There are many challenges when it comes to changing one's lived gender in society. Mostly for transsexuals this is about 'passing', or being able to live one's gender without being mistaken for the other (with, unfortunately, potentially disastrous consequences in some settings). There are obvious challenges to this, particularly when people transition after puberty, because many (typically) visible physical attributes are different for males and females and most of these develop during puberty. Afterwards a great number of these changes are either difficult or impossible to reverse while the desired ones are difficult or impossible to achieve. But the perception of gender isn't just physical, it is behavioural as well, and when it comes to communication such things as the voice, one's language (linguistic as well as body-language), mannerisms and so many other things play into this.
The issue of "physical passing" is of major importance to a great number of transsexuals. However there are
a few things many tend to misunderstand. Most prominently I think that
transsexuals, when they start living their gender, in the beginning with
little experience, maybe with no medical treatment (facial surgery, HRT)
whatsoever, tend to
think that when they are being looked at questionably, maybe even
stared at, are being recognized as transsexuals (or being 'read'). I am
certain that this happens, sometimes, however "clearly visible
transsexuals" are so rare that most people who do not live in an
environment where transsexuality is common place (and that would be most
people out there) will not make this connection. So why
do they stare? Well, people in society are used to being presented
gender-unambiguous images. We learn this early on, pink for girls, blue
for boys. Later this gets reenforced through everything we see and much
of what we do ourselves. The media, images in movies, magazines,
advertising, does their share - we hardly ever see gender-ambiguous
people on billboards, do we? So what really happens is that people
look at us because we present gender-ambiguous - THIS IS UNUSUAL! The question on their
minds is not "is this person transsexual?", the question
really is "JUST WHAT IS THIS PERSON?".
|Another important fact which is often forgotten by
transsexuals is that in humans, especially women, come in all sizes and
shapes. In fact the visible variations in the female gender is a lot
larger than it is in the male gender - this goes for general
appearance as well as for specific body-features (including genitals).
There are several reasons for this, one being that the genetic and
visual variations in humans is greater than in just about any other
species right to start with, but also because the female body changes
considerably during pregnancy and childbirth.
As long as one falls anywhere within this large spectrum, one will be recognized and treated as a female!
There is however one thing that simply beats just
about anything else: Believe in yourself! If you are transsexual, you
are male or female because you feel that you are. LET OTHERS FEEL
This is a self-reenforcing positive circle: Live
yourself! Love doing it! Be proud that you do! AND SHOW IT BY LIVING