No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys
There’s a little something inside that won’t let me
No matter how hard I try to have an open mind
There’s a little voice inside that prevents me
I do my best to not generalize or stereotype in my writings. I cringe a little whenever I get an email from a girl like us that reads something like “women NEVER wear heels anymore”.
Obviously it’s not true and this generalization is hurtful. Usually the email will go on to say that women don’t appreciate or take advantage of being allowed to wear cute clothes or whatever. They usually imply that girls like us appreciate being a girl more than cis-women do.
For starters, competing and saying things like that is just… stupid. I don’t like it when t-girls compare other t-girls or put them down by insulting or making derogatory comments based on their appearances or fashion choices. I don’t think it’s healthy or nice or accurate to say that t-girls are more feminine than cis-women.
Anyway, as much as I avoid generalization, I understand that this post is going to come across as very stereotypical. Let me say that I am going to make some broad observations and musings but please know that anything I say will have some caveats and exceptions. What I mean is that when I say “men don’t….” I really mean that I realize that not every man is like this, however based on my experience I feel that most men think that….”.
Anyone who knows Hannah or reads this website knows that I have two gender identities and I spend more of my life presenting as male than as a girl. However in my male life very, very, VERY few people know about her. And those that do aren’t really aware of how… active and prolific that my femme side is. With the exception of my brother, I have never told any man about this side of me. With him as an exception I have only come out to girls. Three of the girls I have come out to were because I was dating them and one of them I was fortunate enough to marry. I came out to my sisters and my mom, and a couple of my female friends. I think that’s it.
Why not more men? Honestly I feel as hard as it is for anyone to understand this side of us, men have a harder time understanding or even being open to why a guy would want to wear heels or shave their legs or spend $80 on a makeover. Why wouldn’t a guy WANT to be a guy and do guy things?
That’s not to say that a guy thinks why wouldn’t a guy want to do stereotypical guy things (like…uh, ice fishing and watching football or whatever), but more like why on Earth would anyone choose to spend all that time and money and effort in an outfit or their appearance? Why put yourself through the pain of getting your eyebrows threaded? Again, I am not implying that men don’t care about their appearance or grooming, but the number of dudes wearing socks and sandals and pajama pants at Best Buy seem to suggest that the majority of men don’t put much effort in how they look.
And yes, I know, I know, NOT ALL MEN.
I think many men equate anything feminine with being gay and there’s a lot of men out there that would rather die than anyone thinking they aren’t straight.
I have listened to men for decades and more than once I have heard them complain about their girlfriends or their wives . They don’t understand why a girl is spending so much time getting ready, or why they want to look cute when they are just running to the store, or why they are dressing up to go out to dinner with their sister. Guys (again, I am generalizing) have no problem with wearing a t-shirt with a hole in it and sweatpants to meet their buddies for a beer.
This is not to say that you need to wear a three piece suit to Buffalo Wild Wings or whatever but I think you understand.
Men don’t understand why their future bride spends months looking for a perfect wedding dress to wear for one day or why she is getting her nails done every few weeks and can’t even grasp why she would spend $200 on a haircut. These perspectives are based on their own experiences. A haircut for a guy is less than twenty dollars. Guys just need to go to the tux shop to get fitted for their wedding. Life couldn’t be easier for a cis/het guy.
So when a guy tells another guy that they have a side of them that wants to look beautiful, that they want to wear a cute outfit, that they are happy to spend an evening taking a really good shower, shaving their legs, and doing their nails most men will think that their buddy has lost their mind. Why would ANYONE want to do that? Why would a dude WANT to?
I mean, they have a point. I don’t know why I want to do these things. I don’t know why I do. But when I have come out to girls they may not understand it, but they get it. My wife likes to look cute when she runs errands or meet her girlfriends for lunch so she understands why Hannah wants to as well. My wife has outfits that she wears that she feels cute in, and she gets why Hannah has clothes that do the same thing. My wife, and I think many cis-women (again, based on my experiences) understand and can relate to wanting to look and feel a certain way. Many women understand and can relate to how amazing their legs feel when they are smooth and freshly shaved. She may not understand why I choose to do this but she can relate. She gets why someone would want to do this. She knows how much of a self-esteem boost it is to wear an outfit you feel amazing in. She knows that leggings are comfier than jeans.
In my experiences coming out to girls can go a number of ways but for the most part there is a level of understanding why someone would want to feel and look beautiful, regardless of them understanding why a guy would want to dress. I don’t think most cis-women think or wonder why they themselves want to look cute or wear a certain outfit but then again most girls aren’t expected to have to explain why they feel this way so perhaps there isn’t as much soul-searching or over-thinking as a t-girl will do.
None of this is meant to suggest that my male friends are idiots or cruel or homophobic. I have three very close male friends and I think they are all good people. I wouldn’t be friends with them if they weren’t. We all feel the same about social and LGBTQ+ rights, we all have friends or family members that aren’t in the cis/het categories. I know that they like me and care about me. I have not come out to them because I am afraid of being shunned or mocked, that’s not it. I haven’t come out to them (for the most part) because I don’t know how to explain who I am in a context that they could relate to (as far as I know). My wife understands the frustration of getting one eye perfect with your eyeliner and shadow and the other eye turning out to be a disaster. My wife can relate to wanting to look cute, but I don’t know how to talk about Hannah to my guy friends.
Coming out is one of the biggest decisions we will ever make. The repercussions could be enormous. The cat is out of the bag, the genie is out of the bottle. You may never discuss *this* again with someone you come out to, but they know. They will always know. Coming out reveals our secret side to others, but coming out reveals a lot about the person we come out to. You can never really predict how they will react regardless of what they have said in the past. Sure, they may be supportive of the LGBTQ+ community but it might be a little different when their buddy of twenty years comes out to them. Coming out is entrusting someone else to keep this a secret to. To respect it. Many of us are scared to death of everyone in our lives knowing about this and when we keep it a secret it’s easy to control who knows. But when someone else knows…
Relationships, friendships, marriages… all of this can be destroyed or at the very least forever changed when we come out. I don’t mean to scare anyone off from doing this, I just think we need to be very careful and thoughtful when we do.
Will I come out to my male friends? I doubt it. When we come out to someone we usually do so with a purpose. I came out to a roommate because with her random and sporadic sleep and work schedule I thought there was a good chance she might catch me wearing a nightgown so instead of surprising her I thought it would be best to tell her first. I also didn’t want to always live in fear of being caught. She was very cool about it. I have come out to girls I have been in relationships with because they needed to know. I came out to my sisters and my mom because, well, I had hoped that they would want to get to know Hannah. That hasn’t happened. My family is very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, but as I said earlier, it might be a little weird for them when it’s someone you know to adjust to this revelation. Coming out would also impact my wife as well. Not only would my friends (and likely their spouses) see me in a new light, they would also see my wife differently as well. They would have a glimpse into a side of our marriage that few people have.
The only reason I can think of why I would want to come out to my male friends is because, well, they’re my friends. I don’t expect them (or necessarily want them to) to know Hannah the way they know me. I don’t want Hannah to meet them for dinner or anything like that. I I would come out to them because I think they would want to know. If any of my friends had something like this to share, I would want them to tell me. I think I would almost be hurt if I knew they were keeping something like this from me, especially if they weren’t sure of how I would react.