Survival of the branded

renai_774

Was in the middle of doing something else and then came upon this that I wanted to share.

Mother of transgender child shares her family’s journey

Articles about younger children and teens coming into themselves about their gender identity tend to make me take a good long look at myself. In that, because I haven’t had an experience so radical and attention-grabbing, perhaps I am wrong about where I am going. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that it’s okay to be wrong…but to be wrong about something that has the potential to violently transform every person’s thoughts of me and who I have been to them at any given point in my life…

…Well who wants to be wrong about something like that?

What makes this article particularly worth blogging about is that I don’t believe I’m the only one who thinks that they are less acceptable as LGBTQ because they haven’t experienced such a vivid realization at that age or even during their teens. I can only speak for myself here, but though I did not protest my gender outwardly, there are tons of memories that I have locked away because of how different or unsuited they were for my survival as the gender I was pinned as.

Yes, from my own past experiences with never fitting in with boys and, in turn, always playing with girls – dolls, makeup, and all – when I could, to the epic drama of my parents’ separation and eventual divorce, to my own online escapism of presenting as female because I had no clue such a thing existed or could be achieved in real life…my story has been all about my survival.

In some shape or form, I have always wanted to be female so there would be no questioning my frequent interactions with females by both males and females. I didn’t want to be judged or accused of being someone who just wanted to get into a girl’s pants or peek under their skirt. That’s never been what I’ve been about, and yet it’s how it’s always been. The older I became, the less acceptable it was by society and by the females in question.

So, I had to survive. Playing sports in high school because that’s what boys did. Having male friends but always feeling as though they would never understand me because all they cared about was sex and sports. Prioritizing being an attractive male in the hopes that someone would be willing to accept me so I could share my whole heart and soul with them. If I didn’t, I risked being alone because it wasn’t biblical or socially acceptable for a male to don a female identity. My sexual orientation leans towards females, so I’d be deemed a fool, liar, and no one a lover’s family could accept.

So, I kept it all hidden. Buried. Only gracefully revealed to the online world.

Like the girl in the article, I’m very much a “girly girl” when it comes to style, but without being too gaudy or vibrant. I care about my appearance, always loved putting on makeup, looking mature, yet youthfully attractive, and showing off what I work very hard to keep. I love shopping and finding mysterious trinkets to wear. I love the options of shoes and dresses, though I’m not particularly picky. The irony is that I have never enjoyed shopping for male clothes and don’t particularly care to make myself appear debonair or “manly.” To put it in terms Japanophiles can understand: My biggest shopping spree ever was in Ginza, Tokyo. Goodness was that a good day of shopping…

There is a dominant, female side that I have buried for as far back as I could remember and am still getting to know. I love myself more when she is present. I feel more comfortable and happy when I look into the mirror and see her gray eyes smiling back at me. I quite honestly need to be pulled away from gazing upon myself because I look beautiful and fully embrace my identity as Ren. And when I have to go weeks upon weeks as this male persona – a byproduct of one individual’s survival and coping mechanisms against society – it’s disheartening. Seeing my oft worn outfits that I’ll no longer be able to wear as Summer draws to a close. To just not be able to enjoy and be comfortable in my being…

So no, I did not experience such a transformative premonition as a child or teen that made everyone around me question. I didn’t even particularly begin struggling with my gender until I entered college, where a whole new world then opened up to me, and, subsequently, this blog came into existence. Even still, I don’t think it’s coincidence (or some random curiosity/choice) that I somehow feel connected to those who are transgendered, queer, or otherwise. Why their stories resonate within me, and why I, too, wish I could have experienced such an outward struggle at a young age so it would all make sense to those in my life now.

I just never knew there was anything beyond what I had been branded with. All I have ever known…was my own survival.

Like the little girl in the article, maybe one day, when someone special wishes to spend the rest of their life with me, I’ll stand in front of everyone I know and tell them that I am bi-gender (or perhaps transgender by that time). That I would have matured and become stable in my lifestyle to no longer have anything to lose.

People would turn away and leave me, but that is nothing new for me. As long as I have my friends, someone that would love me, and a life that I can live out freely and comfortably, I would be more than okay to lose those who are too close-minded and locked in society’s mold of conformity.

If only…

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