My Transgender Monologue

monologue 2

To be real or not to be real… that is the question.

Last February I was privileged to be part of a show at my University that took anonymously submitted student monologues and performed them to give a voice to the voiceless. Monologues were about everything from race to sexual orientation to depression. Below is the piece I wrote for the show, which was performed by a dear friend of mine. 

In retrospect I might have written some of it differently, but the heart of the monologue is still relevant. 

 

I am not who I seem to be.

Um, I don’t have much time, so I’ll just say it: *Sigh* …I’m transgender. I have the body of a boy, but I’m a girl on the inside. *Sigh* It’s complicated.

The thing is, when people think of transsexuals, they think of some old dude in bad make-up impersonating Marilyn Monroe on the weekends. That’s not me. I’m a poet; I love Jane Austen; I like to dance and smile; I want to be called beautiful. My soul is simple and pure, like a small clear gem. I think my soul is beautiful. The thing is it took a long time to get here, because my entire life I have felt deep shame about who I am. I’ve felt like a freak; I’ve felt like everything that comes naturally to my spirit is somehow bad and insufficient. I’m carefree and hopeful? NO, I must be competitive and pragmatic! I’m compassionate and empathetic? NO, I must be self-sufficient and logical! I want to ask for leather boots for Christmas, and instead I ask for aftershave.

I spend so much energy on fruitless labor. I’m exhausted all the time! Our society demands that I fit into these ridiculous boxes of masculinity and femininity. I’m born with male junk between my legs, and therefore I have to dress a certain way, act a certain way, smile a certain way, express love a certain way. I’m not saying that I have a problem with gender roles or the categories of male and female. The great dance between the yin and yang of the universe is breathtakingly beautiful! What troubles me is that I am automatically not allowed to join in this dance because I am different. I’m sorry, I just don’t feel like a dude. My emotions, my paradigm, my everything, feels female. What do you want me to do about it!? Be a lie?!

The thing is, so far I’ve been mostly a lie. You would never have guessed I’m transgender. I’ve played sports with you. I’ve dated your friend. I’ve pranced around like a regular bro, pretending to feel and think the way I’m ‘supposed’ to. I deserve an Academy Award for Best Actress – no, wait, for a Lifetime Achievement. I’m sitting right next to you, and you don’t know I’m here.

*chuckle* You never can tell with people, can you?

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7 thoughts on “My Transgender Monologue

  1. I love what you wrote about the dance of yin and yang. I also find it beautiful, my desire to participate–to truly participate–was what motivated my transition.

    I hope things are going well for you!

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    • Yeah, to me it’s important that gender is both recognized as important and complicated. I feel trapped between the “Right” who says gender is the same as sex and is totally straightforward, and the “Left” that says gender doesn’t matter and you can become whatever you want to be. My personal experience has been that I can’t just become whatever I want because I tried to make myself into a dude but it didn’t work out, so gender means SOMETHING – who knows what. Whatever it means, it’s a breathtaking reality, and right now I daydream extensively of the day I’ll fully be able to be a part of it.

      Things are going all right. I just have to survive this semester (1 month!) and then I’ll finally be able to start my own life!

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      • 1 month! Huge congrats on being almost done with school! I completely agree with you on purely essentialist/determinist vs purely constructionist views of gender. Neither is telling the whole story–and the fact of trans people is an obvious flaw in both theories that neither seems to notice. Reminds me of Julia Serano’s arguments in Whipping Girl (which you should definitely read if you haven’t yet!).

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  2. edarlitrix says:

    Well said, and can I just say that I think society and culture has greatly destroyed our ability to self-express–different genders are supposed to like different things, and if you like what the opposite gender likes, you are a freak or something. Come on, why can’t men like butterflies and pink? Why can’t women like motorcycles and Batman (actually THEY CAN…. “tomboy.”) But men can’t? What kind of arbitrary division is that? Women and girls can pretty much like whatever they want, but if a male likes something “girly,” he has a problem. Who says? An arbitrary society. It’s that that drives people to think there’s something wrong with them.

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