For me, being transgender has the advantage of getting to experience both of the “binary sides” of gender. That’s great for me because I’m somewhere in the middle of the transgender spectrum. (And I am starting to suspect that I’m actually bigender.) But obviously horrible for some others who identify totally as the opposite gender. I really can only speak for myself here, so my views only relate to my experience and feelings.
My body is a boy’s. I grew up as a boy. And I did all kinds of boy things. And I liked it. Cricket, footy, fishing and lots of bike riding were a large part of my growing up, typical boy stuff. I don’t think I ever thought that I wasn’t a boy. Still I felt that I was different from the other boys. Being a different ethnicity to the other boys certainly added to that feeling.
And then I discovered girl’s clothing and I liked it. The attraction was that I could feel pretty and soft and vulnerable. Which was very much on the opposite side of the spectrum of what I was experiencing being a boy. And then there was the being someone else…. She didn’t have her name back then, but Loretta was born. But even then I didn’t think I was anything but a boy. And interestingly enough I still love feeling pretty and soft and vulnerable.
I’m never going to be the most masculine of males. I don’t have the build nor the mindset to be that. I’m never going to be the most feminine of females either. Again I don’t have the physique nor the mindset for that either. I am so in the middle of it all.
I’ve done lots of tests on the internet, like the COGIATI test, and tried to answer them as truthfully as possible. I know that really they don’t have anything to back them up as being accurate. However it is still interesting to note that they all say that I’m androgenous. Or in the middle ground of being male or female. No surprise to me….fencesitter. And that was even true for the two COGIATI tests that I did 15 years apart.
So stuck in the middle…transgender and for most of my life not really getting to express it. It wasn’t horrible. There was so much in my life to be happy about. And for most of my life I didn’t realise that I was transgender. Or that there was this girl inside me wanting to get out and live life.
Oh there were times she demanded to dress up. But I just put that down to me being a crossdresser. And I knew myself well enough that there were going to be times that I just needed to dress up. Even though I thought that it was just the clothes, I did wonder what my name would be if I was a girl. And I thought that if I was a girl then my name would be what my parents would have called me – Leanne.
I always felt funny about that name. Not because it was a girl’s name. But somehow I just wasn’t comfortable with it. It didn’t really matter too much anyway as it wasn’t like I was ever going to use that name. So I left it at that for most of my life…until a couple of years ago when I decided that I wasn’t comfortable with Leanne. And that if I was going to have a girl’s name for the times I dressed as a girl it may as well be one that I liked. So after lots of searching it finally came to me and Loretta had her name.
As I got older I felt like I needed more than just dressing up occasionally. So I did what a lot of crossdressers do. I started wearing girl’s underwear all the time. That way I could always be connected to my girl side. I started sleeping in nighties and chemises to fit in more girl time. And I started wearing bangles and rings and necklaces to try and express my girl side.
Then one day I found that I had an issue with my eyes and went to my doctor. After checking me over and after sending me to an ophthalmologist, who declared that I had 20/20 vision, she told me that the issue was stress. We discussed my work stress and other things and of course my dressing up. I went home happy that I did not have a physical issue to deal with. But I did have a lot of thinking to do.
I started to think about myself a bit more carefully. Yes there was work stress. Stress with elderly parents having health issues, and stress from not being able to dress up as much as I would like. My dressing up I realised was actually more than just dressing up. When I dressed up I actually thought of myself as a girl, I became a girl, I became Loretta. And I started to consider that I might actually be transgender.
Now I know that crossdressing is part of the transgender spectrum. So I really already was transgender. But to give up identifying myself as a crossdresser and to identify as transgender gave me the freedom to explore further who I might be.
I knew that I needed to express my girl side more freely. I’d been wearing girl’s things but stealthily, so rather than hide it, I thought I should embrace it. And that’s when I started to think that I should tell people that I was transgender. And I did, family and workmates were the first to know. But not a whole lot changed. As I told everyone “Don’t expect to see me in a dress, because I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing that”.
So for 5 months after my bold declaration things stayed the same. And then one day, Halloween of all days, I decided to go to work as a girl. It was going to be a quiet day with only 3 others in. So I asked them all if they would mind if I dressed up for the day. And they were all fine with it so I did. Amazingly the world didn’t end and I had a great day. At the end of it my friend Katie suggested that we frock up for Cup day…which was the next day. Two days in a row as a girl? Yes please!
So a one day experiment rolled into two. And I loved the second day as much as the first. So I started letting my workmates know that I would be coming to work dressed as a girl sometimes and that I hoped it was OK with them. Everyone was so supportive it was amazing. Two days rolled into three days, then a week, and now ever since.
And it’s not just that I come to work dressed as a girl that’s so good. I actually am that girl. I am Loretta. I get to live that life, her life, my life, with all the ups and downs that come with it. And it is so amazing to be able to do this and it’s also so empowering.
So now I get to express both of my sides and it’s fantastic. To be able to be the girl I found inside me on a regular basis is so wonderfully fulfilling. The added bonus is that I don’t have to give up my old self either. He’s still here, anchoring the family and providing stability along with doing all the boy things that need doing.
But wouldn’t it be easier if I wasn’t transgender and was just a boy? Well yes and no, I would be a totally different person. Half of what makes me me would be missing, and what would it be replaced by, more boy? To be honest that scares me a little. I don’t think I want to be a more testosterone driven male. And if I was all boy, would I have the family that I love so much today?
Or what if it was the other way and I was all girl? I’m pretty sure that my sexual attraction wouldn’t change given what I know from being transgender. So I would be a lesbian. And where would that leave me with family? Obviously I wouldn’t have the family I love so much today.
Being one of the binary genders is just hypothetical of course. Being transgender is not easy. But being either of the binary genders is not easy either. Everyone has their own issues. But only a few of us get to see the world from both sides of the fence. For me being transgender is no curse. It’s not easy. There’s a lot of work involved, both physically and mentally. And it makes relationships in a binary world more tricky. But it works for me and it suits me. It’s not for everyone but being transgender is my blessing.
Oh and one I’d the great gifts of being transgender, for me, is that it’s given me the opportunity to write. I like to write, but I need something to focus on otherwise I lose interest. This transgender journey is the perfect thing for me to write about. There’s always more for me to discover and write about. And it helps me so much in clarifying who I am and how I think about myself and my relationships.
Photo by Boram Kim