“I’m changing my sex.” “Fun!”
That’s what a friend said when I came out to him*: “That’s fun! Now we can play video games together.” Another friend responded in a similar, but more explicitly baffling, way: “Neat. Now you have to be sexist.”
So now both these friends are trying to teach me about being a man.Which is kind of weird, because I’m not transitioning in order to change my personality: I’m transitioning socially and physically so that my body, name and pronouns fit my inner gender identity. I never had to try to feel like a guy.
Besides, I couldn’t be consciously sexist. I may not know how it feels to be a woman, but I know how it feels to be seen as a woman and treated like a woman; I know how it feels when society/family/school/media try to turn you into a certain type of woman. It can get ugly. I didn’t want to be that kind of woman, but I don’t want to be like the stereotypical man either, violent and insensitive and macho. There are so many kinds of masculinities: I’d like to pick my own.
At the same time, it’s nice to be seen as “one of the guys”, at least in part (I don’t think my friends suddenly started seeing me as male). Maybe, if they stop trying to teach me how to be a man, I can teach them a thing or two about women. I’ve spent years undercover among them: I think I learned a thing or two that might be useful for straight guys (I may be totally wrong, though).
*I said I was changing my sex, even though that’s a grossly inaccurate statement, because I wanted him to understand; when I try saying I’m transgender, most people don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. More about coming out in another post.