Trans Reflexes


Cincinnati Skyline
From the Jessie Hart

Quite early during my transition I found myself needing to develop a whole new set of public reflexes to use when I was out in the world. No longer could I fall back on the tried and true old male actions I had crafted over the years to get by. Primary examples include having an interest in sports and owning muscle cars. Anything I could do to prove I was worthy of being called a male which of course, deep down, I always resisted. The benefit was I could participate in the many available male privileges such as job preference. The whole process was helpful in hiding my feminine tendencies and keeping the bullies away. 

Anytime I was faced with some sort of confrontation, I was able to "puff" myself up (since I was never really a small person) and fend off many possible disputes. It became my go to reflex which had to radically change when I began to live as my authentic feminine self. Nearly immediately I was shocked when I was na├»ve in thinking I would be accepted in man-centric conversations. No one cared about my amount of expertise or success at my job or my overall knowledge of the world. I quickly discovered the art of "mansplaining" and how it was an insult to all women. A prime example came when I needed to have my car towed one time and couldn't even be allowed to explain to the tow truck driver and the policeman where I lived. On the way back home in the truck, to make conversation I tried to play the dumb blond and ask questions about how the tow truck worked. It seemed to do the trick because shortly the driver started to comment about what his wife packed him for lunch. Who knows, maybe he thought I was trying to pick him up. 

Of course the biggest reflex I needed to change (and quickly) was when my personal security was threatened as a woman. Transgender or not. No longer could I rely on my size as a man to keep me out of possible danger. I went from the protector to needing the protection. I was cornered once in a hallway during a party I was attending with my second wife by a much larger man who was coming after me when he found me in a space where I couldn't escape. Luckily, my wife was there and ironically became my protector and he left me alone. I paid the price with her by hearing the lecture of being more careful. Still I didn't learn quickly. There was another night when I was stupidly walking alone between gay venues in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Two men approached me asking for money and all I had was a five dollar bill which satisfied them for the moment and I quickly left and made it to my car. From then on, I made sure I had friends walk me to my car when I went back there plus I made sure I took advantage of closer lighted parking. Security lessons learned. 

Following all of those immediate personal reflex changes, future reflex differences were easier to accommodate and learn from. As my communication skills improved, I was able to be more skilled at reading passive behavior skills from other women. Which helped me anticipate when some other woman was going to claw or knife my back. For the most part men left me alone so I didn't have to worry much about them. Which was ironic since my history with men should have given me more skills to deal with them but then again, I was mostly socializing with lesbians so I was insulated from men altogether. 

Through it all, my inner woman took her cue to live and ran with it. Seemingly, she made up for a lifetime in the closet in a few short years. It was almost as if she was waiting patiently for her time and quickly made the most of honing her reflexes quite quickly when it happened.