Assimilation… Resistance is Futile

For my readers going through the transition process… bodily themselves or as a partner/family member:

If you (or your partner/family member) have chosen to move to the “other” gender and are now out of the androgynous zone how is this impacting your sense of self? For me, I’m no longer perceived as a lesbian. I’m now a “straight guy” and, unless I go out of my way to delve into my history, that’s just the way it is. Resistance is futile.

And I’m struggling with it. I’m straight. But I’m not. I now have straight male privilege. But I don’t. I’m not intentionally stealth but, in most social situations, I am stealth.

Transitioning shows you just how fragile your sense of self is – the allusion (or delusion) of something concrete and immutable inside yourself just crumbles under the pressure of social interaction.

Do you find this disarming? Uncomfortable? If you do, what coping skills have you thrown at it? Do they work?

For me, I need grounding time. Alone, out of the spotlight, time to regenerate and reassure myself that I’m still me, whatever that is, and even though growth is painful it will work out for the best. This mostly works for me but not necessarily for those who live with me, care about me, or work with me – especially as a primary coping mechanism. I need to find other ways to cope besides isolation. Ideas?

2 thoughts on “Assimilation… Resistance is Futile

  1. Interesting post. I’m being seen as male most everywhere, but because I transitioned on the job, there are still many people who call me by the wrong pronouns or name, so I don’t feel fully assimilated into my male self when I’m there. When I’m seen as me (male), it is strangely non-eventful. I’m not super excited like I thought I would be; it’s just me. It helps that I have my kids to keep my occupied about all kinds of things beyond my transition. I don’t really have time to think or dwell on any one thing because I’m too busy just getting everyone through the things we need to do each day.

  2. I find that people’s commentary on their perception of me is far more indicative of their own state of mind/ignorance/perceptive capabilities than it ever will be indicative of my own identity.

    The thing about gender is that most people inherently, even subconsciously, feel the entitlement to make judgement on “what” you are because of the way they were raised and conditioned. It’s never been a private, respected area of identity, regardless of the sensitive and personal areas it touches on, because it’s one of the first things a child is taught- how to quickly and accurately determine a person’s gender to avoid social confusion and embarrassment. [In fact, I’ve found that sometimes, when people have that “entitlement” taken away from them (generally by “confusing”, androgynous folk), they feel cheated or tricked, because they can’t make that instinctive judgement they’ve been taught to use since childhood, which makes them feel blindsided, vulnerable and dumb, and that can spark some of the spite you see in cisfolk. They don’t like having their sense of direction fucked with! Poor little things].

    Up until very recently, nobody ever taught children that there are people outside of the binary, and for the most part, it doesn’t even occur to them. It’s one of those situations where ignorance isn’t necessarily an indicator of maliciousness, just lack of awareness- a disability, if you will. I tend to have more pity for this kind of gender-blindness.

    All that said, I’m comfortable enough with myself that I really only ever expend the time and energy to correct/educate a person if:
    a) they are someone I think I’ll have interaction with on a meaningful level ever again,
    b) they are specifically asking me about my gender (from gentle, respectful inquiries about which pronouns I use to dumb, insensitive questions like “What are you anyway, a boy or a girl?”)
    c) the situation specifically calls for it (doctor visits, etc.), or
    c) if I think they are going out of their way to be hurtful (this situation is rare and generally gets the no-kid-gloves kind of tongue lashing.)

    For the rest of the population (i.e. people just making harmless assumptions based on the gender cues I’m giving off that day), I don’t trip, because they can’t help themselves- they’re just seeing things the way they were taught to see them. I let their ignorance be THEIR burden, not mine. If they choose to hand me privilege based on what they see, it’s their surrender, not mine. If they choose to put me in a category with “brodudes” or “faggots” or whatever they see in me, it’s their miscategorization, not mine. I’m just me, and if people want to make assumptions on my identity rather than taking the time to find out, then they’re the ones blinding themselves, not me. I just go about my day and let it be.

    It’s not your responsibility to wear your gender identity/sexual preferences/whatever on your sleeve just to help society figure you out and put themselves at ease, it’s your job to wear whatever you’re comfortable with, do what you like to do, and educate those you feel that it’s worth spending the time on. Anything beyond that is extra homework, and you don’t have to put yourself under the stress of the responsibility of making sure that everyone who interacts with you is fully aware of your situations just so they don’t give you the wrong kind of privilege or whatever- unless you want to. Just be you.

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