Tag Archive | identity

Identity & Conflict

Through most of my life, I considered myself a boy. I was such a dude that it still bothers me to see men wearing pink, and I’ve said countless times that the shirt that says “Real men wear pink” is stupid–real men avoid wearing pink at all costs. I wore boxers, shaved my head, and had a bad ass goatee. No one in their right mind would have looked at me and suspected that I was anything but ordinary heterosexual male.

I drank beer, ate steaks, had a wife, knew how to work on automobiles, knew how to repair washing machines, and all the usual stuff. Yet the person there in that pic–that’s me. That person in that pic who five minutes before or after would have laughed at a guy for wearing a pink shirt–that’s me. That person who would have sneered if someone offered him a wine cooler over a Bud Light–that’s me.

Recently, Caryn Harlos has called me a revisionist making the party look silly because I say that Nolan was, and always was, an anarchist, even if he identified in the past as a minarchist. Speaking as a transgender person, I know exactly how this goes, and that’s why I bring all of this up. There is a lot of truth to the idea that a M2F trans person will embrace the most masculine aspects of being a male. It’s not an accident that I shaved my head, had a goatee, lifted weights, wore muscle shirts, and all the other shit. One might say I was overcompensating.

Yet the truth always bled through, often unbidden and without conscious intent, and I wondered about it for years. I remember remarking to a friend several years ago that I am, and always have been, an enthusiastic supporter of LGBT rights, but that I wasn’t sure why. I’m not gay or bisexual, so why should I be such an Ally that it consumed probably 10% of my political discussion? It didn’t make much sense. This was the transgenderism bleeding through subconsciously, without my knowing it or realizing it.

Of course, you could ask my ex-wife (from whom I divorced for reasons entirely unrelated to any of this) about other ways my transgenderism bled through. I mentioned in Dancing in Hellfire that my cousin enjoyed wearing makeup when we played various games, but as early as kindergarten I loathed makeup. Our kindergarten teacher forced us all to put on lipstick to kiss a paperplate (making a thing for our parents), and I resented her from that day forward. Makeup was for girls, and I wasn’t a goddamned girl. Only because I was a freak (what people today would call “goth”) did eyeliner get a pass, and only then because it looked so freaking awesome, and that was much later.

There were always periods, though, no matter how masculine I presented myself, and no matter how generally conformist I was to sexual stereotypes of heterosexuality, it always bled through. I’ve described being transgender and having to repress it as desperately needing to breathe, but being able to breathe only in short, very sporadic gasps. But no matter what I did, no matter how I attempted to hide it–often from myself–it always bled through. My grandmother would find women’s clothing hidden between my mattresses. I wore them when I could, while at the same time hating myself for wearing them, knowing that I was betraying some other part of me.

It was conflict, pure and simple.

Conflict between who I was and the identity that I proclaimed–the identity that I believed in.

And now look at me.

Who would ever have guessed that the person in the above pic was not truly the person he identified as? Who would have guessed that the goatee, the shaved head, the muscles, the Bud Light, the steaks, and all the other things… were just ways of masking the true behavior that underwrote so much of what I said and did?

Because it’s true. I wore my girlfriend’s prom dress before she did–and she thought it was hot. I had long hair through most of high school, too. At one point, my hair fell below my breasts. This same girlfriend gave me tons of panties, yet at every given moment I’d have insisted that I was not even a cross-dresser, that I was adamantly against the notion of transgenderism. I’m sure that I’ve in the past said “Boys are boys and girls are girls, and that’s that.”

When the True Self conflicts with the Expressed Self, there are contradictions–often glaring contradictions.

It would be the height of transphobic ignorance to look back at that first pic, of me with a goatee, and say that I was clearly just a male, that I was only a male, and that I was not, even then, transgender. I most certainly was. I was even female then. I simply repressed it because, for various reasons that are often unique to the individual, I could not accept it, and I was not ready to accept it.

Several, several years ago, I mentioned to a friend that if my ex-wife and I ever divorced, I would move to California and get a sex change operation. I told this to another friend, too–one that you could almost call a boyfriend, except that it wasn’t like that for me. When he brought this up again a year later, I adamantly denied it. Even though I had told him to his face that I felt like a girl and wanted to pursue that, when he mentioned it later, I abjectly refused to admit that I’d said that. I told him he was taking it out of context and making it to be a much bigger deal than it was. Readiness often comes in phases, rarely does it come all at once.

Nolan’s early writings, particularly his written declaration of the case for a Libertarian Party, have anarchism bleeding through it in exactly the same way that transgenderism bled through so much of my life, even as I identified as a male and sought desperately to hide any indication that I wasn’t quite normal. We see in Nolan’s other writings exactly the same conflict that we saw in me when I said “real men don’t wear pink.” Coming to term with oneself and making that final leap is often extremely difficult, but it shines through, and nothing can dim the inner light of the true self.

When such a conflict arises, how shall we form an understanding of the person? Through their often-confused and often-contradictory expressions and positions, or through the inner light that bleeds through no matter how adamantly it is denied, and is only embraced much later in life? Should we embrace the identity of the person as they express themselves while clearly embroiled in internal conflict, or should we be more understanding and accept their internal conflict as just that–internal conflict that was only resolved much later in life? Nolan denied being an anarchist and expressly stated that he was a minarchist with exactly the same fervor and tenacity with which I stated that I was a normal heterosexual male.

But I was never a normal heterosexual male, and Nolan was never a minarchist.

So, no. Caryn Harlos is wrong. Nolan was an anarchist, even back then, and it clearly bleeds through in his early writings in exactly the same way that female clothing bled through my otherwise-normal male adolescence. That I claimed to be a normal male didn’t make me one; that Nolan claimed not to be an anarchist didn’t prevent him from being one. It merely prevented him from coming to terms with what was already then shining through.

But apparently I’m a revisionist for saying that, clearly, Nolan was always an anarchist. If so, then I’m a revisionist for saying that I was always transgender.

Moreover, I can claim right now to be a minarchist. That won’t make me one. I could just as easily call this site “The Minarchist Shemale” and write pretty much the same things, though occasionally throwing out contradictory articles about how we need a state to protect us from a state. None of that would make me a minarchist, though–it would only make me confused about who I am and what I believe.

I’d rather take the word of the person who has worked through that confusion and expressed an identity that is in accord with their inner identity than to arbitrarily cling to the confused contradictions of someone struggling to come to terms with their identity.

But that’s just me…

I’ve Been Down This Road Before

fingerThis morning my employer confirmed the suspicions that I wrote about yesterday. His reply was exactly what I had expected, and had been delayed for exactly the reasons that I expected. Like my sister, he expects me to “just deal with it” and to just be trapped in the box out of pragmatism.

But I will not.

I will not do it again. That is no way to live.

Like my sister assumed, he assumes that I will back down because I have to have a place to live, and he’s not wrong. I don’t make enough money to afford anywhere else. I live in rural Mississippi and am basically a serf to this employer; it doesn’t even appear to be by accident that I don’t make enough money to do other things, you know? I’ve talked about that before, and I’ll provide the link here.

This situation is very much a “You’ll hide the fact that you’re transgender from my son, or you’ll be kicked out, and I don’t pay you enough for you to live elsewhere, so suck it up and put yourself back in the box.”

How can I take it any other way?

It is irrelevant that he is a bit nicer about it than that, and that he hasn’t overtly said that, but that is what he is saying nonetheless. Look at the situation more closely, and keep in mind that I’ve spent the last year trying to get a different and better job. There just aren’t any here in rural Mississippi; I need money to leave, and I need to leave in order to make money. And now I am facing a situation where my employer is threatening that I will be kicked out if I continue openly being transgender, and so I must get back in the closet because he, my employer, doesn’t pay me enough for me to do anything else.

suspicions confirmed

Though it was not overtly said, the message is clear. If his son moves into the house in question, he expects me to get back in the box. He doesn’t seem to have grasped what I meant when I said that I will not be put back in the box. Have you ever seen the film The Man in the Iron Mask? Leonardo Di Caprio gives a stunning performance, and at one point he cries, “No, kill me if you must, but do not make me wear that mask again.”

I am being told to wear the mask again.

What consequences will result from this decision? Terrible ones. Unemployment, homelessness. Yet the alternative is one that I cannot face. I would sooner die. I have lived that life before, trapped in a small box–then a bedroom–and not even allowed to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t even able to be me until after my nephew had gone to sleep because, no matter how many times I berated him, he had the lamentable habit of barging into my bedroom without knocking. My sister and her husband would have thrown me out then and there if her son had walked in on me as me, and I couldn’t handle that. And even then, once they were gone to bed, I was forced to stay in my bedroom. I couldn’t go to the kitchen or bathroom. If one of them woke up and saw me, they’d have thrown me out.

This is the same situation, and I’ve been here before. The box in which I will be trapped is bigger, but I will be trapped nonetheless. Did I leave something important in my car? Uh-oh, better change clothes completely. Can’t just walk outside and get my stuff out of my car. Do I need to do laundry? Better hope he doesn’t open the dryer or anything. Plus, for complex reasons I don’t feel like getting into, I bathe in this house that we’re talking about. I use the freezer in this house that we’re talking about. If all this strikes you as bizarre, read the post I linked above.

It was actually that house that I was renting in the first place. But the owners keep a bunch of ceramic knick-knacks and other shit in there, and my cats broke one of them. They were supposed to come and remove their shit, but never did, and they ultimately asked me to move into the other place, which was fine, for the most part. I still have free access to the other place–I do my laundry there, I freeze my ice there, I bathe there, I park my car in its garage, because it’s like fifty feet from where I do live.

I knew as soon as I received the initial email Sunday that this was going to be bad, because it all hinges on one thing: his son’s tolerance, or lack of, for transgender people. It’s hard to believe that this guy who has known me for 5 or 6 years would so callously see to it that I’m kicked out, even though it wouldn’t be doing him a damned bit of harm, but I already know from experience… that it doesn’t matter.

My own sister, someone I have known my entire life (obviously), kicked me out for it. I have no delusions that his son will be more reasonable, more open, and more understanding. The fact that he’s known me for years and knows me to be, at the very least, an alright person, will count for nothing.

It’s not even “being transgender” that people have a problem with.

Think about it. How many times have you seen a girl wearing men’s clothes without it being a problem? Just the other day at a client’s, there was a girl working there who was clearly wearing men’s clothes, and no one looked twice at her about it.

It’s not crossdressing or transgenderism that people get pissed off about.

It’s feminization.

Even here in bum-fucked Mississippi, it’s totally acceptable for a girl to wear guys’ clothes. In fact, it’s pretty common–probably more common here than in other parts of the country. But if a guy is caught wearing girls’ clothes… It’s life-threatening. At the very least, he’ll be attacked.

And that’s the problem here. So many of these people know me as a guy. They won’t see Aria and go on about their business. They’ll see this guy that they see every other day wearing women’s clothes. Even though they wouldn’t care in the slightest if ” a girl they see every other day” was wearing men’s clothes, I would not be so lucky.

I’m honestly not sure what to do here. I can’t go back in the box, and I won’t. My employer’s latest email insists that I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I have been down this road before. His gut reaction is the correct one, I know from experience.

When I first realized I had to start coming out to people as transgender, I was torn about my sister. My gut told me that she would flip out, and a friend of mine who knew her very well agreed. As I continued pondering it, however, I became convinced that I was freaking out over nothing. She already knew for the most part–it was an unspoken secret. And she was my sister–together, she and I had gone through alllllllll that bullshit:

And this one:

Yes, we went through a ton of bullshit, and all that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s enough for me to fill an entire book that I’m calling Dancing in Hellfire and am trying to find an agent for. God, having that book published would alleviate all of these problems, would easily provide me with the means to move to Vegas and escape this nightmare where shit is constantly hanging over my head, where I’m always in danger.

I convinced myself that she wouldn’t care. So I told her. She said she was fine with it, but that she’d have to ask her husband whether I could simply be me as I paid them rent each fucking month. Weeks passed. I finally asked again. She said she hadn’t. More weeks passed, and I finally asked again. She said that he had a problem with it. She lied, of course, and I knew that she would: it was never her husband (who had once lived with a cross-dresser) who had a problem with it. It was her, and she used her husband as a convenient excuse.

Finally I laid it all out for them in a letter, informing them that I was proceeding with it, and that they could accept it, or not. It was then that I received that fucked up text message from my sister:

bitchSo oh, yes. I’ve been down this road before, and unless I’m able to move to Vegas this time, I will end up going down this road again. It’s so much easier for people to reject me than to confront their own discomfort, their own disdain for feminization, and their own cognitive dissonance.

I’m so tired.

I just want to be left to live, work, and love in peace. Why is that so goddamned much to ask? Everyone else is allowed to do it. But no, because I choose to wear women’s clothes and present myself as a woman, I’m not allowed those basic things.

Why can’t I wear the shirts I want to wear, the jeans I want to wear, and the shoes I want to wear? Why can’t I present the face that I want? Men can grow beards if they want; men can grow mustaches if they want. But I can’t wear makeup? Why can’t I wear my hair a certain way? Everyone else can. Everyone else can wear the shirts they like, the jeans they like, the shoes they like.

But me?

No.

It’s not a matter of courage. There is nothing to be gained by presenting myself as a female permanently here in Mississippi. It would leave me unemployed, homeless, and starving to death very quickly, and that is if someone didn’t attack me and kill me before those other circumstances started falling on me. It wouldn’t be “courageous” to present myself as a female all the time here, because everyone here has known me as a male. You can see from my videos that I’m passable, for the most part. Yet I’ll never be passable to the people who have always known me as a male. While my friends are accepting and don’t give a shit, that doesn’t apply to the random people who see me around town.

I’m so tired.