REPOSTED FROM THE TRANS-SCEND BLOG 2015
As I progress in my own transition the words I have chosen to express myself have changed over the years. Growing up I was never quite comfortable calling myself a “girl” nor was I comfortable calling myself by my given name, “Shana”. Many of my family members called me by versions of that name, “Shanie” being the most common. It has always been interesting to me how certain people could use a name and it wouldn’t bother me at all, others would give me a weird feeling, almost the same as when I called myself the same name.
For the most part I called myself “Jason” when I was younger. That’s the name I used in all my childhood fantasies, unless of course I was Han Solo. Jason was the cowboy, the skateboarder, the BMX racer. He was the rock star and the one that got all the girls. I never used a pronoun in my fantasies, probably because they are first person and there isn’t a need to. Jason was just Jason.
Through a series of odd events I ended up adding “Lee” legally to my name before I ever decided to transition. It was just about the time that I was graduating High School and was moving into the world. From then on instead of keeping it as my middle name I started introducing myself as Lee instead of Shana. It became the identifying word signifying me and Lee never had a pronoun associated with it, at least not on the surface of my conscious being. Perhaps I never wanted to admit to myself at the time, for me it was just “easier” and “fit better”. And so “Lee” was born into the world.
As more time went by association with the female pronoun became a complex love/hate relationship. On one hand it would annoy me to no end when someone called me “Ma’am” and on the other hand I just kind of laughed it off when people called me “Sir”, which they did quite often. It was generally from men in retail situations and I found myself being annoyed by it, not because of the word but much like my childhood, when I would turn around and I could see the recognition on their faces that my body wasn’t matching up to the word instead of correcting themselves or apologizing they would be challenging and defensive.
When I finally did decided to go through with my transition all of sudden any word that could possibly mean that I wasn’t a 100% bonafide straight male would piss me off. It was a challenge to my own self-identity. How male/female I felt on the inside, how much I was allowing culture to dictate who I was instead of just being me. I found that anyone, including my partner at the time, that suggested I identify as “transgender”, “ftm” or “queer” immediately became a number one enemy of my “true self” and yet I hadn’t fully found who that was yet.
Did I make a mistake? Hell no, I made the perfect choice for me and in so doing I am healthier and happier than I have ever been in my life. Did transitioning automatically make me a man? Hell no, what makes anyone male or female has nothing to do with what are bodies look like, feel like, smell like and what organs we may or may not have. What makes you male or female is you, how you feel about yourself and what you believe about yourself to be true.
Society tells us that to be male you must be muscular, have a big dick, like to beat shit up and pound beers and women hopefully simultaneously. Is that really what being a man is about? Does every guy out there do that, look like that or act like that? What about the bio/cis guys that don’t fit in that package, are they still male? Is the fact that when I refer to my dick instead of being home grown it’s actually bought in the exact shape and size to please my partner really make that much of a difference? Oh wait, I can’t stand and pee, well actually I can if I make the correct purchase. Does the fact that I was born in a package that looked one way and then changed it or call it something different really matter to the masses… or should the only person it matters to really just be me.
If we read/listen to all those different cultures and religions that talk about happiness being only something that we ourselves can control then why do we turn to others to dictate who we are. We can try and live in the boxes that other people build for us but eventually those become prisons to keep us from ourselves and our happiness.
So now, after eight years, I have finally come to a place where I’m happy and no longer rely on words to control me. Am I transgender? Yes. Am I male? Yes. Am I female? I have feminine energy at times, it’s creative and soft and caring, like much of my writing or the way I take care of my animals. I still have some parts of my body that are generally associated with the female body. Since I went off testosterone 3 years ago I even have a menstrual cycle. I also shave and am currently trying out a new goatee style. I have a flat chest and am working out more to up my muscle mass. There are days and nights when I have a dick and others when I don’t.
If you’ve read more of my blog you know that there are also times when I don’t even identify as human. Transitioning gave me a glimpse into a much bigger universe than I originally thought existed, it turned me on to numerous spiritual teachings that say we aren’t these bodies we are in. We are the spirit, the soul, the conscious creator energy that inhabits the bodies for the purpose of experiencing this life and learning from it. We are here to understand life, to overcome fear, to appreciate the human condition but transcending it.
So what does all this make me, what word should be used when you people look at me, how do I describe to someone just exactly who I am: “Lee”, though my true identity is that of LOVE