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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trans talk

Standards of the Double Sort

In an effort to mix things up and maintain the original focus of this blog, Rumi and I have decided that I should be a guest-writer for every 50th blog post. Kudos to Rumi on her dedication to maintaining this blog on the regular as well as clear improvement in her writing as a result of it. Happy 100th post, Rume!*


The title of this post stems from the blooming of my awareness of all of the double standards that exist between men and women, and how much more perceivable they are on one side of the path than the other, as well as how I feel about those differences. On the one hand, everyone should be treated equal, right? Well sure…but is being treated the same the same as being treated equally? I’ve come to realize that while some of the double standards that I had an active disapproval of when living as a male, are actually some of the very things that tickle me pink and bemuse me on a regular basis.

Since transitioning, I’ve put a fair amount of thought into both the blatant and more subtle ways in which I’m treated differently by the people around me. While some of the changes are welcome, some others I’ve encountered have elicited reactions within me which range from mild surprise to outright disbelief. One thing that certainly bears mentioning is the dichotomy of treatment I received while actively and openly transitioning at the school I attended here in Tokyo as well; a sort of elective recognition of sorts, both frustrating and validating at times.

As for some of the more subtle differences, I would have to say that most have been pleasant, if not necessarily positive. People from all walks of life began to smile at me as I walked by. I started to get heckled by certain types of men. Compliments about my outfits and style from women were received. I also found that getting ready (for work/to go out/to go on a date) was no longer a chore but an adventure, and while that is more of a personal revelation, it’s worth it’s weight in typeface.

After having reached the somewhat rocky plateau of being ‘mostly’ recognized as a woman in public, it seemed that I had never before realized the divergent nature of people. Women became simultaneously more open and accessible to approach and speak to, as well as seemingly less interested in me, while being far, far more critical of my appearance. It was a strange sensation to have women smile at my approach and face me as opposed to being ‘on guard’ for harassment, undesired flirting, or fear of some form of physical ill-treatment, while watching their body language shift to the defensive and exclusionary. Men, on the other hand, became much, much more polite. When they weren’t being obscenely direct and inappropriate, that is.

Perhaps the most acute feeling I’ve experienced in regards to this has been the loss of my male privilege coupled with the major backslide into perceived hedonism and outcast status, to some. Fortunately, most, if not all of that has run its course at this point, although I have no way of knowing if that would remain the case were I to return to the West. During transition, or at least the more obvious physical portions of it, I was the subject of many a stare, gawk, and double-take. Then there were  the looks I received when I handed my ID over for various reasons, and the inevitable questions that followed. Let’s not forget the flak I received at the airport and the looks of disapproval and outright disgust from elderly people, either.

The individuals who operated my school in Tokyo, to their credit, made several successions on my behalf that they had no precedent for at the time. They allowed me to not only use my chosen name on all of my school work, but even went so far as to have a small meeting with all of the teachers to ensure that they used the proper pronouns and called me by that name only in class (this was kind of big deal as many other people requested to be called by various nicknames, but were denied, even to the point of a shortened version of their actual names). After I stopped wearing men’s clothing completely, I was allowed to use the women’s restrooms. Occasionally, some teachers attached ‘-chan’ (a suffix used for women, girls, very young boys, pets, and all things cute) to my name. Conversely, there were moments which truly made me feel left out and less-than. When I signed up for a soccer ball kicking competition, after being pressed because there weren’t enough people signing up, my name was placed on the men’s list (after leaving school in the middle of the day crying, I was later allowed to kick with the girls and was given a formal apology by the staff member who placed me there). I was told that I should join the tea ceremony class, but when I asked if they actually had a kimono(the female garments) to fit me, there were pressed lips, shared glances, and was told perhaps I shouldn’t do it after all (don’t mess with their traditions!!).

As strange as it may sound, as a transsexual woman, although I feel it is very nearly my ‘duty’ to oppose the very idea of social gender roles and expectations, I coincidentally subscribe to those very concepts. Whether this is a product of my very nature, or my desire for social validation, I can’t properly say. What I can say is that I enjoy being treated ‘like a woman’, and all that entails. I enjoy when men offer to carry something for me, or any other common chivalric behaviors. I enjoy, in a strange way, it being assumed that I am going to take forever and a day to get ready (this is actually true). I enjoy having my appearance complimented first and my skills and aptitudes second. It pleases me when other women ask me for appearance checks or fashion advice. I even find it pleasant when my general way of being loose with my affections has garnered me a reputation of being a certain level of slutty.

A thing that I can say with certainty though: While I have endured much pain, self-loathing, despair, listlessness, and a slew of other negative emotions in regards to my transsexualism, I have come to realize that I wouldn’t trade it for being cisgender. This is more of a recent revelation, although one made with conviction. I can honestly say that very few individuals in this life are given (take?) the experience of walking on two very distinct, and yet surprisingly similar at times, paths. The strange and entirely unique spin it has given my perspective is…priceless. I mean…how many people do you know that have had the opportunity to sashay into a party in a little black dress and towering stilettos and also play Offensive Tackle?

 

*Thanks S!  I appreciate your enlightening share and am curious as to how your perspective will continue to shift.  Cheers!

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trans talk

Stare a little harder

Everyone's feels guiltywhy don’t you?

Or you could be the asshole on the train who yells at S, “Are you a man or a woman?!”
And keeps at it*.
She lets him know— in his native Japanese— that he’s being offensively rude**.
Then puts in her earbuds, volume high and tries to ignore his bulging frog-eyes and limpdick stare.
He comes closer.
She changes seats.
He follows.
She walks to another train car.
This dude is an insistent fuck.
She keeps walking.
He stops.  And stares through the sliding door glass separating the cars.

S went from holding the highest seat of privilege— white, heterosexual male to bisexual transsexual, which is about as drastic a drop as possible on the sexual-gender identity hierarchy.  As S goes from looking unmistakably male to slightly androgynous to very androgynous to fairly female to undeniably woman, visibility is an unexpected but oft-mentioned word in our household.  It’s amazing how visible she feels and how it highlights and detracts from her goal of invisibility.

I remember a time in the States when S said a friend of hers had stopped by my vintage pop-up shop.  She was with her boyfriend and S proceeds to describe them.  I have no memory of this couple.  She keeps describing them and I think I remember the guy.  But her friend, his girlfriend?  No recollection.  S smiles, satisfied.  Her friend has attained the ultimate goal— to go unnoticed or in this case, to simply be a woman in the background.

Transition is hard and the hate— wow.  The true feelings behind curious looks, stares and gawks are easily felt.  I’ve discerned the varying degrees of judgement over the years, stemming from racial, homosexual or most recently, transsexual prejudice.  And over the years my danger radar has been honed—it’s a matter of safety after identifying this bigotry.

How safe am I?
Is she?
Are we?

*Of course no one pipes in and gives support because that’s Tokyo hesitation and apathy for you; this happens in many scenarios, whether the person is a victim of harassment or physical injury.

** A tough thing about Japanese being my non-native language in this mostly polite society: I do not have an arsenal of situationally appropriate comebacks.  This drives me mad at moments.  Because sure, a cutting look can shut down many assholes but there are moments where there is no substitute for whip-smart articulation.

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random love

It’s not fair

This is personalthat it costs this much for me to exist.

No, it’s not.

She means it’s not fair to me and our joint finances.
I mean it’s not fucking fair that the world we live in is such a place that her transition and maintenance costs what it does.

I feel ranty.

Here we go:
The crossroads of cancer, mental illness, ERs, ambulances, lab fees, hormones, disability, coverage, prescription medicine and freedom of choice have left me incredibly pessimistic about health and care and democracy.
In America.

Terminal illness with ‘awesome’ insurance means the drugs that could prolong death for a few weeks still cost $500/pill.  The system is one where disability can go through…just doesn’t mean it will happen before the applicant dies.
Go bureaucracy.

S’s monthly hormones become an increasingly uphill battle; because it’s not difficult enough living in a world with zero laws protecting transsexuals, let alone rights.
LGB……………………T

Emergency medicine is a scary Medusa-head all its own.  It really sucks to have a monetized statement that makes one feel like they’ll be paying for their life for the rest of their life.
Existing=living above one’s means?!

And that’s not even mentioning health maintenance.

Motherfuck y’all, I don’t believe in American health insurance.
I have zero trust in medicine, which is really sad as I believe in science and technology but those pharmaceutical companies feel so damn dirty.
I believe in x-rays and sonograms and the more dimensions of the latter, the better.
I believe in keeping stress at bay and vitamin-B shots.
I believe in hydration and safer sex.
I believe in exercise and education.

I don’t even believe in lab results.
They test my urine and say it can only be classified as NON-HUMAN because there aren’t enough proteins.  They ask/accuse me if I substituted my urine.  Jesus fucking the Virgin Mary because it hurts so good, NO.  I did not trap my dog’s urine.

And no, life isn’t fair.
If life were fair, there wouldn’t be blind people, said one of the most smart(ass) men I’ve ever met.

But isn’t that why this democracy thing exists?
To help balance the naturally occurring challenges that happen to every single one of us?

I feel so 1984 pre-bubble bursting optimistic but we’re only as strong as the weakest among us, right?
And so many are in a weakened position.

Fuck the marginalization.
Fuck fucking each other over.

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trans talk

Did I ever tell you

HOW can you think it will stay the samethe first time I saw S en femme?

***

She is so nervous.  So much so that the first time I’m supposed to see her as a lady, she can’t do it.  So we put it off for a few days.

S is afraid I will reject her, judge her, dismiss her very early steps into transitioning.
I have my own insecurities.

Will I instantly feel differently towards her?
What will my reaction be?
Will my face give away any number of emotions- disappointment, relief, apprehension, rejection- that hit my heart?

I text her a heads-up and slowly make my way home.

Usually when I enter the house, I receive an insta-greet but tonight, we are both beyond trepidatious.  I have to call out; she’s nowhere in sight.  She’s in the bathroom, readying, steadying herself to come out.

It’s one thing to tell me she’s trans.  It’s another thing when I see evidence in the way of heels, makeup, clothes strewn about.  It’s another league of confrontation when I am about to see him attired undeniably as a female.

I am so anxious, I feel queasy.
I tell myself to calm it because odds are, S is more nervous than me.

And she is.

She super cautiously opens the bathroom door and so gingerly steps out.  She can’t look at me.

I take her in.

I give her an honest, deliberate once-over, starting with her nude pumps and traveling up to her above-the-knee dress.  I gaze at her bare arms, her wrists and her poor hands are trembling.  It hits me just how nervous she is; I look into her eyes and I barely notice her makeup, which I know took serious time to apply.

She is wide-eyed and terrified.

I immediately take her in my arms and give what I hope is the most reassuring hug ever.

“You’re so nervous…”
She can only nod, fear still screaming from her eyes.
“It’s okay.  Really.  You look different, more natural than I expected.  I love you.  We’re okay.  I’m so glad you came out to me.”

She finally starts breathing.

Phew.

This is the first time I’ve seen this side of S.  I’m not talking about her physical transformation; I’ve never seen her so vulnerable before, so unsure and emotionally scared.

It then hits me.  The emotional transition process will be a time to face feelings that we often choose to deny or gloss over because they’re rather uncomfortable little fuckers.

And thus the adventure begins.

***

Happy New Year, beautiful readers!!!
2014’s adventures will be decidedly different but no less honest- yikes and cheers!

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relationshipping, trans talk

Jealousy

Jealousywas unexpected.

BF was the most unjealous person I know.

Early-ish in our relationship, I lamely tested his J-meter in the vein of, “So I think *** might like me.”
BF automatically replies with, “He should.  You’re hot and a really cool person (Um blush-yay).  I’d have a crush on you.”   Such a smartass- I love it.

And in that moment BF manages to make me swoon all over again and I think he’s the coolest person ever.  Because he’s not bullshitting.  He really means what he’s saying.  I don’t know that I could be so generous and nonchalant about someone crushing on him.  Damn.  He’s really good at showing me up and I like the way his unexpectedly sweet response makes me rethink this thing called jealousy.  Namely, how void it can be in our relationship.

And if there was any potential interest or curiosity I might have had for someone crushing on me, he has unintentionally eradicated it.

Time passes, transition happens.

It turns out GF has a smidge of jealous in her.
Of me.

Whoa.

Adoration of innate qualities like my size, height and shape has gone the way of mild envy.  This new emotional reaction is unexpected, disconcerting and saddens me as I feel a decided shift.  I’ve gone from the woman he loves in all aspects to someone who makes her feel inadequate during transition.

I tell myself that GF won’t permanently feel this way about me.
A tiny seed of worry drops in my heart.
I don’t want this seed to sprout.

I don’t want my physical being to trigger thoughts of a more or less feminine ideal.
I want her to see me as she used to.

I have hope that as she discards her male shell, she will believe in and see herself beautiful.

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trans talk

Sex changes

Sex changeswith every relationship.
Of course it does.

And when my partner is a transsexual, the sexing definitely shifts.

I expected gay, bi or straight sexual identity exploration to happen because that’s a common part of transition.  I expected the kind of sex we had to change as she figured out said sexual identity.  What I didn’t expect was the change in sexual roles.

As a man, my BF enjoyed dominating me.
As a woman, my GF wants to be dominated.

Hmm…

I sense an incompatibility of the irreconcilable sort sprouting.  I try being more dominant.  This isn’t my natural inclination but I recall one relationship where a very experimental other wanted me (in one of many phases of said relationship) to dom-i-nate; no two ways about it.  Gosh, that was so many years ago but maybe I can embody that mindset and try it out.

Except it’s so not me.
Shit.

The dissonance in roles of dominance and submission teeter-totters our relationship, in the same way that GF figuring out whether she is straight/bi/gay does, as well as my determining how attracted I am to a physically transitioning GF.

And I have to be real.

Me: So I think we need to open relationship like you suggested because, clearly, you aren’t getting your needs met from me.
GF: Okay, obviously I’m okay with that.  But you haven’t really tried having sex with me the way I want.
Me: It’s not for lack of trying.  Really, it’s not.  Stop rolling your eyes, goddammit.  It’s just that…obviously this is far from intuitive for me.  It’s like there’s a block.
GF: Rumi, do you think all the sex I had with you was solely the way I wanted?  I had sex with you the way you wanted it.
Me: Sigh.  And oh.  It wasn’t a chore, was it?
GF: Of course not, I love you.  It was never that but it wasn’t always 100% what I wanted is all- it was a compromise.  That’s all I’m saying.

I feel like I’ve failed my GF.
I wish- I really, really wish- that I could be a different person for her, someone who could fulfill all her new and changing needs.

It’s not for lack of love.

Thing is, I can’t lie in the face of sex, sex roles or sexual attraction.
I have before and what resulted was a stupid mess.  

But that’s another story for another time.

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