I have been careful not to put too much hope in specific transition expectations and to take everything one step at a time.
And I'm glad. It was a loving, thoughtful thing I did for myself.
Virtually all the things that I kind of suspected but didn't feel justified in relying upon have turned out to be... true.
Like, I recall telling my friend when we were buying makeup to use to cover my beard shadow that I might not wanna wear makeup anymore once my beard was far enough gone.
But I sorry spent years developing the mental habits of critical thinking. And then later, considerable time in CBT therapy learning to turn that skill inwards to critically evaluate thoughts about myself.
And so I made extra special double sure to allow for the possibility that maybe, I would love to be a girly girl once I got over my shame, and that this whole trans-fem-but-not-femme thing might just be a coping mechanism.
A year and a half into transition I've experienced no such thing.
I mean, things have fluctuated a little bit. I've stopped some femme style markers and adopted some others, but in the grand scheme of things, the fluctuation has been minimal.
And I did indeed mostly stop wearing makeup the moment remaining beard stubble became tolerable from a dysphoria point of view. Though I've been experimenting a bit with mascara. So far... I like the look, but it's a hassle.
Anyhow, one thing I've learned from all this is to trust my intuition more.
Not about things I couldn't possibly know about, obviously. I haven't started believing in the supernatural or paranormal, exactly.
But when it's about predicting my own feelings and prejudices, there's nothing weird about being fairly accurate about that. I have access to a lot of the raw material my future self will be built from, after all.
All that said, there's been one big thing I didn't see coming. I identified as a gay man for 16 years. Had several relationships. Even moved in together with one boyfriend, for a while.
What I didn't know was the extent to which I was suppressing my bisexuality.
Plenty of people suppress their gay or bi nature to perform socially acceptable straightness, but vice versa? I'm not sure I'd considered the possibility.
In hindsight it made perfect sense. I was very aware of the way that (presumed) straight men can make women (justifiably!) uncomfortable just by looking at them for a split second too long, and absolutely mortified about doing so even accidentally, which clearly happened sometimes when I wanted to read what it said on a woman's t-shirt or the book she was reading or admire a creative hairstyle or whatever.
The idea of adopting the role of a straight man in a heteronormative relationship scared the hell out of me. (Of course!)
And I've never been especially attracted, to this day, to the heteronormative ideal of an attractive woman. The women in straight or "lesbian" porn do nothing for me. The fashion models, actresses and pop singers whose pictures my male teenage peers had been so excited about always left me cold.
I'd dare say this experience is not unheard of. FOR LESBIANS.
I knew a bunch of those. Always looked up to them. Wanted to be like them. (egg! egg! egg!)
But that seemed hardly relevant. Right?
I think I knowingly interacted with one trans woman before moving to San Francisco in 2013. She was shy and totally stealth outside the queer community at Caltech, just keeping her head down doing a technical job. I don't remember much about her and wouldn't tell you any detail if I did, because for all I know she's still stealth.
Anyway, I can go on about my experiences during those years and some day I probably will, but what little contact I had with trans people and representations of trans people was never relatable, for reasons that still largely make sense, so I didn't figure that out for years—and I just couldn't relate in a sexual or romantic way to women AS A MAN, and I still can't.
But even when I realized I was clearly some kind of trans to some extent—8/4/2017, I remember the day—I couldn't figure this out.
The thing is: I saw trans people say over and over and over that gender identity and sexual orientation are separate.
I had once dared to suggest in a Quora answer that actually, I'd been able to track down a few examples of trans people who'd found their orientation change (usually widen) but it had gotten shut down fast by others.
And this I internalized. Little did I know that what I was seeing was a reverse discourse directed against certain theories of transness that had historically been used against trans people.
I thought it was just the unfiltered experience of trans people, and when your feelings and intuitions are as tentative as mine were, and you're used to suppressing them entirely for so long... then sometimes it doesn't take much invalidation to dismiss them.
talk about porn
oh btw here's a tip if you didn't know: while "lesbian" porn is mostly targeted at cishet men, there is also a smaller genre usually marketed as "queer" porn that tends to feature actual lesbians and other humans of interesting and varied gender identities and presentations. you're welcome.
The Vulpine Club is a friendly and welcoming community of foxes and their associates, friends, and fans! =^^=