Am I a Transgender Woman?

| Nov 19, 2018
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Am I a transgender woman? A woman who happens to be transgender? Or simply a woman?

This is a question of identity that I’m still wrestling with in month six of my public transition, and I suspect it’s one I will always be turning over in my mind.

The national political climate these past few weeks has had a lot to do with it. First, the word leaked from Washington that the Executive Branch was going to look at wiping out all federal protections and even acknowledgements that trans people exist. I was depressed by this news, the worst downward mood swing I’ve deal with since beginning my pubic transition in early June.

One small way I coped was by adopting the hashtag #wontbeerased on social media and putting a “won’t be erased” frame on my Facebook profile picture. Then a wonderful, unexpected thing happened. I started getting friend requests by the dozen from others using that frame. Then I started sending similar requests, and within a couple of weeks my Facebook friends list had grown by about twenty percent.

Social media has its downsides, but it can be a wonderful tool for building a supportive network. These last weeks have proven that to me.

I know many trans women who reject the label of “transgender woman.” Although some people may simply intend it to be descriptive, it often carries a negative undercurrent — as if we’re a lesser species of woman, a manufactured woman, or not really women at all.

On the other hand, can I truly claim to be a woman, when I still carry male chromosomes? When I spent fifty-plus years in cisgender prison? When I was subject to more than four decades of testosterone poisoning? When I was socialized male, with all the privileges and limitations that went with that?

Perhaps I should look at transgender as just one more adjective that helps to describe me but isn’t the complete definer of my identity. I am also an American woman, a Unitarian woman, a woman who loves literature, and baseball and the Beatles . . . and so much more.

As I write these words, I think of myself as a woman who happens to be transgender. That seems to be the best way I can acknowledge to the world, and most importantly, to myself, that while I have always known I was a woman, the world spent all those decades forcing me to masquerade as a man.

But now I’m me at last, inside and out. And I will continue to roar.

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Category: All TGForum Posts

Claire H.

About the Author ()

Claire Hall was born and grew up in a large city on the left coast and has spent most of her adult years in a beautiful small coastal community where she's now an elected official in local government after spending many years as a newspaper and radio reporter. In her space time she loves reading, writing fiction (her first novel was published by a regional press a couple of years ago), watching classic Hollywood movies, and walking.

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