Robert Pattison is going to be Batman in a new movie. He was asked about playing the character in an interview and he said something that kind of jumped out at me.
“It’s beautiful, people who seem to live in two states at the same time.”
Of course he was referring to superheroes and their civilian identities, but I couldn’t help but identify with his words. My gender identities are pretty defined. I am presenting as one gender or another. Work boots or stilettos. Perfect makeup or a five o’clock shadow. Jeans or a tight skirt. But even in male mode I am underdressing or wearing leggings or a nightgown at home. I don’t care (and I expect they do) if people look at Hannah and know she’s trans. I mean, I am trans. But I absolutely do not want anyone to see my panties poking out from under the waistline of my jeans in boy mode.
I imagine this is the same for a superhero. Clark Kent is probably wary of his cape sticking out of his tucked-in shirt. I don’t want anyone to see my bra straps under my shirt.
Even if I present in one gender or another, I am always who I am. It’s not like another personality takes over when I am en femme. I mean, not really. Hannah is more social (barely) than the boy me. Hannah is braver and bolder and is used to standing out. The boy doesn’t want to draw attention. A cute dress brings out this part of me, pushing me out of my normal everyday comfort zone. But I am still one person regardless.
But to put a finer point on it, I am always two people at the same time. Like Batman, I suppose. Hannah thinks about an upcoming meeting with his boss, the boy thinks about which dress to wear for her next night out. Going from one gender presentation to another is not the same as flipping a light switch… it’s more of a dimmer switch that can ease from one appearance to another. Not exactly a speeding bullet. I wonder if Batman thinks about what he needs at the grocery store when he is stopping a bank robbery. Probably not, but you know what I mean.
A superhero usually has a secret identity where very few people know that Clark Kent is Superman. We are not much different. There are only a handful of people in my life that know Hannah and know the boy. In fact I can only think of three. More people than that know about… all of this, but only a few in my boy life have met Hannah. Hannah having coffee with someone who knows the boy me is a blending of two worlds. Hannah talks about her boy life, such as his family. But for the most part, Hannah’s life and the boy life are as separate as they can be. Hannah has her friends, the boy has his friends. The boy and Hannah have very, very few mutual friends. If you know what I mean. And you do.
I love that Hannah has friends. I love that Hannah has her own life. My boy life is equally as wonderful and satisfying. But sometimes I wish for a little more overlap. It’s odd and sometimes feels a little deceptive that my best friends of 30 years have no inking that there is another side of me. I have amazing friends in both of my genders, but sometimes I wish his friends knew her. If you know what I mean. And you do.
Every once in a while I think about coming out to a few of his friends. And perhaps I will, but between the life-changing pandemic and, well, everything else, now is not the time to make any decisions like that. The genie can’t go back into the bottle, if you know what I mean. Coming out to someone forever changes our own life but it also will change the life of the person we come out to. We need to be gentle and considerate of this potential bombshell. I know that these days it is incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed by everything occurring and I often feel that any new information, any new decision is going to be more than I can handle. I can’t willingly drop this revelation on my friends who are going through these same experiences.
Having two lives (for all intents and purposes) is a wonderful thing. Hannah’s life is a refuge from the boy’s stressful (but satisfying) life in the same way it’s nice to kick off my heels after a long (but amazing) day en femme. I have no desire to choose a gender to live as or present as for the rest of my life. Transition is not for me. Instead I will continue to live two lives, sometimes at the same time.
And yes, it’s beautiful. I just wish more people knew that.