there are many different ways to be trans.
it’s true for the grown women i know who are transgender/transsexual.
it is just as true for the children whom i know only through the stories that their parents tell.
but now, because of ziona’s new email friend, and because ziona can’t really type yet, i am privvy to insights into the way of two girls, in very different ways, expressing their femininity.
ziona has already mentioned on many occasions to me that she will marry a woman someday, raise children together. she is a girl much like i was as a child. likes things other girls don’t. not afraid of bugs. likes lizards, enjoys a rich fantasy life but one that is the stuff of legends and science fiction. she played with hannah montana dolls for a while, mostly as a way to engage with her cousin lexi. but she also loves nano bugs, castles with dragons and faeries and such things. she isn’t much into makeup, and doesn’t think she’ll ever like it. she doesn’t wear jewelry and such. and tho all these things might change as she enters into that getting breasts stage of becoming a woman, i recognise in her the same sort of spirit that dwelt in me as a young girl.
her friend on the other hand, loves unicorns and fashion dolls. she wears makeup, (she’s 11) and does her nails. she doesn’t like to play video games.
two girls, both born with the wrong body, each unfolding their femininity in very different ways.
it is sometimes tempting for me to think that perhaps ziona is simply mirroring my preferences, my behaviour and my attitudes. but then, my mother wore a little makeup and was definitely not attracted to women. she didn’t like bugs, still freaks out at the very idea much less the sight of a lizard, so really, how much of her rubbed off on me?
as for my daughter’s new friend, she has only ‘transitioned’ two months ago. so how much of her behaviours and preferences might be a part of her just wanting to be as ‘other than’ a boy as possible? is her mother ‘into’ makeup, jewelry? would that matter?
all my girlfriends when we were growing up were into boys, makeup…all the usual things. i inherently knew that i couldn’t share with them the crush i felt for our 8th grade english teacher, ms morel. or how it drove me to distraction when we would change clothes in front of each other. for a while i tried to be like them. but one can’t be other than one’s self for very long.
it isn’t the same as these transgender kids are going through. i know. but i had to get over trying to be what i wasn’t. in a way, we all have to. and that’s the nexus that is shared in common with all beings: gay or straight, trans or cis. we have all had to decide to become who we are. perhaps that is the way to help others see, understand, and be compassionate toward the different-ness they interpose between themselves and our transgender children, our gay and lesbian kids, our lgbt friends and family. that point of sameness we share. that moment when we finally decided to become who we are! despite peers, environment, social acceptance, societal conditioning or even our own self-imposed notions and limitations.
like these kids, we are always becoming who we are. unfolding our most true self at any given moment. and how can that be a bad thing?
i have a saying i like to say…don’t remember where i first heard it, but it stuck and is how i excuse short-comings of myself and others, especially the tendency to short-change those whose shoes we haven’t tried to walk in.
the only real difference between us, is how we apply our clown face.
peek a boo…i see you!