NORMAL PEOPLE

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) 

***

Image 

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!

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7 Responses to NORMAL PEOPLE

  1. chrissyholm says:

    I could not have said it better Leslie. Here’s what I was told that “normal” is: Each of us has their own normal and for one to judge another otherwise is based solely upon a person’s own perception of normalcy. Normal doesn’t really exist except for being a setting on a washing machine. I have my own normal and I’m fine with it but at the same time I’m different from anyone else. It’s those differences that should be celebrated rather than compared, hated, judged or feared.

  2. Krista Ann says:

    I understood every thought and emotional take that you expressed along with your anger and frustration. I am convinced that few others care as until the day that GID is considered a medical FACT then all us in this community will be perceived by the world as freaks or perverts. The truth is I am surprised the suicide rate isn’t higher than already is. Love you Leslie great post.

  3. Krista you are a very special woman – I hope you understand how much! I love your energy, encouragement and unfailing kindness.

    • Krista Ann says:

      My life has been so convoluted between hate, physical and emotional pain I find myself hurting others rather than healing. I appreciate your kind words. Your the special women Leslie, keep up the great work and writtings.

      • Krista – I wish you could see you through my eyes. You are an angel. A healer. A voice of peace and compassion. Every day is a brand new opportunity to get it right. Please don’t get down on yourself. You are a blessing in my life. ❤

  4. Paula Kephart says:

    I talk about “normal” people a lot. I guess when I talk about “normal” people, I mean the other 95% – the heteronormative, cis-gendered folks – the non GLBTQ types – you know, “them”.

    I like the word “normal” because most people don’t really know what you are talking about when you use terms like “heteronormative” or “cisgendered”.

    Some of them are accepting of at least part of us “others”, some not so accepting, and in general, the better any of us can pass as “normal”, in general, the fewer hassles you get from people who don’t understand you.

    It’d definitely be nice to not have gender be this all consuming thing in my mind – I definitely agree with you Leslie. But mostly I’d just like it if people stopped staring at me. To me, normalcy is sort of like invisibility – nobody notices you. Alas, for me, this has never happened, and never will.

    This is a great blog entry Leslie, I really enjoyed reading it, although I have to admit, when you made the “Sex and the City” reference, I immediately started to think of which of us corresponded to which character in the show, and while I desperately wanted to be Samantha, I’ve realized that I am, in fact, Charlotte. Dammit.

    I enjoyed the lunch a lot!

  5. Donna Flint says:

    Leslie, thank you so much for addressing the issue of “normal”. Having never been normal myself, I always feel like an outsider. High school dances were always a bit awkward. I wanted to be out dancing with the group of girls on the floor, girls who had sleep-overs and practiced dancing together, but it was one more areas where guys were unwelcome. Dance I did though, though as a couple rather than the group. I danced at home, especially when I was home due to illness. I would put a stack of records on, then dance dance dance.

    My high school class had a student body of 110 folks. Given the general distribution of 95%, I wonder who the other 5 “non-normal” folks are. I could guess a couple, but in our small town with no diversity at all there was very little tolerance for not being normal.

    Anyway, thank you for another great blog entry.

    Cheers,
    Donna

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