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”.

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.

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.

Coming out Week

I came out to my business networking group last week via email and today was my first meeting in person as Robyn. I went in face, natural hair and my heeled boots. New cute jacket that has a little of the Banana Republic flair I’ve always enjoyed.

It was a phenomenal experience. Everyone  was so happy for me. One of my dude friends, a sports loving beer drinking British tradesman, said it was wonderful to see me smiling like that.

I have not been smiling much at these meetings. Getting up and selling myself as a business person was never easy, and I think it was because I just wasn’t being myself. I didn’t like who I was selling.

Plus, the stress I had been under with my marriage crumbling and all of the fears about being openly trans and the consequences I might face….I was scared.

It felt nice to finally be here on the other side of all that and not feel scared.

I created a new business card and took them to the meeting. Wonderful to see my name in huge red letters. My previous card you actually had to work to find my name, I so wanted to not be seen.

I’m excited about being in business. I’m thrilled to be Robyn again and to take that energy and bring it to the world and my clients. I have an urgency, yes, because life is expensive and getting more so. I have responsibilities to fulfill and in some ways that’s going to be harder than ever.

In other ways it will be much easier now that I am happy and free to be myself.

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I went pretty subtle. Very light makeup. I’m not trying to look “like a woman”. This isn’t an act or a costume. I’m trying to look like me as I understand me. I think I will look increasingly more like a woman with time and practice and shopping, but I’m not stalling or hiding, waiting until my presentation is perfect to come out and live my life. It starts today. All of the surface stuff will work itself out. In the meantime I am visibly trans, or gender-queer or whatever. I am asking for female pronouns, I am using the name I want to use and I feel really good in what I am wearing.

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I just feel like Robyn again, and that is a glorious feeling for me. Carrying that into the world with spirit and confidence as way more important than the right dress or a stuffed bra. Be who you are and the world will follow.

January 2016: Returning from my trans group having met another trans-woman with young kids. Holy shit, I'm gonna be a "Mom".

January 2016: Feeling exceptionally happy and beautiful after returning from my trans support group having met another trans-woman with young kids. Holy shit, I’m gonna be a “Mom”. I am entering transition with a wife and child. We may not remian married, but we will always be a family. I am happy and excited to be myself and free to follow my truth, and I have people I love deeply for whom I am responsible. They are not mutually exclusive. Taking care of me allows me to take care of them. I believe I will thrive as Robyn, but it does scare me sometimes, what I am taking on.