The Dilemma of a Christmas Wishlist

Sewwwww… does it sound ridiculous if I say the hardest thing I’ve done all week is send my mother a Christmas list? I knowwww: it sounds stupid! But I’m for real. And that’s saying a lot since this week I had several 12-hour days of filming, which – believe me – is rough stuff.

You see, most people don’t have to engage in complex politics when their mom asks them for a few gift suggestions, but I made the mistake of coming out to my parents during the Christmas-terminating half of the year. That blessed morn will be their first chance to realize how heavy my macho mask has been. For example, here are some gifts I’ve asked for in the past:

Now let me be clear: I still smoke my pipe if I’m really stressed out at home, the boxing gloves are awesome, and Ron Swanson is one of my favorite TV characters. However, my point is simply that in the past the gifts I’ve asked for have been to convince either myself or others that I’m a MANLY MAN.

Now that I’m ‘out,’ nothin’s gonna stop me from asking for what I actually want for Christmas. I’m not going to fake my wishes. But I also need to be prudent. I’m guessing (maybe unfairly – but I doubt it) that my parents are going to be touchy about any “femininity” that shows up in my gift wishes. They still might be in the “let’s affirm his masculinity and shut down the femininity” stage.

So here’s my list for this year:

  • Scarves
  • A leather satchel-bag or something similar that can hold my books
  • Coffee/tea thermos
  • Vermouth
  • Movies I might like to own: 500 Days of Summer, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Howl’s Moving Castle

My mom then asked me for more, so I sent her another email with:

I think I kept it pretty tame. I cut out some of the more “girly” or just outright female stuff I want/need, like:

  • A yellow umbrella like the one from How I Met Your Mother.
  • A purple, dark green, or maroon pea coat. 
  • A purple or white knit hat
  • Leg warmers (shit, it’s getting cold, and jeans just don’t cut it)
  • Leather knee-high boots
  • The collected works of Jane Austen (just seemed like too much for now)

Hopefully other people aren’t politicking their Christmas lists as much as I am. I’m probably over-sharing (I’m not a fan of turning blogs into personal rants), but I think it’s a strange and unexpected thing to have to navigate. It’s just weird. I dunno. 

Everyone have a happy Thanksgiving vacation!


Am I A Woman?

My mom recently told me that she “knows for a fact” I’m not a woman on the inside. As an anonymous transwoman’s mother said to her child, she (the transwoman) cannot be a woman because she hasn’t grown up as a girl and experienced the unique and challenging life of being female from birth. It is insulting to womanhood, the mother said, that her trans child thought of herself as a woman.

I hear these concerns loud and clear. It is true that I don’t know what it’s like to be biologically female. I’ll never fully know in this life, even if I transition. I wasn’t raised or socialized among women as a girl. My experience of life has been in the male world. However, does that really un-authenticate me? Yes, I’m missing that wealth of experience, but there are plenty of natal women who are also denied the fullness of a female experience. What about girls whose parents wanted a boy and therefore raise their daughter as a son? Can that girl not grow into womanhood? Is it too late for her just because she is missing particular experiences? Sure, she may have to try harder than other girls, but isn’t she still able to enter the world of Woman?

When my mom told me she “knows for a fact” I’m not a woman, she meant more than just this. She also meant that my core isn’t female in the first place. I can’t really argue with her because people have to either trust me about my own inner life or not, and I can’t control whether they believe me or not. What is hurtful is that she assumes that my transgenderism is her son wants to be a girl. I don’t want to “become” a girl. I don’t want to be anything except myself! I don’t want to “crossdress” – I want to dress, in clothes that I actually like. I don’t want to “make” my personality more feminine – I want to let the femininity that’s already there express itself! Some transgender people would disagree with me, but I feel that being transsexual doesn’t mean “making” yourself into the person you want to be – I feel that it is becoming the person you already are.

I could be wrong. After all, I’m still in the process of looking to God to tell me who I am. However, I strongly believe that my inner gender identity is truly female. Maybe God could change it to male, but in the meantime I have a core that will grow into a woman if I allow it to flourish.