Sexuality In A Nutshell

Social media can be useful sometimes for boiling down complicated thoughts like this one on the question of how my gender and sexuality work together. A recent comment I shared in a discussion:

This has been the great struggle of my life, sorting this confusion out. Functionally, I am very bisexual, but I had a very hard time connecting romantically with men as a young gay man. I concluded I was mostly straight because I easily ended up in long, complicated, emotional relationships with women including a recent 12 year marriage.

I NOW understand my overall attraction to women has more to do with wanting to be like them. Since transition I have chosen to date only men as I feel that is where my truth lies. I certainly prefer them sexually, especially now that my body makes sense to me. I am learning the puzzle of being emotionally connected to them, which is still not so easy but I am open to it now in a way I was not before.

I prefer being a woman who loves men, however difficult that may be.

Two Year Tranniversary

TBT, Tranniversary* post.

Two years ago this week I first used the word trans to seriously describe myself. It’s breathtaking how much changed from that day forward, but it doesn’t feel at all to me like things moved that fast.

I had been circling around it for awhile. Mainly I was bothered by my sexual orientation, but the more open I became the more was revealed. It was like unpacking a very large trunk and discovering buried underneath the denial and regret and rationalization there was this whole other person waiting to be reborn.

I thought “Well, maybe I’ll do some cross dressing, have some fun, play with that again”. I chose a cross dressing event to go to in the city, Halloween themed, I did modified Red Riding Hood. My wife helped me find an amazing red sparkly dress on Haight street, and I had picked up a decent wig at a local shop. I got ready at my friend Amy’s salon in the city. It was the first time in 25 years that I’d put myself together en femme.

The event itself was kind of unremarkable. A few nice people in various states of feminized disrepair. A tall trombone playing cross dresser, a short fireplug-shaped truck driver in an overly lacey babydoll nightie, and a married guy I had corresponded with online with who maintained a stunningly complicated life as a closeted cross dresser.

It certainly WAS NOT the kind of event that leads one to completely upend their life and declare themselves to be transgender.

But there was a moment. A very sweet transgender woman noticed me looking at myself in the mirror and she said “You are just the cutest thing”.

And just I said, “Yeah. I know…”

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I thought Robyn was DEAD. I had killed her. Suffocated her under 200 pounds of weight gain and an ocean of alcohol. And then miraculously I had become someone’s husband and father and that was amazing and all was forgotten.

And now here she was looking back at me in the mirror. And it wasn’t “Oh, this fun. Oh, this is sexy. Oh, this brings back memories.”

It was like finding out your lost love or your best friend or your twin sister had come back to LIFE. I can’t overstate how happy I was to see her and how heartbreaking it was to remember losing her to begin with.

The next day I began to seriously question whether the answer to years of discomfort and unhappiness were due to being transgender. Each day after that the answer was yes and yes and yes even as it set my life on fire and burned everything to the ground.

It’s awesome, and it’s terrible and it’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth. Once you finally know the truth what else can you do but try to live it as best you can?

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*I got some blowback about the term Tranniversary. I think it’s a witty and apt description of the event. I also believe Tranny is our term, not “theirs”.

Ladies Attend Bridal Showers

I had such an amazing weekend visit to Los Angeles. Another step on this journey I’m on, filled with simple kindnesses and connections that feel wholly new. Grateful for a ride from the airport, a place to crash, and at one point a shoulder to cry on from a guy friend. A fun and inspiring reunion with newly transplanted Angelina trans-girlfriend and a lovely brunch with my mother-in-law. Feeling very lucky and full.

The trip was to attend the bridal shower for the incomparable Mela Lee, and to be included on her guest list of 20 beautiful and talented women was SUCH an honor and a gift. After losing touch for 25 years Mela has been one of my sisters and mentors in this last period in my life, providing me a warm welcome to the feminine, spiritually and materially as she simply UNLOADS her closet on me while dispensing advice and girlfriend philosophy.

Certainly this was my first bridal shower, and for a relative newcomer to the circle of women it was an opportunity to experience many feelings of inadequacy and being an outsider. I am grateful that I mostly declined that opportunity and simply showed up as myself and lived in the moment and enjoyed every single connection fully. Finding ways to be useful always helps, so I dived into helping decorate the space.

I went a long time without mentioning to anyone that I’m trans, which feels increasingly important to me. The further away I get from who I used to be the less comfortable I feel about disclosing it. Not because I fear rejection but I just want to be in the now as I am and not be reminded who I was and how I got here. But oh my goodness, I am still astonished at how far I’ve come in such a short time and how completely HERE I am.

Telling stories about my life is complicated. I come off as a straight woman and that’s mostly how I feel now. I have been intentionally using gender neutral terms to refer to spouses and past loves, because speaking about my ex-wife implies I’ve been in a lesbian marriage for 12 years, which is not quite what that was. But then I get thrown off when they ask about my husband and old boyfriends. Just talking about growing up is tricky. I can’t invent a girlhood I never had.

A conversation about how I met Mela and what that relationship was like just lacked the proper context before I explained that I had been a boy, so I disclosed, which led to a wonderful and extensive conversation about my life and experience. I sometimes fear that this will always be the most interesting thing about me. What else is there to talk about? I talk about my kid and they ask about his father and I just have to laugh.

So I’m still working that out. What are my stories. It’s nothing to worry about, and I’m now creating new stories.

This was a good one.

On National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day still feels weird to me. Globally I think it’s great. If it’s safe to come out and it’s your time to do it, fantastic. I got your back.

Personally, it’s hard because for me finally coming out was the end of a long string of lies, deliberate and unintentional, that I told to myself and to people I cared about. That’s no way to live a sane happy life, but telling the truth comes with consequences, especially this case if you have been a man in a heterosexual marriage as far as everyone knew. Nobody wants to be THAT person, but it’s a fairly common story, hopefully one that will become less common if antiquated ideas about sexuality and gender recede.

It took me a LONG time to figure out and accept who I am, and I’m sorry for all the people who I hurt along the way in all the pain and confusion. Sorting out my various attractions and gender identities and how they work together seemed hopeless. I attempted being a gay guy, a bisexual cross dresser, an obese closet-case, and eventually went with being a straight cis man because that’s what I thought I was at the time.

Now here I am two years after coming out as trans. Effectively disowned by my parents. My 12 year marriage is over by mutual agreement and our house has been sold. I am living alone and co-parenting my son.

I’m in a rapidly changing body with a new face.

And I’m learning to date men as a transwoman, which is challenging on fourteen different levels.

After all is said and done it seems I’m destined to be a straight woman, more or less. That’s a very difficult answer to get to. It’s one of those “after you’ve eliminated the obvious possibilities the most preposterous remains as the final answer” kind of deals.

At least I think that’s the final answer.

If not I guess I’ll get back to you on some other Coming Out Day.

Sheesh.

“Did you feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body?”

Photos by Bob Fischer, Oakland, CA January 2015/June 2017•Scott/Robyn•Demon/Angel

I hate that question, because to me it feels preposterous to say “Yes”, but if I say “No” it feels like it invalidates what I’m doing. So I say, “….Sort of…?”.

I didn’t spend 30 years wishing I could change genders. If so I’d have eventually given in. I had my moments when I was younger, I have the stories I can tell, but for the most part I refused to entertain the possibility and I made myself forget about it.

But I WAS really, really uncomfortable in my own skin, and I really disliked who I saw in the mirror. I just dismissed it as low self esteem.

Finally, when all possible explanations were eliminated I was left with the most preposterous one. So I stepped back into it and I immediately felt better, and every day since then I’ve felt better and stronger and happier. Even when it feels like my life is on fire I love who I am.

I didn’t know this was the answer until I let myself ask the question.

There’s been a lot of talk this past week around the “transwomen are women/no they are different” thing. I don’t have the words to have it all make sense to everyone’s satisfaction. It’s feels like a lot of pressure, having to prove your womanhood, especially when it’s barely a year old.

I shouldn’t have to.

I don’t have to.

It just is.

I know this much: If you took it away from me now, I would die. Does that help?

Being seen and heard on Trans Day of Visibility 2017

I have been wanting to start doing more video and this was my first on Facebook to promote the Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive. I was ready to let more people see how I look and sound in the world beyond what they see in my well-crafted selfies. I loved it. My voice is one of my best assets and I love how I sound and act here. I love being me and it shows. People really get a lot out of it when we shine.

My self-imposed prison of gender

“I do not believe that one requires justification to live and identify as one chooses. When I decided to start hormone therapy, I did not do it because I hated my body. I did it so the world would see my gender closer to the way I do. I did it because I loved myself, because my body is mine, and because I am the one who decides how to navigate it through this complicated and violent world.”
 
I rediscovered this article tonight when a friend mentioned the author’s name in a post and I went poking around. I read it at one point last year and found a lot of truth in it. The old trope of being born in the wrong body, all the justifications and stories we had to tell to get what we needed from the establishment, thankfully those are falling away. I didn’t consider transition for years because I didn’t think I was SUFFICIENTLY miserable in my body and identity, I wasn’t a REAL transexual.
 
I thought I didn’t feel” trapped in the wrong body”…which is bizarre because actually I was imprisoned for years in a painfully obese, and grotesquely male body…and then I was freed and I put myself in a healthy and healing masculine body which was such a miracle I refused to question if it was the “right” body. 
Body is the wrong word anyway. Gender is the word. The whole mess of social behaviors you have to adopt because of the body you have. I was in MY body, it just wasn’t expressing how I really felt.
Honestly, I didn’t realize HOW unhappy I had been until I finally allowed myself to step across to the other side and I found such a shocking sense of rightness and comfort. I HAD been very unhappy and I really DIDN’T like who I saw in the mirror,….but I didn’t think it was gender dysphoria, I just thought it was just really bad low self-esteem. It wasn’t until I stripped the hair off of it that I realized how disgusted I as by the hairy man in the mirror. The feminine aspects of my body were no longer flaws, they were gifts.
 
Every single day now, even the very hard ones, I love myself….and I never had that before.
 

Amma

I went to see Amma this weekend. The Indian guru, the hugging saint. Look her up if you don’t know. My wife had taken us to see her a few times, but this time I went of my own volition. I needed to be there. After this last month…this year..this life…I needed that hug.

I sat in the crowd for hours waiting for my turn as the music and mantras played on a loop, chatting with an Indian American woman and her teenage daughter about how they’d come to Amma for years, asking them questions about growing up in America and how they practice their spirituality. An older Indian man sat next to me and told me all about Krishna and the cosmic mysteries and a bunch of stuff I couldn’t begin to follow but that delighted me to no end. Everywhere I was greeted warmly. I picked up a book called the 1000 Names of the Divine Mother. Seems like it’s time to get serious about some goddess energy, you know?

At various points I felt very emotional. It’s an emotional time for me, (and I am, frankly, very hormonal…). I watched and I wept. Just because. Who I am and what I’m doing. What I’m gaining and…what I’m losing. How hard and it is to change so much in body and soul. How big it is. How good it feels. How strange it is that it feels so good. How the amazing things I love about myself horrify some people and breaks their hearts.

I cried about my Mom. She can’t deal with this, with me.

I understand. I forgive. But it hurts and it makes me angry.

You shouldn’t go through something like this without your mother, if it can be helped.

How can you become a woman without your Mom’s help?

I hadn’t ever thought about wanting her to call me daughter, I couldn’t imagine making such a request. But now the idea that she might never give me that name, the gift of that name, seemed unimaginably unjust.

I didn’t get up to Amma until the end of the night. After midnight. I knelt down and she embraced me. That scent of roses fills your senses.

She always mumbles something when she gives her hug. I can’t always understand it, but this time I did.

She said, “My daughter, my daughter, my daughter, my daughter.”

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Beverly Hills

Today I am in Beverly Hills visiting family. This is an interesting place to be a newly transitioning trans-woman. Even the loveliest cisgendered women can feel intimidated here in comparison with it’s flawless, high-priced examples of conventional beauty that populate the place. I noticed I got “clocked” here faster and more openly than at home. I noticed several people blatantly look me up and down, head to toe, a few smirks, and I caught one dude laughing to his friend before he noticed me looking at him.
 
You know what’s remarkable about this? How little I care.
 
It’s one of the things I feared most. How would I handle the self-consciousness and the awareness that others might be judging me? Would I be able to feel those feelings without giving in to it and attacking myself with self-loathing. I’ve had my moments, to be sure, but to my surprise…I’m mostly cool.
 
I have, as the kids say, no more fucks to give.
 
I’m really glad to be myself today, I’m glad to be strolling through beautiful Beverly Hills with my son on a gorgeous sunny day. I’m glad to be having lunch with family that loves and supports me. And I’m very grateful for the surprisingly large number of people who were kind and gracious to me today, who went out of their way to call me ma’am and to correct their pronouns.

Coming out on Facebook

My coming out on Facebook went really well. A huge outpouring of love and support. A lot of attention, which in my case, was pretty fun. To finally be seen–really seen…No more assumptions based on who they thought they knew or what I was presenting. The real deal now.

It’s part of the coming out process now: How and when to deal with your social media neighborhood. Being in the closet was especially irritating when I used social media. You are participating in this whole world without sharing how you REALLY feel. Gay marriage comes along and at best you are an “ally”. Some big story is happening about trans people, some Caitlyn story or a bathroom bill. You might address it as a citizen, as an ally, as a liberal-minded person, but you can’t speak to it from your real authority. In my case, I didn’t speak it at all. I had to take a break from Facebook until my family and I were ready to come out because I couldn’t bear to censor myself anymore.

It’s awesome to be out for me. I’m lucky to have the community I do, in the place where I live, in the time we are in.