Still Me But Not Really

In the evening when you see my eyes
Looking back at you, no disguise
I’m not sure who you think you’ll see
I’m just hoping you’ll still know that it’s me

Oh – what if it’s true
Better ask the man inside
Oh, oh – there seem to be two

-Jackson Browne

Whether you identify as a crossdresser, as gender fluid, as transgender, most of us realize early in our lives that there’s something more to us.  As we grow up we see that this side of us isn’t going away and is in fact, growing stronger within us.  We get to know this side us, and we learn that this side of us IS us.  It’s not limited to simply being a part of us, it’s who we are.

Once we acknowledge all of ourselves it becomes part of our everyday lives.  We likely will try on clothes that don’t belong to us, we shop in different stores in the mall than we normally do, we buy clothes that we hide in our drawers and in the back of our closets.  We become accustomed to having more than one side of our gender identity, or understanding the gender the world thinks we are is different than how we really feel.

After we acknowledge who we are, we will (hopefully) embrace our identity.  Even after we make peace with ourselves, it’s still likely a secret.   And usually it’s a secret for a loooong time. Until the day that we fall in love, of course.

When we fall in love, it unlocks a part of us that wants to share our lives with that person  ALL PARTS OF OUR LIVES.  We know that we should tell this beloved person about who we are, about what’s in our closets.  The idea terrifies us but we know we should tell them.  And we (probably) should.  The hesitancy is understandable.  There are few revelations that could instantly end a relationship as quickly as this one.  Sometimes we are in denial and are convinced that we can stop or shut off this side of us.  We cannnnnnnnnn’t.  And we don’t neeeeeeeeeeeed to.  There’s nothing wrong with who we are.  I mean, it’s true that this is a lot to ask of our partners but please know that even if your beloved thinks there is something wrong with who you are, there’s nothing wrong with who you are.  Yes, it’s a little unusual, but it is what it is.

You need to be ready and stable in a few ways before you can (and should) commit to someone.  Emotionally yes, but you need to understand (as much as one can) your gender identity as much as possible.  Who are you?  How do you identify?  What do you want?  These questions are also about making peace with who you are.  It’s a lot to ask of our partners to go through your personal gender identity journey with you.

Of course one’s gender identity can change and grow as you do.  Ten years ago I was a crossdresser.  Today I am bi-gender.

When I met my wife I told her about panties.  Today we talk about eyeliner and fashion.  But the BIG thing I knew was that transitioning was not right for me.I am blessed in quite a few ways, but when it came to my gender identity evolving from lingerie to who I am now, my wife was there at the beginning.  Yes I tried on a few dresses as I grew up, but my first real time was with my wife.  She did some light makeup and after that our lives were never the same.  She was there when I settled on a name, did my eye makeup the first night I went out, and gave me the idea for the MN T-Girls.  Of course this makes it all sound so easy but there have been plenty of difficult conversations as we both learned about gender and (ugh) my journey.

However most partners do not get this perspective.  For most, it’s a bombshell that is dropped on them, whether we come out to them, or we are “caught”.  We try our best to explain who we are, why we are, but we also try to explain that we are still the same person that they knew.  We are still ourselves.And to some extent that is true.  But it’s kind of not, at least not to our partners.  We live with this side of us, we have done so for years.  This side of us IS who we are.  It’s been who we are for decades.  But to our partners, it’s a shock, it’s something about us that they didn’t know about.  They didn’t know we had this side.  They didn’t know this was a part of ourselves.    

Coming out to someone is one of the biggest, scariest things we will ever do.  It’s also risky as we have really no way of knowing how someone will react and we will be changing that relationship FOREVER.  Telling our partners about who we are is essential.  It’s only fair to let them know about this side of us.  Coming out also takes a huge amount of compassion as they will likely react in a very strong way and will likely be confused, hurt, and scared.  I know we feel we are still the same person, but our significant others don’t see it that way, at least not at first.  We grew into, and grew up with this side of us.  Our femme selves are as much of a part of us as our boy lives, but our partners don’t know that.  Yes, we are the same person that we’ve always been but please be kind when you come out to someone.  They will likely have a different perspective than we do.

Love, Hannah

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