Sunday, March 3, 2013


Photo by pennstatenews
I always thought transitioning was about changing genders—shifting from being a woman to being a man (or vice versa).

But that's the thing. It's not. Not for the person transitioning, anyhow. For R transitioning means he is shifting from being in the body of a woman to being in the body of a man.

The transitioning person is not really the one transitioning. I mean, he is. But he's not.  R is re-shaping his body (through medical intervention) so that it matches his true gender. He's coming into his own. He finally will be able to slip into the body that fits. Imagine what it's like to go around life wearing the wrong suit of clothing, being trapped in it. I haven't experienced it, but I imagine it would feel like being stuck inside some constricting costume with a false body and head. Claustrophobic.

He's getting to embody himself.  (Forgive me if this is obvious but it's still new to me.)

The transition? The change? The shift? That comes for everyone else. Because everyone outside of R has known him as a woman (even if that's never what he was). He's changing physically. And the rest of the world—those who know him—must shift our thinking. We need to transition our thinking and  adjust to this new manifestation of this human.

And hell, I won't beat around the bush. That's hard. That's fucking hard. Because gender is so hard-coded into us (everyone points out that it's the first thing we humans learn about their offspring: boy or girl). So finding out that someone doesn't fit the mold quite as we expected forces us look inside and question ourselves. Maybe that's why people are so threatened, but they needn't be. The questions are important and the answers are fascinating.

What is gender? What makes me a woman? What makes you a man? And why is it important? Why do we care about gender? The answers, of course, could fill volumes (sorry I don't have many answers; just questions).

So the shift really is up to everyone else. R does not have to shift at all. He's already there. We just have to catch up.


  1. You are so right! I am on the verge of starting my own transition and what I am concerned most with is how this will impact my family and friends. I think it will be harder on them than me.

  2. That's what I'm experiencing too... can I ask, did you get a lot of people telling you that they always knew you were straight? (I too identify as lesbian, but have now found myself head over heels in love with a transman) Like that's the big issue here!! (that's what I've had). I'm starting to blog about it all in the hope that people will adjust along with me.