If I were the resolution making type, I’d be making a bucket list for 2017. A list of what I thought I ought to do, or worse, what other people expect me to do. If I followed that list, I’d probably end 2017 lean, deep voiced, and on testosterone. Instead, I’ll probably continue my journey looking like a well-worn Steiff Teddy Bear.
What I would actually like to do in 2017 is to continue what I started to do towards the end of 2016, which is to focus on microdysphorias. Things in everyday life that cause me small amounts of pain or cognitive dissonance around gender. Some of them are microagressions, things other people do to me, e.g. when someone calls me Ma’am with attitude. Most of them, however, are caused by things I do without thinking, or because I didn’t plan ahead, or forgot to tell someone, or neglected to submit paperwork. For example, the other day I had to use a public women’s restroom in an unfamiliar place because I didn’t know a safe unisex alternative.
The things that kick up the most dust are: entering women only spaces (bathrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms), receiving mail sent to my birth name instead of my legal name, being called by my birth name (some people never got the message or “forgot” even though it has been over 4 years), being Ma’am’d or referred to as a lady, wearing men’s clothing that doesn’t fit properly, wearing a women’s shirt that buttons the wrong way and worrying that I will run into someone who will notice, and filling out forms that require me to check off female.
It isn’t a long list, but at least one thing on it happens every day. Each one, taken on its own, is slightly annoying, but the sum total is an unsubtle reminder that my transition is not as thorough or as obvious as I’d like it to be. I want to reduce the frequency of events, but it won’t happen unless I make it happen.
In 2016, I decided to stop using the women’s locker room at the gym and to use they/them/their pronouns in my political work. I also filled a prescription for testosterone (gel), which is sitting in my underwear drawer, available should I want it, like a toddler’s discarded soft blankie. I am content with all three decisions.
I’d also like to pay more attention to the things I can do to counter the effects of microdysphoria. It is easier for me to dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives. I know I feel better when I work out at the gym, practice basic yoga, maintain my current weight (still going to Weight Watchers meetings), and wear men’s clothing that fits and looks good on me. I never thought I would feel good about my body, and I need to learn how to acknowledge it and hold onto it.
2017 for me is not about passing or being read as male. In 2017, I want to stop apologizing for not being on testosterone, and to stop apologizing for thinking about starting it. I want to stop expecting, or asking, other people to validate my transness. I want to bring my complicated butch/non-binary/trans self with me everywhere I go.
Notes: New Year’s Eve resolutions are a social construct, and I don’t read most people’s lists. That said, I like Alok Vaid-Menon’s resolutions for 2017. You can follow them on Facebook if you are into that. Below is a screenshot of their New Year’s Eve post: