Boyhoods and Girlhoods

There’s not a lot I can add on all the animosity that’s recently spilled onto the GLBT blogosphere (again) between women assigned male identities at birth.  However, it does remind me of a story…

There’s a fairly well-known trans man who, on multiple occasions has told a story involving his birth name, Katherine.  Now, I don’t know if that’s how his parents spelled it, or if that’s really his birth name, but that’s beside the point.  The point is, Katherine is my name.I imagine a hypothetical young child growing up, answering to the name of Kate– the very name I chose to go by (and spent a great deal of effort and even money claiming for myself).  This child had the girlhood that I hoped I’d awaken to, every night of my sullen, miserable boyhood.  When he got older, he likely chose to have his breasts removed– the very breasts I always wished for (well, not literally).  My guess is this hypothetic other Kate even decided to begin taking testosterone.  He ruined his beautiful voice, marred his face with scratchy, disgusting hair, and developed an obnoxious, incessant sex drive.  Finally, he discarded the very name, and identity that I gladly took for myself.

It’s hard not to wonder what this hypothetical Kate was thinking.  He had seemingly everything I wanted, and yet chose to throw it all away.  On some levels, it leaves me baffled and saddened.

Its, its, its almost as if different people have different personalities, different drives, different souls.  I’m guessing my hypothetical trans man would have a very different take on his story than I do.  What’s very right for me, undoubtedly proved painfully wrong for him.

As for me, I don’t understand why anyone would transition from female to male, anymore than I understand why someone would have sex with a man, or pay money to see Dane Cook.  It all leaves me scratching my head.

I wish there were more people out there like me– I think we all wish that our views and lives weren’t so marginalized.  I wish there weren’t so many heterosexuals out there, often furrowing their brows in an effort to understand my partner and I.  I wish there were lesbian parents living on every block, just so my partner and I wouldn’t have to answer stupid and often offensive questions whenever we go out with our daughter.  I certainly wish there were more transsexual people out there– it’s hell having so many people make so many stupid assumptions about my life, based on a complete misunderstand of who I am.

But… I’m not that great.  The answer is not for everyone to follow my path in life, but rather for all of us to learn about and respect each other.  It’s a cliche (or should be), but diversity is one of the things that makes life worth living.  My partner’s not just like me, and we’re both looking forward to seeing our daughter’s personality develop.  I love learning new things from my friends and neighbors.  If it wasn’t for these little joys, life would be monotonous, and frankly, pointless.  All of us are guilty, to one degree or another, of passing judgment on those different than ourselves.  It’s human nature.  But, regardless of what anyone else has said to us, or done to us, or how bizarre their seems to us, we owe it to ourselves to not spend our precious energy fighting to condemn that which we can’t, and shouldn’t change.