Hey all, this is in reference to the conversation [----] and I had tonight so if it doesn't make sense at first, just bear with me...
First of all, I'd like to go on record and say that I want to volunteer to speak with the state representatives to give my perspective on why we need a law that prevents discrimination in public places. That will require some amount of personal disclosure though.
I'll freely admit that I continually go against the grain in many ways. When I identified as transgender, what was most important to me was how I felt with myself. At the time, it wasn't a comfortable place for me because something was wrong and I didn't know what. Identifying the problem and putting a plan into place to do something about it gave me a sense of peace that I didn't have before. I don't have it today, but I outlined the steps I want to take, the order in which I want to take them and the end result I want to achieve. I am still, after two and a half years, at the pre-hormonal stage. I don't want anyone to think that my lack of advancement along my journey is an indication of how little I want to do it, it's merely that I've decided to focus my funds on my education for the time being.
Over time, though, what I learned is that I can be comfortable in the body I have even though I don't enjoy it and would not have chosen it for myself. I see the male visage I present as just a temporary placeholder for the person who has been waiting, and will likely continue to wait. The one thing I didn't consider is that I didn't consider just how much people judge each other by their appearance. It's simply not enough to say you are transgender, you have to look the part and act like the gender you prefer. I find this regrettable because it's ultimately not about appearance, it's about an inner sense of self that you have. No matter what clothes you wear or how you choose to present yourself, if you say you are one gender, you should be able to be accepted as that gender. This is how I think.
[---] offered me a different perspective today, one which I'm grateful to have received. To some extent, I don't believe that we shouldn't have one set gender or the other. Yes, I think of myself as female and would like to live as such. But at the same time, it doesn't do any good walking around looking as anything but female and expect to be accorded privileges that females would normally get. Even if I don't believe in the gendered system our society has, most other people do and it's their rules we have to play by.
I will say, though, that the non-conforming rebellious streak in me will always be there. What I realized is that it's important to know where to direct those energies and in what form they have to take. To me, it should be enough to go up there dressed however I choose and explain my situation and they should see the logic of it. Yet I know this isn't how it works. Presentation is also important. I would like to change that part if I can, but for now we're all stuck with it.
I feel that we are either defined by our gender as society sees it or we take part in defining our gender with respect to society. In other words, we can do what other women do or we can take the chance we have in transitioning to create a whole new kind of person that doesn't necessarily conform to expected gender norms but is still nevertheless distinctly male or female. I have chosen to be in the second category of defining for myself what is female. This does not mean I am unwilling to accept input; instead, it merely means that if something doesn't work for me, I won't do it. In a somewhat feminist vein, I believe that if women choose not to shave their legs, they should still be accepted as women who have simply made a different choice. Societal ostracising, to me, is somewhat unfair and limiting. Freedom to choose for oneself becomes limited within a certain set of options that people other than yourself have put their stamp on. Thus, I then rationalize that I am a woman who has made a different choice: I choose to put my transition as a future plan and appear as male for now.
So, those are my thoughts regarding the whole "appear as you want to be perceived" thing. I have no problem appearing as female as best I can- with the understanding that I likely won't pass at all- if you all should decide to let me come on board with this plan you guys have. If not, that's okay too. I want to help wherever I can, so you all will have to let me know what's best. :)