I don't sleep very soundly these days but sometimes I do dream. I dream about being feminine. I dream about being slight and graceful like a Russian dancer. I dream about being shiny and cute and delicate and petite and a million other things I'll never ever be. I dream about being like Natalie Portman or Anna Karina or Chloe Sevigny or a million other people I'll never ever be. In these dreams it's not enough to be simply female. In these dreams I have to be ideal, like a princess from an old Disney cartoon. These dreams never last long. I always wake up and when I do it always hurts.
I wake up to facial hair and chest hair and back hair. I wake up to masculinity and obesity and depression. I wake up to real life and sometimes real life really burns. Truth be told, even if I didn't lack the necessary plumbing to be biologically female, I could never be truly feminine. I just don't have it in me. Call it butch or call it laziness, but I'm simply not equipped for make-up and pretty dresses. I don't even like to shave, let alone wax. And as much as I love Anna Karina, I'll always be more like Janis Joplin with a slacker goth streak. And most of the time that's OK. But I still have those dreams.
The DSM calls this phenomena Gender Dysphoria. They qualify it as a mental illness and on that I actually agree with the little Mengeles of the medical establishment but, contrary to popular mythology, Gender Dysphoria has very little to do with gender identity itself. It's a form of social anxiety caused by the unbearable pressure put on trans and gender variant people by our cis-heterosexist western society to fit into the rigid contours of an outdated gender system. For anyone biologically male who doesn't identify as such, we face a particularly high bar for social acceptance that is sometimes even upheld by the trans community itself. There exists a general attitude that we as a people don't count unless we're more feminine than female.
This pressure is all to often self-regulated, with sisters pushing sisters to hold the Mabeline line so as not to invite more negative attention from the cis-world. The origins of this affliction stem largely from the aforementioned little Mengeles of the medical establishment itself. For decades the only hope for trans people to receive treatment was to go to a handful of state funded cis-male doctors who withheld hormones and surgery from all but the most clownishly feminine T-girls who met their sexist standards for what defines womanhood. These Trans women, forced into becoming chauvinistic parodies of what certain men thought women should be, became unwitting billboards for what a trans person should look like. This became the source of the transphobia within the Women's Movement that came to pervade the Second Wave of western feminism. Cis-gender feminists saw their would-be-sisters aping like Miss America and presumptuously assumed it was a cruel joke at their expense when, in reality, trans women were victims of the same system of male oppression; doing what they had to do to survive.
Medical options have slowly expanded for trans people, albeit with a steep price tag, but old habits die hard. While few people question the rights of women like Tig Notaro and K. D. Lang to identify as female, genderqueer dykes like me still have to fight tooth and nail just to remain visible in the eyes of the straight world and even our own community. I'm too head strong to allow a bunch of breeder cunts and Auntie Caitlyn house queers tell me how to express my gender identity but I remain haunted by dreams of unquestionable femininity and no amount of intellectual rationality seems to be enough to put these dreams to rest. At the end of the day, all I ever really wanted was to feel like one of the girls without having to pay for it with the few authentically masculine aspects of my complicated gender identity.
Is this too much to ask for, dearest motherfuckers? I don't think it is but this fucked up place we call planet earth has never made a hell of a lot of sense to yours truly. Maybe in another life. Then again, maybe in another life the rest of you motherfuckers will grow up and fucking evolve. A girl can dream cant he? Until that day, I guess I'll just have to learn to love being pretty on the inside.
Peace, Love and Empathy- CH
Soundtrack; Songs that influenced this post.
* Piece Of My Heart By Janis Joplin
* Dreams By The Cranberries
* Pretty On The Inside By Hole
* Insomniac By Echobelly
* I'll Be Your Mirror By The Velvet Underground & Nico
* Wild Horses By The Sundays
* Delicate, Petite & Other Things I'll Never Be By Against Me!
* Everything Is Embarrassing By Sky Ferreira