Rationalising myself for myself.

Okay folks, this one could be a little triggering for other transfolk, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Also don’t comment just to give me hassle over my personal use of a given word, or term.

Well, I’m a transwoman.  That’s kind of obvious huh?  I mean what with my blogs tagline saying it and everything.  But I figured I’d just throw it out there for anyone who hasn’t figured it out yet.

Unlike, what seems to be,  a lot of gender variant people I happily use labels.  After all I’m a writer and labels are a major part of my stock in trade. When I write any piece, fictional or not, I use a series of labels to describe people.  Fictional and even factual people usually fall into a combination of two or more archetypes.  “Archetype” being, for me, just another word for “Label for a given character type”.  Labels aren’t inherently bad, just like truth, justice and sex, whether it’s good or bad comes down to personal perspective and usage.

So Amanda, where are you going with this?

Well, I think in labels.  Which is handy as a writer, but a nightmare as someone who doesn’t really fit many labels.  My transition (the act of transitioning from one gender expression to another), initially began as a journey from living as male to living as a woman.  I felt pretty clearly in my mind that I was female, and that pretending to be male was killing me by inches, so changing gender was the best option available to me.  But a couple of years in I was hit by a personal problem with my transition.

I was Amanda, very definitely Amanda, but half way to what is often the end goal of male to female transition, gender reassignment surgery (GRS), I didn’t want to go any further.  And for a person who deals with labels the whole time, who thinks in labels the whole time, that left me with a problem.  What am I?

I am female, a very tomboyish female, but female none the less.  My passport says female, my wardrobe says…well it says trashy goth-girl a lot of the time, but still female.  But here I am quite happy to have what someone once described as a meat strap-on, and more over, I’m pretty damned happy to use it.  You see, I don’t see Miss Happy as being a male piece of flesh, I mean a few snips and a bit of jiggery-pokery and I would have a pretty little kitty of my own.  But the thing is for me GRS would be a let down.

This is for two reasons.

Firstly it would come down to the Porsche Boxster effect.  Imagine you bought a Boxster, you easily had the extra few grand needed to buy a full-blown 911, or even a 911 Turbo, but you decided to buy the Boxster.  Then one day on a three lane road you’re at the traffic lights.  You’re feeling pretty damn good, you’re sitting in your Porsche and life is pretty nifty, when what pulls up next to you on the left but a 911, then on the right up pops a Turbo.  That’s gotta be a pretty shitty feeling.  That sinking feeling that you’re so close to automotive perfection, and yet you’re so frikkin’ far away.

Well for me, NOTE I SAID “FOR ME“, that’s GRS in a nutshell.  So close to the natally assigned equipment but just that one, utterly, impossible step away.  Or to put it another way, if there’s a surgery that will let me bear children of my own, I’ll have it.  But there isn’t so I’m buggered if I’ll risk my life for a surgery, which, again, for me will only lead to a genital version of the, Porsche Boxster effect.

The second reason I became dead-ended and thus a little confused, is the fact that after a lot of soul-searching I realised that I would be happiest of all as a true, functional hermaphrodite.  A natural  impossibility in human beings.  Yes intersex people do exist, that’s a different situation, but as far as I know there has never been a fully functional, true human hermaphrodite.  But in recent years I have read more and more accounts of people who have transitioned from one gender, and then purposely frozen midway.  Because that’s as close as they can bring their own bodies, to what for them is their ideal physical form.

And much to my own distress, I’m one of those people.

Let me now make something clear.  I wish I didn’t feel this way.  I wish I could have a complete transition and come out the other side with a body that fits my mind properly.  For one thing it would save me from a life filled with immense emotional pain.  But, I can’t.  When I close my eyes, what I think of as my internal body map, says that I should have a female set of equipment, but it also says I should still have my oversized clit as well. Even to me this sounds odd.  But when I think about not having my current equipment I get a sense of panick, but worse still when I think about never having a vagina I get precisely the same panick. And so I’m stuck in physiological limbo.  Neither physically male nor female, nor a true fusion of both.  Neither one thing nor the other or even the other…other.

Which brings me back to labels and then the title of this post.  As a writer I use labels constantly.  The man, the gay man, the woman, the lesbian, the puppy, the beagle puppy, the beagle puppy running away with my best pen, etc.  So while a lot of people rage and campaign against them, I actually like them.  They’re just words, a way to denote difference between one thing and another thing in a literary sense.  Though of course people do tend to turn labels into weapons, when they feel the need to punish one group or another for the heinous crime of existing. And that should be stamped out.  But over all labels can be useful.

But my automatic use of labels, led me for a while to a place where I despaired.  There are no labels in the English language to describe me.  My native language, the language I use as both my canvas and paint, has no space within it for what I am.

Who I am is no problem.  I’m Amanda, lesbian and writer.  (yes I know technically the last two are “what” descriptions, but they’re also a large part of who I am).

But if you know the word for “male to physical hermaphrodite with a 90-95% female mind” I for one would love to know what it is.

So as we can see labels are important to Amanda Harper, but what’s with the title of the post?

Well I for one spend most of my life rationalizing things so that I can either understand or live with them.  For example to survive the after effects of the sexual abuse I went through as a child, I had to rationalise and thus make comprehensible, some of the ways my mind protected itself.  So my final realisation that I physically needed to be something impossible, required some interesting mental gymnastics to allow me to make it rational and thus survivable.

I won’t go through all the steps, because frankly this post is already over 1200 words long and I would like to be able to do something else today.  But the end result was the following.

I am Amanda, I am mentally and emotionally female, my body though seems to need to be both gendered or better yet be of no defined gender.  However since that is impossible and having GRS would just leave me in the same place but from the other direction, I will simply have an orchiectomy and enjoy being a punkish-gothy girl with a meat strap-on.

So now some of my dear readers are pulling their hair out in clumps, wondering what the point of this post was.

The point is this.  Your gender is your own property.  It doesn’t belong to the world.  It doesn’t belong to the state.  It’s an intrinsic part of who and what you are, and thus is actually one of the very, few things in your life that will ever truly belong to you.  What ever it may be you should be entitled to enjoy it, to love being it, to not have to spend years of your life doing mental gymnastics just so you can justify your own existence to YOURSELF.

So after years of self exploration I find myself within sight of my final destination.  Just a girl with a cock who loves other girls.  But because of the world I was born into, and the society I was indoctrinated into,  I will still find myself justifying myself, rationalizing me for me, just so I can live with who I am.

3 Comments to “Rationalising myself for myself.”

  1. Dear Amanda,
    Thank you so much for your frank and humble expressions! I, too, live and understand myself and the world through words. I can’t say I’ve ever had the sense of my body being a different gender for my mind (excuse my clumsy phrasing!). But I have life-long disabilities which used to make me feel that my body was not on my side. One of the things that has helped me integrate as a whole person is recognising my homosexuality (as opposed to bisexuality). I’ve only been with men, even men I have loved, when I haven’t loved myself. And the times when I realised that I was only attracted to other women are marked by a deep sense of my body being my own. We are, at a fundamental level, embodied selves. Social impositions of gender roles on particular body types are only an attempt to “rationalise” the infinite capacity of bodies for difference.
    Keep writing, keep speaking! The joy is in the journey.
    all the best,
    (aka Leitrim’s Favourite Blind Crippled Lesbian)

    • What a joke, I only just discovered that you commented on this post ALMOST A YEAR AGO! I never looked at this again until today. Shit, so sorry for the delayed reply. The comparison you used of disabilities, and the way that makes you feel almost like a stranger to your own body is actually very apt. And one I can also understand on a very personal level.

      Yep gender roles are definitely a way society tries to rationalise itself, and it’s not always a bad thing, but it doesn’t half make life a pain in the butt sometimes.

  2. Thanks for the brave article! I found your post when searching for resources for (what I call) non-op transgender folks.

    I have trouble connecting with the trans community. On one hand, I understand that non-ops are seen as diluting the issue for those fighting for transgender rights. On the other, I am resolved to not feel like a fraud, ashamed or delusional. I’ve been feeling rather isolated lately, and your words have given me a much needed break from my self-doubt. Again, thank you!

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