Just a reminder that just because many of us have to keep this side of us a secret (for various reasons), it does not mean that there’s anything “wrong” with who we are.
It can be, well, soul crushing at times to go through so much effort to be discreet. We go to great lengths to make sure all evidence of nail polish is gone, that the heels we wore last night are back in their box and placed in the highest corner of our closet in case someone happens to drop by. We scan our neighborhood to make sure no one sees us return from a day out shopping en femme. We use the self-checkout when we are picking up our foundation.
I keep this side of me to a VERY small number of people. Not because I am ashamed or because I am worried about what “they” might think (although to an extent there is a little of that). No, I keep my gender identity private-ish because it takes too long to explain. There’s too many nuances to discuss and I am exhausted just THINKING about coming out to more people in my life. It might be easier if I wanted to transition because in some ways that is more straightforward (even though I know it’s not as “simple” as I think it is). Most people know of a transperson, even if they don’t know someone personally. Most people know of Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner so they have some context, some familiarity of someone who now has a gender identity and presentation and pronouns different from what they were assigned to when they were born.
But for someone like me (and maybe you)? We don’t have that context. There’s little representation for someone for a boy that sometimes is a girl.
BUT HANNAH! What about drag queens?
What I do is not drag. But to be fair, I understand what you mean. Someone who does drag performs, they usually exaggerate feminine presentation, they (typically) don’t keep either of their identities a secret. Of course, most drag queens are gay so for a lot of people gay and drag are somewhat (perhaps unfairly) lumped together.
There are so many of us that are happy being a boy and happy being a girl. We love our wives and we love looking as beautiful as they are. Our gender identities are complex and are incredibly simple at the same. It’s the simplicity that is complicated for a lot of people. When we come out people can be confused when a boy sometimes feels like being a girl. It’s just how we feel, but some people INSIST there’s MORE to that. We are asked endlessly WHY we are who we are. Why we want to do, why we want to wear what we wear. Are we repressing something? Are we in denial about something? Is our gender identity a result of unaddressed trauma from our childhood?
No. But I get it. I really do. One of the first descriptions of someone like us that I read in a book explained that some men wear lingerie because they weren’t loved by their parents (or something). I am glossing over what the writer was saying but that was basically it, how this side of us is connected to some emotional damage. This view is, of course, wrong, but it’s also harmful. The more people that believe this the more people will insist that those like us are who we are because of some unaddressed emotional issue.
And, of course, people might think that we are “broken”. Although no one gets through life without SOME form of trauma, it doesn’t mean we aren’t healed from it. I had an abusive father and it forever changed me, but I have come to terms and made peace with how I grew up. I know that some people would trip over themselves insisting that my gender identity is a result of my childhood.
I was sneaking dresses and heels long before my father turned into who he became.
This is a beautiful side of me. It’s a beautiful side of you. It’s, well, annoying and frustrating to hear others think and even insist that this side of us is related to something being “wrong” or “broken” about us. There’s nothing wrong with who we are or with what we do, or what we wear, even if we keep this side of us a secret.