trans talk

Transvestites and crossdressers

transvestites&crossdressers
mean the same thing but sure as fuck transvestites and crossdressers are not one and the same.

Basically, anyone donning clothing because such clothing is associated with that of the other gender is crossdressing.  Doing the action doesn’t necessarily make one a crossdresser.  And though the terms are interchangeable, some are highly offended at being referred to as transvestite rather than crossdresser and vice versa.

Why?
Perhaps because when the word transvestite first appeared, deriving sexual pleasure from crossdressing was part of its definition whereas the fetishistic element is no longer associated with its definition.
Simply put, the transvestite or crossdresser label— it’s personal.
Respect.

As requested, I attempt to name transvestite actors or musicians.

Boy George could do some fierce makeup and crossdressed here and there.  In the States, I remember my favorite childhood band, Nirvana, and Kurt Cobain sure did rock some dresses (very endearing, btw).  Eddie Izzard is probably the most famous (Executive haha) transvestite in the West but I’m hard-pressed to find other examples of dedicated cross dressers.  Sure, many actors and/or musicians crossdress but it’s rare that it continues after the role or performance.

Interestingly, in Japan, crossdressers have always been a part of popular culture, especially on TV.  There’s an expression, talento, that serves as a catch-all for B and C-list celebrities, be they comedians, musicians, actors etc. who are also on any number of Japanese variety shows (think a cross between Celebrity Jeopardy! and The View) most nights.  And you can always count on the token popular transvestite personality du jour (Matsuko Deluxe) as a regular on said show.  Aside from the made-up-for-TV-ultra-glam transvestite, many guys crossdress in Japan.  Skirts on men aren’t an anomaly on Tokyo streets, makeup for men is a thing that’s not just for a fringe group and here’s an interesting article regarding one aspect of crossdressing from RocketNews24.  The old man with pigtail-beard-braids in the schoolgirl uniform is a noted figure in Tokyo who makes quite the rounds at trans parties (and he’s so damn cute).

Although public crossdressing in the States is relegated to drag queen culture, in Japan it is a much more seamlessly integrated part of popular culture.  There are degrees to which one can crossdress without anyone giving two shits whereas in the States there seems to be a stringent need to categorizecompartmentalize, classify.

In the States:
Wait, you cross dress but you’re not a drag queen?  Or gay?  Hold up, you’re a transvestite and straight? (Research indicates that this is actually the case for the vast majority of transvestites).
No.  No.  Yes.
What. The. Fuck.

Whereas in Japan:
Your hair is so long!  Are you using a special shampoo?  And where did you get that skirt?!
Nah, I just brush it a lot and I got this at Parco (big department store), ladies department.

 

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relationshipping

Reboot

Reboot

 

and reconsider.

So, I have yet to live on my own.
My first long-term relationship was with my roommate.

I remember a conversation on a couch…
“Are we going to regret this?”
“Regret what?”
“That we’ve never…dated…you know?”
“Hmm…I guess…I don’t know.  We go on dates...
“That’s not what I mean.  Will we regret never having had a proper courtship?  The dating period, having our own places, choosing— really choosing— to live together.”

I feel a little hollow and all I can articulate is, “Oh.”
Followed with, “Well, do you want to?  Live apart, I mean.  I’m sure we can find a way out of this lease, figure something out…”
But it feels like a big fat lie I’m spouting for all the effort and cash it’s going to cost.  Let’s be real.  We’re 21 years old, in Manhattan and just forked a fat wad of monies for this proper one-bedroom apartment not even a month ago.  The entire reason we’re living together is because it’s convenient and cost-effective.  Well, there’s love too.

I look at her and see concern and consternation.
Which makes me pause, doubt, rethink.

Maybe we I should seriously reconsider this.  This is a point of no return of sorts; even my pseudo-adult self knows that undoing, retreating, detaching is always more exhausting a process than getting over the shock, hurt, adjustment in the present.

“Hmm…I-I wonder if…what do you think?  For real?  I know it’d be a shit process but I don’t want you to regret this.”
We’re silent.
We’re exhausted.
We’re not even unpacked.

I roll a spliff because it’s what I do in these uncomfortable moments when heavy uncertainty clouds the air.  Getting high isn’t the goal as it’s the calm within the routine I seek.  Like ironing.

But we get high.  I look at the cat stretching in the windowpane sun squares on the hardwood floor and take in my familiar surroundings: colorful furniture we hand-painted last year, schools of soft plastic, blue Jedi goldfish gathered on ceiling corners, a beautiful, delicate orchid that we hope will make it, post-jostling move (a ‘grown-up present’ from her parents given a few months ago, her 21st birthday) and the art on the walls that comfort in their familiarity.

We’ve laid a touching foundation for our home.
We get sentimental, talk of not wanting to live apart because the love and like in the moment is worth risking cohabitation-induced regret and/or speeding up a breakup.

We show our youthful naiveté.

***

I live alone for an entire three months before a roommate enters the triplex my ex and I shared in the South.  Then I get a boyfriend and it seems the most sensible choice for him to stay with me during our crazy honeymoon phase because he lives a state away.  Our first night together is our last night apart for at least a year, when he leaves for some cowboy-Montana-ranch thing.  In the span of three years, we can count the number of nights we spend apart.  On two hands.

This boyfriend, my current ex-girlfriend and wife, and I realize our cohabitation time is coming to a definitive end in Tokyo.
I contemplate my words regarding personal space:
I need to have a place to call my own, to fill with objects of my own choosing, to maintain as I like without considering somebody else.
I have never lived alone.
I resent this inexperience.

But.

The luxury of daily emotional support from my ex/best friend/wife/roommate in spite of challenging fights and moments of high emotion is not lost on me.
Nor is the fact that I am kept alive through alcohol poisoning and nursed through a recent Dengue Fever because of her.
There is an ideological shift.

I consider my past, how my natural inclination is to share my life with the ones I love.
Cohabitation.
It’s what I do and I’m starting to think it’s the way I live my life.

 

P.S. Reader requested topics: I’m working on it!

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relationshipping

Happy September, year 3

year 3
The winds have changed in Tokyo, seemingly overnight.
The skies that were muffled in grey and dropping rain show fall’s turn and reveal a remarkably clear blue sky; the inescapable light reiterates that I live on an island.

America is about back-to-school excitement amidst a Labor Day weekend as Japan doggedly goes back to its school/work routine now that summer vacations are undeniably over.

I sit and contemplate what to write.

It’s quiet.
Insanely quiet for a city that is the most populous in the world.  The sliding doors are open to let in crisp, post-rain air and I have yet to hear a car honk but I can hear their tires on the pavement.

It’s been 2 years in this city, on this island.
I told myself I would wait 2 years before I cast judgment on Tokyo because:
Year 1 would be new and full of adjustments: culture shock, exploration, figuring out everything (turns out I would focus more on figuring out my relationship as S transitions).
Year 2 would allow for a sinking in of the former (or The Breakup Year).

Year 3… seems to have a full-circle theme.
I consider a recent Saturday: S and I go out to a trans party-event, we meet up with our respective good friends and the person I’m seeing is welcomed by S.  This last bit is huge, as friendliness between them has been a HELL. OF. A challenge, with 100% animosity coming from S for quite a while.  Regardless of the why, the turnaround is a notable event.  The last time S and I were out together it was disastrous so this night is significant progress.

We move on.

The arc of a new story has broken, as evidenced by impending events:
S’s BF will visit from the states, during which time I will check in to a separate apartment and check out a new Tokyo hood.
New significant people, new locations and potential moves begin to beckon.

Current mood: curious and anxious for future tidings.

 

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trans talk

A variation

variation

 

on an unrequited love theme:

Him: I like her.  A lot.  And the fact that she has a penis?  Hotttt.
Her: How do I know I’m not just a fetish object if he’s so damned turned on by my penis?

A conundrum, indeed.

It’s not just about the body parts, it’s not objectification but a turn-on is a turn-on.  Historically, it seems that anything that deviates from the publicly broadcast hetero-norm (ahem homosexuality) is quickly labeled deviant or a fetish.
How conveniently dismissive.
How fucking willingly ignorant.

I sit at a trans bar as my friend crushes on this beautiful-cute woman.
“So…how do you describe your sexual identity these days?”
“I say I’m bisexual.”

I look at him, confused, and we simultaneously blurt:
“But I—you’re not.”

“Right?”
“Right.”

“But what do I say?”
“Hmm…you’re not gay.”

“I’m not gay.  I like women.  I just, you know…”
“Yeah, I know.”
“So do we say transwoman-oriented?”

It’s a tough, lonely world for transsexuals.
But.
In a sad twist of irony, it’s pretty lonely for those who are trans-oriented as well.

I hold this thought and questions happen.

Then I hear S in my head: What’s the point, if he wants me pre-op and my entire aim is to eventually have SRS?
He wants her to stay as she is, honing in on the one thing that causes her enormous grief.

Okay, so probably she ought not date a pre-op-trans-oriented individual but to assume that those who show interest are probably fetishising her for their fun time isn’t the fairest attitude.  People want romantic relationships and usually it’s best with those who turn us on sexually.

And what about the inevitable pre/post-op question?
(Or is she undecided?)
Asking this upfront is an awesome way to lose and get dismissed as a prying fetishist.
Besides, it’s really about getting to know her.
A-n-d…sometimes, say, even though pre-op is usually his type, it doesn’t matter so much when he discovers she’s had SRS.
Because he likes her.  A lot.

They don’t know about lasting into the future but in the here and now, they’re happy.
Maybe they’ll try a happily ever after, maybe it’ll be a damn fine chapter, maybe they’ll make each other shudder in the next six months.

Either way, the romantic in me wants them to have the story.

 

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random love, trans talk

A simple come on

come on
Sometimes it’s like this:
The woman carefully examines the art on the walls of a classic, white gallery cube-style room.  There’s no perceivable order to her perusals but from time to time a smile breaks through as her eyes dart across the canvas, stopping for seconds at particular points of interest: brilliantly saturated color contrast, curious manipulations of media, abstracted sex.

She doesn’t fit in with the usual museum guests; she’s not here killing toddler time yet it’s in the middle of a weekday afternoon…what kind of work does she do?  Does she work?

It’s a quiet day, she’s the only one in this room and there’s something about her that compels me to say something.
Anyt-h-i-n-g.

“Where are you from?”
“Oh…hi.  I’m from around here but I don’t live here anymore, just visiting.”

She holds my gaze for a second then goes back to the work.  She really digs this guy’s art; she must, as she’s oblivious to everything else around her.  I try to take my eyes off her but the floor vents make the hem of her dress flit and tease up, which makes me need distractions, bodies squinting and peering too close to wall labels, daring to touch frames and beyond.  Basically, I need to be working the Van Gogh room.

She’s disappeared into another room and soon she will have gone through this exhibit.
Shit.  Why do I need to talk to her?
I just do.

“My name’s Mike.”
Why I’m reaching out to shake her hand, I don’t know.  Except when her cool hand clasps mine, it’s awesome and her smile is everything.  I want to take her out but that’s out of the question.  I’m lucky she doesn’t see me as a creepy museum guard with stalker potential.

“I just need to tell you how beautiful you are.”
The words that make me sound like a maybe-douche just fall out, I never come on like this.  Maybe it’s knowing that she’s just passing through town, maybe it’s something about her that reads detached openness.  At least I know her name.  And making her smile is incredible.

***

And sometimes it’s like this:
I sit in café.  I don’t give shit for coffee but inside, there is A/C.  August heat makes me sweat before I leave apartment.  I look at people, of course the women.  No one here is my type: too skinny, too much make-up, too much trying to be perfect for fun, I think.  Then I see her— curls, dark brows and beautiful eyes.  I study her, try to catch her eye.  I smile.

Nothing.
Damn.
I try again.

This time small smile.  Good.  I go to her table and try small talk.  I look closer at her and I start wondering…
“Maybe this is odd question, but are you shemale?”
Uh-oh, she doesn’t like this.  But it’s just wondering.

“I don’t mean it bad, I think you are pretty.”
I have offended her?

 

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trans talk

She gets jealous

jealous post

and it’s really fucking cute.

But also, the fuck?!
This is unexpected.  When she was my boyfriend, he didn’t have an iota of jealousy in him.  I tested his J-meter: nada.

So what gives?
Becoming female.  With boyfriend.

He’s a really good guy, one who doesn’t shy from expressing feelings of love and hurt.  He freely compliments her physical and mental everything as he feels it, which is pretty damn often…so sweet, new love.  Insecurity doesn’t exist, yet as soon as she hears another female in the background, a knee-jerk response articulates: Who’s that?  She surprises herself with this iteration— a serious first— but in that moment her heart can’t help but feel a possessive tug and a quick flash-beat of disquiet.

As she tells me this, I can’t help but quietly wow at the psychological change I’m witnessing; for a split second my emotional whirlpool produces a thin line of sadness, reminiscing that I never did trigger this kind of possessive want from him.  But that was a different time, a different relationship, a different person.  I snap out of my flashback moment and smile; the woman before me is a changed individual, indeed.

Which leads me to another funny-cute moment of late.

S is really popular with the boys, especially Americans from the West Coast.
“So he’d fly me out to visit him.”
“Wow, S…he’s really into you.”
“Yeah…but I’m not so into him.”
“Oh?”
“Umm…squirmy gaze avoidance…”

I wait.
This is going to be good as she’s rarely shy around me.

“He’s trans.”

Oh.  Interesting.

“Except he doesn’t even fully realize it yet but he totally is.  I think that’s partly why he likes me so much.”

Head cocked, slow smile, raised eyebrow.

“Shut up, Rumi!”

I continue to look at her, put my hands up and shrug to show amused non-judgment.

“Look, I can’t be with a transsexual.  I have no interest.  Plus…he has the whole coming out and transition process ahead of him and…I just…can’t.  He needs so much support, I’d feel like I was his…mother.”

At this point I’m outright smirking as S tells me to shut it for the nth time.
We can’t help but bust out laughing as she’s heard those exact words come out of my mouth when we were going through a painful break up.

“I get it, Rumi.  I thought I did then but I really get it.”

I get that life is often full-circle but shit, I wasn’t expecting that one just yet.
Sure does give me a smile moment…significant changes.

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random love, relationshipping, trans talk

Why do you blog?

teehee
Asks a dear friend recently.

Hmm…

The why changes.
In the beginning, it was a way to deal with too many changes.

Because life, y’all:
BF, whom I thought I’d spend quite the future with, tells me he’s a cross dresser as our plans to move out of the country are finalized.  Tokyo minus 5 months and he has come out as transsexual.  Once we’re moved, visas, leases, laws, jobs— everything, basically, must be negotiated and conducted in a fairly foreign language.  Add to that hormones, transitioning, open relationship, re-identifying sexual identity— oh Jesus, this is ridiculous.

Enter blog.
There’s a certain accountability when I hit ‘Publish’ even though I feel anonymous as fuck; in the back of my mind, I know this record will remain.  So I’m forced to be more considerate, analytical, objective; these things in turn bring clarity.  And instead of simply boo-hooing (awesome readers aren’t going to stick around for a yawn pity party), the blog encourages me to laugh at myself.

Because truth:
I cry.  (A. Lot.)
And humor— it’s important.

These days I’m not conflicted about how to navigate a relationship as my partner transitions.  We are no longer together though we’re married (it helps a visa) and we’ve mostly come out the other side of a challenging breakup.  Our romantic ending has been messy and there have been many emotionally frustrating moments that I’ve documented here— cohabitation post break up, enough said.

Soon we will be living our independent lives and separate chapters will begin.
On which continent, in which country, neither of us know.
It scares me sometimes.
Her too.

And this blog?
Though it’s impossible for me to be in a relationship like I was with S, one which prompted this blog, I’ll continue to share stories about my oddball adventures.  There’s no shortage to the delightfully unique company I keep and trust that S will keep me updated about her most recent exploits en route to finding The One.

I started this as a release and coping mechanism.
I’ll continue because the share and response is another meaningful slice in this very short life.
Because it’s not real unless you share it.
And I’m a sucker for processing.

 

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