I had a delightful lunch today with 3 girlfriends of mine. The 4 of us took a table near a girl’s soccer team enjoying a post-game meal and maybe 25 or 30 other diners.
As we ate our burgers and sipped on some adult beverages, we caught up on what’s been happening in each other’s lives. This reminded me a little of Sex And The City – in that we are 4 girls discussing EV-REE-THING in our respective lives – except our lives make SITC look very vanilla indeed.
One of my girlfriends, Paula, made a random reference to “Normal People.” I immediately said; “What’s that mean?” (I was being a little sarcastic – as I know what she was referring to – those who conform most closely to societies’ expectations and conventions. But I was being a bit of a smart-ass.) By way of explanation, Paula waved her hand at the other diners and said; “Them.”
I’ve had a bit of a problem with the word “Normal” for quite some time now. Part of me equates it with “boring.” But I’m not passing judgment on what makes someone else happy. Another problem I have with it is the implication that people who aren’t “Normal” or who don’t conform (of which, I am surely and in more than one way – a charter member) are somehow defective or perverted. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
But it got me to thinking. I realized that while I may share some things in common with many in the room, there is one major glaring difference. I have no earthly idea what it must feel like to be cis-gendered. To feel like your body matches how your mind feels about it. Not giving your genitalia a second thought, you know…”Normal.”
I sat there and tried to imagine what it would be like, and came up empty. Like trying to imagine what a bat feels like to navigate via sonar. It is such an alien concept to me. I have had this gender conflict forever. I just don’t have another frame of reference.
If you are Cis-Gender – What is it like? Do you ever think about your gender? (I know you think about sex, and attraction, but what about your actual gender?) When you get dressed in the morning is it even on your radar? As you go about your day, do you ever just marvel how happy you are to be a guy – or a woman? Have you ever entertained thoughts on what it would be like to be the opposite gender for a day? Are you curious?
Imagine if that was one of the first things you thought of. Every Day. Gender Dysphoria is the name science has given that feeling – that things aren’t right – that somehow they were mixed up.
I can tell you what Dysphoria is like – well at least for me. I imagine it is somewhat different for each person. Since I may get a little graphic here, I will bracket these comments with *** so if you’d just as soon avoid what some might feel is “TMI” jump to the *** and finish the article…cool?
Gender Dysphoria is a part of every day. I wake up with it and I go to bed with it. Sometimes it’s screaming at me, other times it’s just a poke, or an itch. But it’s always there. From when I get up in the morning to go to the bathroom I sit, never stand – ever- (as that would be a trigger) and I have no desire to do that anyway.
I FEEL every bit a woman inside and women don’t have a penis. I guess that’s the crux of it. To me, it’s a cruel joke that complicates nearly every element of my life!
Hey guys; here’s an experiment. It won’t hurt you (much) but it may help you understand a little. Try on a pair of panties. How do they fit? Not quite right? They look a little different on you than they do on your wife/girlfriend don’t they? Something is in the way huh? They don’t lay flat. Now try on a pair of leggings or a dress that hugs your body. Yeah, there is a lump that shouldn’t be there right? OK, now maneuver it so the lump disappears. Comfy? Think you could spend your day NOT thinking about that?
Then add to the fun – try being perceived as female all day and your personal safety or perhaps even freedom depending on it.
I don’t want to send the message that it’s all about clothes, because it’s not. It’s just the easiest example to illustrate and one that is part of my daily routine.
Imagine being intimate with another person – with what you feel is the wrong equipment. Wonder what that would do for your self-confidence and libido. Yep. When you stop and think about it, having a mismatched body/brain affects a lot of what you do on a daily basis.
Perhaps you have heard some of the recent discussions on TV shows with some high profile Trans* sisters – Janet Mock, Carmen Carrera and LaVerne Cox…they each were asked about the state of their genitals. They declined to discuss it and good for them! We’ve spent enough of our lives battling with this and besides – it’s just not anyone’s business. (Ironic isn’t it – as I type away on a post about my own – but I’m doing it on my terms and to illustrate a point)
I have been living my life as Leslie – 100% of the time now for nearly a year. Doing this has been the most incredible experience. I feel at home – finally. I can just be me. But the more I am accepted around Dallas as “Just Another Woman” the more I want to just finish the project.
Science knows for sure that it’s pretty much impossible today to alter the brain’s perception of the body. What is scientifically and medically doable – is to change the body to match the mind.
Some days are better than others. It has no relation to how I look. I can be having a great hair day and love my make-up but be very dysphoric. Or conversely, I can sometimes roll out of bed looking like the dog’s breakfast and feel really good. Hormones have helped a lot but if somehow I had the resources to have a few things surgically corrected, I would do so immediately and without hesitation.
So, would that make me “normal”?
God – I sure hope not!