to say, I have always had that fear, the litle knot in the pit of my stomach that says, "Any man, if he chooses, can probably hurt me." I speed up when I see a man walking too close behind, and when I am out at night I am always aware of my surroundings. I have had this fear forever, ingrained from my mother, and from society. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it, now from the opposite perspective; i've never spoken frankly with a man regarding this topic.


    • Huh. For some reason it’s just so… alien to my understanding of the world, and it makes me kind of sad. Also it’s the kind of thing that IMnshO *should* be talked about with and among men. Frankly. I hope I can formulate actual words on it. 🙂


  7. Things I would love to hear you talk about include but are definitely not limited to:

    1) Do you perceive any differences in your career path now that you’re introduced to people as a man? I know that working with your best friend probably means your actual workplace hasn’t altered much, but even so, I wonder if you feel your long-term prospects have changed, for better or worse.

    2) How do you feel about the queer community, and the ongoing debate over whether trans-people (and if so, which!) should be allowed into “women-only” spaces? I’m new to this myself–I confess I only learned the word “cis” a few months ago–but I find the whole controversy difficult to get a handle on, in part because I feel underinformed about the issues involved.

    3) I think you said in one of your other posts that being with women always felt a little hetero, and being with men a little gay. Would you be willing to talk about that more? I’m selfishly curious because I sometimes, but not always, feel that way too.

    Also, your blog is wonderful, and also, hi.


    • Hi hi! I totally appreciate your feedback and your appreciativeness. \o/

      1) Interesting. Actually I didn’t get my current office job until just after I started identifying as a man, so that particular place doesn’t have a before/after. In terms of my career as a performer, there’s definitely things to think about there. The acting class I’m taking now is 16 men and 2 women — which is really weird to me, as I’m used to the performing worlds I move in being women-dominated or at least relatively equal — even stage combat has a pretty strong female component, though I might see a shift in that if I go further into stunt training. And my other potential career — massage therapy — is also pretty female-dominated, and I’ve spoken to a number of clients (usually women over 50, but a few men and younger women) who say it’s very unlikely they’d ever feel comfortable with a male MT.

      2) There’s a huge discussion to be had here, for sure, and it’s not an easy one to tackle. And pardon my slinging of insulting categorizations… transphobic rad-fems are one group that generally get my hackles up more than any other — as a transgender person, as a man, and even as someone with a female history. The sometimes shaky position of T within LGBT* is not something I’ve really had personal experience with (I’ve been lucky enough to mostly encounter the segments of the queer community that is trans-inclusive) but it is something I’ve done a lot of rage-inducing reading and internets discussions about.

      3) Ah yes. 🙂 That was one of my pre-decision acknowledgements about my own sexuality; I spent a rather long time trying to convince myself that I really was a man without consciously allowing myself to either do the convincing or the being convinced. Because, you know, then things would have to change. I’m not sure how comfortable I’ll be with talking about specific relationships in a public setting like this, but the abstract is definitely something I can explore. I almost typed sexplore there. Ha. And I want to hear your thoughts on this too! (I’m seeing you next week, right?)


      • You are seeing me next week, for definitelys! And I would love to talk about this then!


  8. […] briefly go back to that Stranger Danger thing I talked about a few weeks ago, I had a specific instance of Being The Scary Stranger just a few minutes ago, coming back from the […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: