Thursday, January 6, 2022

Gender Baggage

 It's no real secret we transgender women and men carry a ton of baggage with us as we cross the gender frontier. Even though the amount of baggage we carry varies, we all seemingly have our share to bring along. 

Photo by Caroline Selfors on Unsplash

The older we are, perhaps the more baggage we have to bring along. In many cases we have years of building families, jobs, friends and lives in general to deal with as we transition. 

By the time I was able to transition I could cross a couple of the items off the list.   First of all, at my age nearly all of the few close male friends I had passed away. Secondly I was newly single and of the age I could consider an early Social Security retirement. Finally, my family was mostly distant and really only consisted of my daughter and brother. 

Tragically as I look back I wonder how much life I lost by not embracing my gender dysphoria and doing something about it. My excuse is my fear of transitioning held me back and I tried to not get close to many in the outside world.  After all I didn't know how many would accept the true me.

Years later, as I began to transition in earnest, I learned most of my fears were not grounded in reality. Looking on the bright side, I found I was presented with another opportunity to rebuild myself...from scratch. An opportunity many humans never have. As I was approaching my new gender challenge I learned I was experiencing a true void. The biggest example was my love of sports. How was I ever going to watch and enjoy sports again. My stereotypical brain told me cis women just didn't delve into sports as much as I did. Plus on the rare occasions I encountered a man who wanted to talk sports, I would have to "dumb" myself down and act as if I knew very little.

What really happened was I found three cis women who shared my passion for sports. All of a sudden we began to gather in big sports bars to watch key games. We even went to a women's roller derby event in Cincinnati. The biggest thrill (and scariest) was when I was invited along to a pro football game which I will go into in another post. 

All of a sudden I was just one of the girls and since two of the others were very outgoing I didn't have to worry about interacting with any men. The guys always took aim for them.

As you can tell, I was fortunate when I transitioned. I brought my love of sports with me and was able to shed most of my old male baggage. I give credit to my hormone replacement therapy also as the world seemed to soften around me. 

Whatever the case I was able to pick and choose what I wanted to keep in my new feminine life and move forward in life. The whole process leaves me wondering why I waited so long to do it. Which is also a topic for another post.  

2 comments:

  1. My sporting passion is Rugby, I used to play before there was a women's game, so when I start pontificating about a game I often get the "what do you know about it anyway" attitude from guys. Sometimes I fail to resist the temptation to tell them I played in the front row for nearly 30 years!

    I've only been to a couple of big games since transitioning, one of the joys is these are at least one of the rare occasions when I'm not the one queuing up for the loo!

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  2. I’ve not changed my lifestyle much, at all, since the onset of my transition. I enjoy sports, just as I always have, and I’m not ashamed of sharing my sports knowledge with anybody. There are plenty of women who know more than I do, so I don’t feel any less feminine for sharing what I know. I do, however, usually refrain from adding my war stories from playing high school football to the discussion (even if they might be perceived to be first-hand expertise on the subject at hand). I don’t enter into these discussions in a competitive way, as I might have done in the past. I’m so relieved that I’m not expected to prove myself on such matters these days.
    My wife had grown to enjoy sports over the years, and so we continue to watch football and baseball together. I’ve even enjoyed watching figure skating with her without feigning disinterest (as I used to do). I always get a little chuckle, recalling my official “coming out” to her:
    My dysphoria had gotten the best of me, and I’d reached the point of finding my male life intolerable. I had locked myself in my basement office for two full days, and my wife had had enough of it. She left the house that Saturday morning, and, having heard her go out the door, I felt it safe to come out from hiding. The letter she’d left for me on the kitchen counter was an ultimatum, and I knew that I had to finally confront her. She knew what I had been doing (cross dressing), but she didn’t understand anything about it (I can tell you that explaining the X’s and O’s of football is easier than explaining the XX and XY of gender identity). So, I responded to her letter with a short note stating that I could only be completely honest with her, and that I had to do so as the woman she’d never seen or met. I then went about the business of cleaning myself up as preparation for her return home (she hadn’t taken the large suitcase, so I knew she’d be back before the weekend was over).
    When my wife came home on Sunday afternoon, I was in the bathroom finishing my makeup. After she’d read my note, she asked me, through the door, if I was coming out of the bathroom soon. I said back that I would be out soon, and asked if it were OK that I did so in complete honesty. She answered, “Yes,” and then turned the TV on to watch the NFL playoff game. When I appeared to her, it was as if nothing was really different. I knew that she was playing it cool, and she wasn’t about to give me the satisfaction of receiving a big reaction to my big reveal. As I began to try to explain myself, she seemed to be distracted by the game on the TV. I finally said that I would just wait until half-time to try to talk to her, since the game seemed to be more interesting than what I had to say (a little passive-aggressive on both our parts). I then proceeded to prepare some nachos and a batch of Margaritas. By the time the second half of the game began, I’d made her understand that I had to live as a woman, and that I would never hide from her again. She made it clear to me that she was not a Lesbian. Then we both enjoyed the game together, just as we always had done before. I think that the Margaritas helped a lot, even if the second blender-full didn’t lead to a sexual encounter (as it might well have done in the past). :-)

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