Saturday, 31 August 2013

I don't always...

I don't always wear girly sleepwear to bed, but when I do, it's an absolute joy waking up the next morning. There's nothing like starting off your day in the right gender! ^_^

The only downside (and it's a pretty big one) is that it makes having to change into boy clothes right away that much more miserable. Lately I've come to realize that my crossdressing is not simply about the fact that I like dressing as a girl; it's also about the fact that I hate dressing as a boy.
(happy sigh) :D
This past week has been good in some ways and frustrating in others. I'm starting school next week, but I decided to quit my job last week (ie, a week early) so as to have some free time in between. During that time I was able to dress a lot more freely than I usually am, since my roommates were, for the most part, at work during the day. This was wonderful, but it forced me to revisit a bunch of questions that, in many ways, I'd rather not have to deal with: would I dress full time if I could? would I transition if it wasn't so scary? am I, in fact, a girl in the wrong body??

When I first accepted my trans-ness and started trying to figure out what it means for me, I asked those sort of questions a lot. They caused me a great deal of stress and not a few tears, but I eventually reached the conclusion that I'm fairly happy having a boy body and transitioning is probably not right for me. Today I'm less certain about either of those things.

The freedom I had this week also forced me to face the fact that I will have to come out to my roommates at some point. It will drive me insane if I have to keep locking myself up in my room any time I need to dress and someone else happens to be home. My roommates are good guys and they're totally not homophobic or anything, so I think they'd be okay with it, but even still, coming out is always hard.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Science, religion, and why I'm going to school

Guess what I'll be starting in a week? My first year of university! At age 25 I suppose it's better late than never. Sure, it's been eight years since I graduated from high school, but that's just how long it took me to figure out what I wanted to study!

Actually, seven years ago I thought I wanted to study Christian theology: (as I've mentioned before, I had a very religious upbringing). So, I started attending a theological college and ended up staying for almost four years. That was about how long it took me to figure out I didn't actually believe in most of traditional Christianity. I also began to doubt that there was (or even could be) any sound epistemic basis for believing in the authority of scripture.

During the years that followed, I very, very gradually came to believe that the scientific method provides a more certain means of acquiring knowledge than faith does. This was not an easy process: I became profoundly depressed, for example, when I realized I couldn't be certain whether there was an afterlife. (That might sound silly, but when you've believed since childhood that you will literally live forever, and then find out you might only get eighty or ninety years, it hits you pretty hard). But eventually I concluded that, as Cat Faber puts it in The Word of God, "humans wrote the bible; God wrote the world." And that if I wanted to search for truth, I'd do better to study the natural world than scripture. And as I spent more and more of my free time devouring science articles on Wikipedia, I fell absolutely in the love with the awesome, beautiful universe in which we live. And so, here I am today, about to start a four year degree with a major in astrophysics! Yay!!
Astrophysics, dude.
For much of my life the bible was a huge factor in determining what I thought, did and tried to feel; and for a long time this hindered me from recognizing and accepting my trans-ness. It wasn't until I began to see the bible as, not an unquestionable divine authority, but merely a good book, that I felt free enough to try to understand the gender issues I'd been struggling with. This is partly because the bible, as you might expect, specifically condemns transvestism (in Deutoronomy 22:5). But more important than that was an entire understanding of gender that I internalized from reading Genesis 1:27, which says, "God created humans in his image; in the image of God he made them male and female." Like many conservative Christians, I took this to mean that male-ness and female-ness are not mere social constructs, nor some accident of biology, but direct manifestations of the very nature of God himself. Thus I felt like any queering of gender norms was a very serious transgression. And though I very rarely "gave in," I felt guilty any time I even wanted to wear heels or dresses or makeup. And I almost always wanted to.

Needless to say, I am deeply grateful to have changed my way of thinking!

[EDIT: Just to clarify the terminology for the rest of the world: in Canada, a university is an academic institution, whereas a college provides vocational training. They're not the same thing.]

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Choosing a girl name

When I first began to realize I might be a crossdresser, I started reading a lot of stuff about it on the internet. I soon noticed that almost all of the MtF crossdressers in the online community had a nom de femme, and that that was the name they usually went by. I thought to myself, "That makes sense, why not?" At the time I didn't really feel like I needed a girl name, but it seemed like a cool part of the culture of crossdressing. In addition to that, it just seemed practical: if I was hoping to one day pass as a woman, I'd want a ready answer if someone asked me my name.

So I made a list of girl names that I liked: Hannah, Tiffany, Caroline, Amber, and Hillary. Then I noticed that if I chose Tiffany as a first name and Amber as a middle name, I could keep the same initials I have as a guy. So thats's what I went with at first.

But Tiffany never really felt like me. I'm not sure why, but that name always felt more like an alter-ego, or like some woman I was aspiring to be, rather than the person who I just am. Some crossdressers talk about their other gender as though they have a split personality, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it's not what I wanted for me. I started to question whether I should have a girl name at all. In the end I decided I would choose something closer to my boy name. Since my boy name is Tyler, the obvious choice was Taylor. I chose Ashley as a middle name because it sounded like my boy middle name. But when I realized I didn't actually like the name Taylor (at least not for me), I switched them around. So now I'm Ashley.

To be honest, I'm still not sure if a girl name is something I need. But then, so far I've only used it on the internet. Perhaps once I've been caled Ashley in the real world, once that name has been spoken aloud, perhaps then it will seem real to me.