The autumn leaves were almost blizzard like in their collection along the pathway. All brushed up in a long winding Great Wall of Sycamore, and with those leaves come long pale grey winter coats and soft feminine scarves. That’s what I see in the city on the way to work. Office workers with freshly poker straightened hair from a Tresemme advert and smart winter wear. That, and the odd person who braves it in a skater dress that became unsuitable over a month ago — jealousy.
When we first discover our gender identity issues we can easily jump straight to what we think we need to be feminine, soft colours, florals and dresses or skirts way too short — some never let that go either, even into old age. But much like someone born psychically female we usually find our way after a period of rights of passage. The difference is those of us who don’t tell our parents don’t tend to get the support and guidance through those years so it’s all amplified through a lonely passage of self discovery.
Those who find the norm sooner than later, fair well. Finding clothes that are comfortable and colours that suit the situation, feel good and don’t shout out loud like a fire alarm. That said, clothes are just a small factor. A realisation that it’s about who we are internally and also physically. Born with some parts that seem strictly male are another part of our right of passage and sometimes feeling pretty doesn’t mean having to look uber pretty in a sickly sweet manufactured way. It can just be about feeling attractive in the way we want, pretty rather than handsome, but then again you can feel handsome as a women — it doesn’t need to be a male trait, just a masculine trait as such.
I look forward to autumn. It’s a beautiful time of the year to feel that edgy crisp air and to wrap up and change to winter fashions and explore that side of femininity. Coats and scarves. Boots and tights to fill them. New red or cream knit gloves, or picking off the balling on last year’s gloves. Glossy eyes in the cold darkening evening with car lights glaring like a Christmas tree. The smell of burning logs from one of the village cottages as I get home after a working day.
The clothes and presentation is just a part of autumn life but it’s still part of the recipe and no matter what our presentation is, whether it’s hardened outdoor rugged clothes or of a pretty little thing of ultra femininity — it’s all valid. I find that some days I want to look one way and another day it’s something else. Remember the other day when I just couldn’t wear my new checked trousers to work? Just a few days later, the night before work I decided, tomorrow is the day. I got up and it was the day. I chose the clothes that would go with them and for some reason all the worry from the days before had just floated away.
I’ve no idea where it went. I was feeling a bit better physically and may be that was something to do with it but also it was my mood. I was in the mood for skinny trousers that were different. Today I’m not in that place and so it’s black trousers. This is the thing. Having to deal with the gender thing means that when it comes to people seeing us and our presentation, there can, on occasions, when those people know about the gender difference, that there is a perception of what they see becomes their judgment.
If you’re on a ultra feminine day, are they going to see a trans-person who is ‘trying too hard’ or will they just see someone that is dressed the way they want because that’s what they want. If you’re on a day where you’re dressed in something that’s just understated and genderless, straight trousers, hips nowhere to be seen, empty finger nails, no rings and hair a mess from that autumn breeze and humidity of the rain the hour earlier, what will they see then? Someone who looks like a women but they’re not actually sure? Enough curiosity that they approach you and ask you that question, “Man or Woman?”
It’s happened to me a few times. Even back in the day, a day where I thought I was dressed feminine and some bloke approach my friend and I one evening in a pub, “Are you a women?”, “Always?”, “What, since birth?” — “oh.”
I think the point is, should we really care how we present ourselves to the extent that it affects how we really want to look and feel that day? ‘That skirt would be nice today, but, mmmm, may be I should just wear jeans again.’ We all conform to some extent in society, it’s how we all get along so we don’t annoy each other but presentation is just not part of that when it comes to people who don’t have gender identity issues so why should it to us? The thing is, it probably doesn’t really matter that much.
Most of these insecurities are in our own mind and you can look around you in a busy place and generally people are doing their own thing. Sat in a coffee shop they’re eating their cake, sipping Earl Grey and chatting about ‘that bitch in work that leaves the bowl in the sink covered in oats that’s gone concrete.’ Those people that do look over from a table for a moment, well, everyone does that from time to time and it’s just rarely anything to do with a gender identity query. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not.
You know I’m sat here in the cafe and think that I’m quite disappointed in myself. These work trousers I’m wearing felt like an achievement in my journey several months ago. It was daring because I knew that anyone who looked for long enough could easily tell but now I’m just here in work trousers that I wear day to day without a thought. May be that’s the thing about the journey, each step becomes normal and when it does, may be its time to move along, just a bit more. There again, may be what we aim for is just — normal.
Until next time.