Thursday, 24 April 2014


I was visiting my mom the other day and the subject of my gender issues came up. She admitted she still had a lot of doubts and confusion, which is understandable. (She also told me my dad was having a easier time accepting it than she was, which is kind of what I expected.) I tried to address some of her concerns, but I don't think I did it very well. At one point during the conversation I offered to show her some pictures of what I look like as a girl. She seemed curious and agreed.

I grabbed a computer and brought up a photo from New Year's Eve. "Wow! I love that dress,"she said. "You know, you're actually really pretty," As we continued to peruse photos she added, "I think you're prettier as a girl than you are handsome as a boy!" I grinned and said, "I hope so!" :)

As much as I loved the affirmation of my gender, it was also slightly awkward. When you come out as trans there are certain gendered aspects of how you relate to people, and of how people relate to you, that have to be relearned. Of course, my mother never called me pretty when I was her son, so this was one of them. Afterwards she asked, "It's okay for me to say you're pretty, right? 'Cause you want to be pretty, right?"
"Yeah, it's okay," I said, "I'm just not used to it."

It was a little weird for both of us. But that, I'm sure, will change with time.

In other news, as of last week it's been one whole year since I figured out I was trans! (Perhaps some time I will write a post about how that came to pass, but not today). I've come a long way since my first terrified foray into the cosmetics section, but more and more I'm realizing I still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The strangest thing happened...

I put my books in my bag, donned my shoes and walked to class, trying to recall kanji characters I should have memorized by now. We had a quiz today I hadn't really studied for, and, even worse, I had missed the previous lecture.

I'm taking Japanese as my arts elective this semester. I'd spent a few weeks in Japan in 2012 and wanted to learn more of the language.「みなさん、こんばんは」 said our sensei as I came in and sat down: good evening everyone.

And then I noticed it. One of my classmates— a guy, or so I had thought— was dressed as a girl.

Or was she? Yes, I decided, that's definitely a woman's jacket. And arched eyebrows. And makeup. She was clearly presenting female. That's strange, I thought. At first I worried it might be some kind of transphobic joke: perhaps "he" had lost a bet or some stupid thing like that. But when she opened her mouth to ask a question, and I heard her straining to speak in a higher register the way a lot of new trans women do, it was clear to me that this was serious. I guess she's a girl now, I said to myself.

Later I would learn that during the previous lecture, the one I had missed, she had come out to the class as transsexual, stating that she would be presenting female from now on. Ironically, I had missed that class because of my own gender dysphoria: it was one of those times when I just couldn't bear the thought of interacting with others as a boy. Of all the classes to miss, I miss the one where someone comes out as trans.

There are two things about this that are kind of blowing my mind. One is the statistical improbability of it. There's only 21 people in that class: the odds of selecting 21 people at random and getting two closeted trans girls must be pretty low. The other is that I hadn't noticed anything before. When I tell people I'm trans the response is usually along the lines of "well obviously." But in her case, I didn't pick up on any clues. (Well, there was the time she crossdressed for a skit, but it was done so deliberately badly I didn't think it meant anything...)

I didn't get a chance to talk to her after class, and now there's only one class left before the semester ends. I don't actually know her very well, and I don't really know what I would say— ("I'm a girl too, let's be friends!" ??), but I feel like I should reach out in some way. We t-folk gotta stick together, right?

"I'm a girl too!"