Photo Credit: Mart Williams
Let me preface this post by asserting my own gender identity as a transsexual woman. I unashamedly celebrate my femininity and my womanhood. I wouldn't care to be acknowledged as anything other than female. I was the pre-teen trans child who sewed her own clothes, mooned over dreamy boys, borrowed garments from her mum with full parental consent and rejected her own body parts. Nowadays, I'm an unapologetic girly girl and I rock at it. I enjoy having doors opened for me by men (shock horror). I don't feel at all patronised when I'm treated as a lady. I know what I want in sex but I'm quite prepared to use my feminine wiles to get it. I routinely wear skinny jeans and tops but I also have a small collection of dresses. I occasionally wear party heels (then regret it later). The nearest I get to cross dressing is slipping on my husband's shirt when I get up or gratefully accepting the loan of his jacket if it turns chilly. I wear them because they're his. They're clearly too big. They smell of him and are so easy to put on. I love his reaction too. However I don't pretend to be any sort of ideal woman, this is just me.
If I have to look in my husband's wardrobe for his shirt (rarely - why do men chuck their clothes on the furniture or the floor?), I find another woman's clothes there. There's no huge cause for alarm, they belong to his other half, the third 'half' that isn't me. My partner is bi-gender - she is occasionally my wife, mainly my husband.
Pause for thought, I'm transsexual so this should be no biggie, right? I found it didn't quite work that way. When we met, I fell in love with the cross dressing element of my boyfriend's life. It was fun going shopping together; such a giggle and so light hearted. I felt assured of his predominantly male personality. As I got to know him that began to change. Others suggested that he might soon want to transition. It made me worry and upset myself for fear of losing the man I loved. Worry turned to annoyance as some asked what dress my partner would wear on our wedding day. My reactions to all of this took me by surprise. They concerned me and I began to feel guilty at feeling that way at all. When I transitioned, I hated the way others rejected me yet here I was effectively doing the same. What was going on? I could have run, I'm so glad I didn't. I would have been running from something I didn't understand. Lack of understanding is never an excuse for walking away.
Since then I have come to realise that my partner does not choose to be male or female at any particular time. This is not a choice but an involuntary feeling which lasts for hours then switches to the opposite gender again. My partner can be naked and feel either male or female.
Clothes and makeup are only necessary to signal the switch to the outside world, they have no effect on the feelings inside. There are inconvenient times when friends expect to see my wife only to be confronted with my husband. External expectations do not bear on a bi-gender person's identity. This should have been all too familiar to me. I have never ever felt male, even when I was younger. The protestations of others, including my parents only made me feel miserable.
I came to realise in time that I love them both, but not in the same way. They are one person but there are two distinct personas. This is the only way I can describe it. She drives the car differently, is less confident and less assertive. When she writes and expresses herself it comes from the heart, he is more guarded, defensively upbeat and economical with his words. When you marry you commence a journey toward ever deepening understanding. For me that has involved getting to know two sides of one person. I am only attracted to men. Transitioning, I realised with a shock that I was straight and heterosexual. I have lots of girl mates but they are just that - 'my girls' who I love girly nights out with. My partner is lesbian when she is female and heterosexual when he is male. She is sexually attracted to me but it's not reciprocal. He only turns me on as my husband. If I'm out with her, he sends me fond messages saying he misses me, it helps me to know he's still there.
I'm still learning, still adjusting and marvelling at the amazingly complex spectrum the bi-gender community presents. When I transitioned, others said: 'isn't it wonderful to be able to see both sides, male and female?' I don't see it. I've never experienced life from a male perspective. I did my best to conform to expectations but made a complete hash of it. I felt like a reluctant cross-dresser until I transitioned. My partner really DOES see both sides - a two spirit individual. I would love to be like that but I can't.
I've concluded that you can try TOO hard to understand. I still don't fully get it but I no longer feel tempted to walk away. Some things are tiny miracles, being bi-gender is one of them.