A common criticism of trans women that I hear is that we’re essentially a parody of femininity. Basically the complaint is that we go over-the-top feminine. That it seems a lot like we’re just pretending.
But I was really pretending before I came out.
I tried so hard to be a “real man”. I wore a thick beard. I consciously dropped my voice heavily. I remember being so conscious of things as seemingly nonsensical as my walk. I’d think to myself, “shit I’m shaking my hips too much” and try to “correct” myself.
I’d even feign interest in “manly” things and disinterest in “girly” things.
Basically, I was a really bad parody of a man.
I ended up being really jealous of other guys who it seemed like masculinity came so easily to. This created a lot of issues in my relationships. But of course I never felt “man enough”. Because I wasn’t one to begin with.
Everything I did before I came out was so calculated. And yeah I know this seems kind of odd to a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of people out there who claim to not see gender. Who are confused by why we can’t just be our authentic selves without the need for silly labels.
And I have to agree to a certain extent. Labels are stupid. But in a society where we’re constantly told to “man up”, it’s kind of hard not to constantly check our identities when they go against everything we’ve been taught to believe is right.
In a way, I think most of us are parodying one thing or another. We’re social animals who live in a judgmental society. Everyone is parodying something. Most cis dudes parody masculinity as poorly as I use to. Plenty of cis women parody femininity as poorly as people seem to think trans women do. Republicans are a really bad parody of conservativism, and give the rest of us a really bad name.
Really it seems like people only “notice” our hyperfemininity because they become so hyper aware of everything we do after they find out we’re trans. I mean if you pay attention to anything hard enough you’ll find all kinds of discrepancies if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.
The thing is though, I’ve never felt so at ease than I do since coming out. I mean I basically just act myself. The other night a friend commented on how I was passing really well. I was a whole lot of shots and beers in (it was New Years Eve, after all) and I absolutely was not pretending to be anything. I was walking however I felt like walking. And naturally speaking softly (while carrying a big stick).
Like I wasn’t consciously altering my voice. I was just speaking however felt comfortable. But apparently that’s when I “pass” the best. When I’m not even thinking about it. When I’m just being myself. It’s so incredibly freeing to not be constantly checking myself. I always had to try so hard to be a guy. But I don’t have to try at all to be a woman. I just am.