Recognize Myself

Someone wrote…

I’m afraid that no one will ever be able to see me the way that I want, unless I take hormones. My face and body are too feminine to be seen as androgynous when I dress in masculine clothes, and I end up feeling disappointed about how I look and how people perceive me. So, I spend time meeting other’s expectations. I “play female,” and do it well. No one knows that I don’t recognize myself in the mirror. But if I transition, I’m afraid that my target audience, and my partner, will no longer find me sexually attractive. So I use what I have been handed, and pretend.
I wish I were as courageous as so many others.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?


Posted by on December 31st, 2012 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Recognize Myself”

  1. freaxy

    It’s a lot easier when the target audience is yourself.

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    inotowok replied:

    Right on!

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  2. Mori

    If it makes you feel better, there are always pansexual or bisexual people out there. I used to think my “target audience” was straight cis men and if I presented as male I would be forever alone. But since it looked like I was going to be forever alone even when I tried to fake it as a girl, I gave up and presented how I wanted. It turned out that “straight” cis guys are pretty flexible, but I’ve actually ended up with a pansexual genderfluid man in the end. Either way, good luck with your journey!

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    Aubri replied:

    I too have found that straight-identified cis guys are more flexible than society would have everyone believe. I’m a year into transitioning to presenting as a more masculine person; most people read me as male. My straight cis male partner has been amazingly supportive; I’ve been surprised over and over again how accepting he has been of my changes.

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  3. unlady

    I have felt this way for years and years, and have just now resumed my journey after a long time of playing femme, myself. Be pateint with yourself, the strength to be yourself will come when it needs to. <3

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  4. Cameron Joel

    Courage takes many forms. Doing what you need to do to live your life is one of them. You are strong. If the time for a change comes, you’ll know, and you’ll continue to do what you need to do. Stay strong.

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  5. Cat

    I feel quite the same way, although recently I’ve been trying to stop faking femininity. You don’t have to jump into a new gender right away. You can instead slowly work towards truly being yourself. That’s what I’m doing, anyway!

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    Lane replied:

    Excellent advice, and I agree. Slow and steady can win the race.

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  6. Lane

    I agree about ”straight cis males’ and they are my primary social peers, as well as being willing and available sex partners if that’s the choosing. Pansexuality opens many doors as far as receptive partners and I have actually had more connections with people as my own ‘target audience’ has broadened in scope the further along transition I have gotten.

    I am definitely less concerned about “what sex my partners is” politics now, and feel very free about that- no more feeling weird when a ‘gold star’ lol lesbian is bragging… I have a wider scope going on in my life and have found that’s very OK! :) I can finally pursue androgynous males and effeminate gay men as well as straight men and any and all types of women freely, whereas I felt MUCH pressure to not have sex with males while i.d’ing as anything remotely lesbian, which was like for 5 minutes before I was just ‘queer’ due to gendering.

    I could finally look at my body with satisfaction after I started binding, and now I am on testosterone and the increased confidence and clarity I have gained as benefits are immense in satisfying myself, not the opinions of those around me. I’ve read research findings about hormone use of any dose & duration for ftm people, and even short term use has positive effects on mental health and wellbeing.

    Testosterone doesn’t have to be a life long trip in order to work (especially psychologically). The first dose was like Whoa…I have finally done it, like a switch had flipped for me- it changed how I felt about myself, increased my body tolerance and I have had zero general anxiety since starting it. Hardly anyone knows I’m on T and will have to adjust to how they gender me as my appearance changes. I pass a lot then am read when I speak so I am hoping for a slight lowering of voice. I have kept it to myself because I am doing it for me. This life is your show, write your own lines.

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  7. Anonymous

    Thank you guys for being so supportive and inspiring.

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  8. Podbaby

    Oh wow, I’m so glad to see this page! I almost could’ve been the author of the original post, my story is so similar! First time here. Going to browse around and continue to build my confidence. Thanks y’all!

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  9. Lonny

    I TOTALLY get where you’re coming from. I was more brave about being out 3 years ago, but since then, subtle homo/trans/queerphobia has slowly pushed me back into the closet. I always feel like I’m struggling to hold onto myself, and that my identity is being slowly eroded and dismissed by my friends and family. I guess just know that you aren’t alone. No one should have to compromise their identity and expression to please other people, but that’s what I always find myself doing. I live in what is considered one of the most accepting and liberal parts of the United States and I still can’t wait to get away from all the understated bigotry I find here.

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  10. Tess

    So I’m late to the party. All of the above responses are awesome; I just wanted to add something that I don’t think they really touched on. I identify as a non-binary butch and have been told that I have a “femme to andro (at best)” face, but I still get called “sir.” Usually I get treated like a guy when I’m wearing clothes that don’t emphasize my body (which is very curvy–ugh). However, I have gotten called “sir” when my boobs were showing through my shirt, before I got a binder. It’s weird as hell, but sometimes people just make snap judgments about gender even when there are some glaring contradictions apparent.

    I guess this is my rambling way of saying that you can totally be read as a guy/masculine person, even with a feminine face. (I don’t know much about appearing androgynous and can’t give advice about that. You did mention transitioning in your post, so I hope this still helps.) A binder can work wonders for how people perceive you. I don’t know your body type, but if you happen to have a small waist and large boobs like I do, the Underworks Tri-Top might work as well for you as it does for me. I still have a chest bump apparent with that binder, but that’s easily disguised with a baggy/loose shirt. If I want to wear a tighter shirt, wearing a compression bra underneath the binder helps. (I actually like the effect of cheap compression bras from Target better than the effect of proper compression sports bras. The cheap ones bring my chest in more and minimize it, whereas the proper bras seem to be more concerned with giving support.)

    As far as clothes, I like to get things from the men’s department and go a little baggy. (The smallest sizes in the men’s department are often baggy on me, because I’m female-bodied and fairly skinny. You’d have to figure out what works best for your personality and body type.) I hate emphasizing my waist, so my ideal shirts are at most a little loose around the shoulders but drape over my waist. I do still wear women’s jeans, because men’s jeans look like crap on me. (When men’s jeans fit my waist, they look like mom jeans on me because the rest of them is just way too baggy.) I go a little baggy (a size or two larger) with women’s jeans and avoid skinny jeans, so I’m still somewhat able to achieve the look I want. (If your legs are fairly straight, you might be able to pull off skinny jeans and get read as a feminine guy. I can’t do that because I have an hourglass figure and skinny jeans emphasize my curves too much.) Even though my hips are still visible through my jeans, I get mistaken for a dude because my binder and the clothes I wear on top of it make my chest look flat.

    Finally, getting the right haircut can help people see you as a guy with a pretty face rather than a boyish woman. Yes, seriously, haircuts. Barbershop haircuts seem to help the most, from what I’ve read. This is a good guide to barbershop hair: http://www.ftmguide.org/haircuts.html

    This particular blogger identifies as a butch dyke and currently binds but started getting misgendered as a guy after getting a more masculine haircut, even when she didn’t bind and had a “noticeable chest”: http://buzzcutsandbustiers.com/2011/06/21/im-as-free-as-my-butch-hair/

    TL;DR: There are all sorts of ways to look more masculine/androgynous, even with a feminine face. You’re totally as courageous as “so many others.” You just have to find it within yourself.

    A warning: Clothes shopping can make you feel dysphoric and awful. I know from experience. It’s worth it to find clothes that help you recognize yourself in the mirror, though. I’d recommend bringing an understanding friend if you can. (And find someone who’s as understanding as possible. No matter how much they love you, at that moment you really don’t need a friend who thinks that your body issues are weird or stupid.)

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