Friday, September 19, 2014

Do You Understand the Transgender Experience?

This week I met up with one of my favorite CD girls in Union Square.  She had delivered to my place a wig she purchased online so as not to have her wife accidentally open the package and in turn discover her cross dressing secret. We strolled a bit as we chatted about what it feels like to experience life as a cross dresser.  She shared with me her wife's reaction to having watched the documentary Lady Valor. Let's just say it was not very positive.

Lady Valor is a documentary that looks at the life of an ex navy seal who after retiring from 20 years of service decided to transition from Chris Beck to Kristin Beck.  My friend's wife did not "get it," she simply didn't understand the transition. To top it off she found the idea of a man transitioning into a woman a bit appalling. She shared this with my friend not knowing that he occasionally cross dresses in secret.

This was one of two stories I've heard this week about someone not "getting it." The other story came form one of my Trans Facebook friends who shared a brief story with me. Turns out she, being a genetic male presenting as a man, was at a party when he told a genetic female that he identifies as a Female. Needless to say the genetic woman didn't "get it."

This is how my friend explained it to me:

"That although I was born a genetic male, which is what she saw at the party, I identify myself as female, and have the same emotional needs as a genetic female, not a genetic male (I used this rather vague terminology to maintain the proper decorum, and a platform to begin our discussion). Then, the conversation took a surprising turn. She was having an incredibly difficult time understanding why I looked and acted male at the party, while I was explaining to her how I was a Transgender woman (it was obvious at this point that she had little if any experience with the issues Transgender women face on a daily basis, but I was polite and responsive). I told her, that having experienced life from a unique perspective (being physically assaulted for being Transgender on more than one occasion), I learned to become a chameleon of sorts, and adjust my look and attitude according to the situation. After several contorted facial expression and an absolute disbelief in what I was saying or how I felt, it was time to go. You see Adrian, for some people if the cover doesn’t match the book, they become confused."

I totally get both sides of this scene. This is a great topic, because I believe here is where the bridge of understanding can be built between trans and non-trans individuals.

My friend's party story reminds me of a post I wrote in March of last year titled "Are you Living a Lie?"

An excerpt from that post:

Now think of a crossdresser, a guy that enjoys dressing up like a woman. A large number of crossdressers and those folks who WITNESS how crossdressers behave, feel as if there must be something terribly wrong with crossdressers. They think that crossdressers are out of touch with reality, that they are FAKE, and that clearly they are not being their "authentic self."

I go on to say:

The problem with crossdressing, if at all, is not so much with crossdressing since the act is harmless, but the issue lies with how crossdressing is viewed. There is an invisible realm that non-crossdressers can't see. To the outside world a crossdresser is a man dressed as a women, but in the internal world of the crossdresser the crossdresser experiences the world differently. Crossdressers can FEEL the difference within themselves when they are dressed as female.

I recommend you read the whole post. click HERE

Another post I wrote that goes hand in hand with this topic is the one I discuss Time, Place, Manner click How to Crossdress in Public

It can certainly be challenging for a CD or a Trans individual (in any stage of development) to explain what LIFE FEELS LIKE to someone who doesn't share the same sensibilities. I believe reminding all folks that there is an internal world of emotion and states of being is always a great place to start. They might not understand a Trans individual's life experience on a superficial level but they just might start seeing us all as human.

Or if that's too hard you can show them this video and get a good chuckle together.