Thursday, June 4, 2020
Wow. Such a powerful message for me and those like me.
Cis-gender women and transgender women are both female, but our life experiences differ radically. Cis-women take their gender for granted; being female to them is like breathing air, normal and unquestioned. In sharp contrast, trans-women worry deeply about "proving" our stated gender. We often feel like we have to be hyper-feminine and stereotypical in our presentation to establish a right to female-hood. We're anxious about being accused of being insufficiently feminine and, thus, not genuinely female. But, as you certainly know, all women are women no matter how feminine or unfeminine they are. A masculine woman is still a woman and every person has the right to choose where they exist on the spectrum of masculinity/femininity.
Having the freedom to make that choice without having your gender-identity challenged is vital. One can't live in fear of the judgment of others. And, honestly, our gender is what it is, independent of the opinions of strangers. Their view is based solely on the superficial criteria of physical appearance.
op-ed written by a woman who transitioned twenty years ago. She wrote some things that resonated with me. Like this...
"When I began transitioning, I perceived the reality of womanhood only from outside and felt the need to embody an idealized femininity to feel like a woman among women. But over time, I’ve come to realize that every woman — whether transgender or cisgender — evolves a unique perception of herself, one that need not conform to any specific model of what a woman should be. Whether I grow my hair or cut it short, wear makeup every day or none at all, it would be an expression of the specific woman I am at that point in time. Making those judgments for myself is at the core of why I transitioned to be a woman in the first place: to express my gender how I want to, regardless of society’s expectations."
Looking into a mirror, she makes the point with her final line -- "I was a woman no matter how I looked or acted, because as long as gender matters to the world, I will always be a woman to myself."
Yup. And when it comes to appearing in public, "there's no wrong way to be a woman."