"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Gender Self-Acceptance Barrier

It seems to me that my journey, chronicled here, has been, to a great extent about learning that shame and self-loathing because of a gender issue is wrong. You can read someone else say that, but until you start to feel it, for some good reason, you cannot accept it. All you know is what is reinforced constantly by the outside; you are a man/woman posing as a woman/man and that is wrong. You are a woman/man who has feelings and desires that are inappropriate. You must erase such 'evil' from your mind if you are to be 'normal' and 'acceptable' to society. That sort of ingrained information is very hard to overcome. With enough reinforcement, another truth can replace it, for you. Replacing it for friends and family is a huge challenge. Doing it in society is a whole other problem, more difficult by many factors.

Meg, in a post on December 20th made some interesting observations from her point of view, one I have never explored; that of the crossdresser who is becoming comfortable not only heading out the door, but interacting with the public at large. Petra and Stana have certainly got to that place, and have written about their experiences and the feelings it has generated.

Meg wrote: “I also think this is another reason some men think they've gone from transvestite to transsexual.  I believe they think they're transvestites until they break that self-acceptance barrier.  Then they can look further inward, to see themselves, to understand who they are.  You can't do that when others are defining you and you're trying to meet their expectations.

Looking inward, finding self-acceptance is a place that is truly wonderful, even when it brings its own set of challenges.

We tend to think in terms of what is next; that is just the way we are built as a species. In this case, it works against us, because self-acceptance is a place we should try to live.  Define yourself. Meet your own expectations. Be true to yourself here and now.


  1. Dear Halle

    Nice post, and thanks for the mention. I did read Megs post and think I missed the thing you latched on to. Having (momentarily) apprehended the thing, of course it engendered a new thought.

    I think, and only from personal experience, that the switch from admitted CD to admitted TS is tied to the self acceptance threshold. I think that moving from one (fluid) state to another (fluid) state has for many an auto-catalytic characteristic to it though.

    I think that we all like having an integral, noble reason for things. Many reasons for CD'ing are less evidently or arguably "hard" and "certain" though compared to reasons for being TS. It is more clean and defensible to say "I was misassigned at birth" than to say, "I like how this garment feels, or how that skirt fits...".

    I wonder how many people struggle long enough for the self acceptance, and once getting there feel that the struggle has been in the service of something ... trivial, something not foundational.

    This is an incomplete thought, but your thinking (and Megs notes) have helped me advance my thinking a little.

    There we go, I almost have the pink squares on my Rubic's Cube lined up...

    Back to work now.

    Happy New Year to you!

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Petra.
    The idea that we "like having an integral, noble reason for things" has definitely been in the background of my thinking lately. Thank you for nailing it.
    As you say, we do like to "feel that the struggle has been in the service of something.." and hope it is not 'trivial'. I suppose this ties into your 'just a crossdresser' post in a way, because I would argue that there is nothing trivial about the love of the feeling we get from our experiences, no matter what they may be.
    To ignore it or diminish it is wrong in my humble opinion.

  3. Halle: I also believe that self acceptance is tied to recognizing oneself as a transsexual especially with the Jane come latelys. I have found that especially having made certain biographical decisions early on which created commitments that went far beyond myself, self acceptance is very difficult to attain because our life revolves around the commitments we have made. They become a substitute for our own true selves and are a noble reason by which we ourselves denigrate our true nature. We are killing ourselves with what we perceive to be true kindness.

    Petra: that is one of the most astute comments in regards to this I have heard. Thank you, food for further thought.

  4. Thanks for redefining the concept of self acceptance for me. As I went to reply to this, it started to go into a big TLDR, so I copied it to notepad. You gave me the seed for another post.

    How I feel about myself to others is really irrelevant. I cannot directly affect another person's opinion of me, all I can do is try and make a good impression where possible. If a poor opinion is founded on ignorance, I cannot "fix" that for them, it's up to them to seek knowledge. I can decide, however if I will allow that to affect me.

    Kathryn and I seem to share the same self imposed "restriction" in making the leap from CD to TS. As restricting as that may seem, I'll have to admit there is a bit of comfort, albeit confining in having these boundaries.


  5. I love this, Halle. Self-acceptance. I sense the peace coming from this post, although I realize that there are still challenges. Embrace the present!

  6. I do not mean to trivialize things but aren't we all many different thingsn, both all the time, and at different times? Aren't we often defined as what we are by what we are doing at any given point in time? For the most part don't all of those aspects that comprise each of us generally peacefully co-exist? Are we all much more than merely dual natured?

    Am I a husband, father, employee, shopper, thinker, writer, golfer, skiier, reader, TV watcher, etc.? Am I different in fulfilling any of these roles depending on how I am dressed? Do we or can we dress differently depending on what we are doing? I can still be a husband, father, employee, etc while wearing a dress. I love to try teaching myself to cook on winter weekend afternoons. I like to do this while fully dressed. Of course, if I have to go out to the wood pile to get a new load of firewood being in a dress and heels just does not work.

    My point is that our nature is part of us all the time...it merely manifests itself differently at different times depending on our activities at the moment.

    I am not sure if this made sense but we should all do what we need to do first, then what we like to do and while doing it try to work our trans nature into things.


  7. Yes Pat, unless your woodpile is different from mine, heels don't work... they make Sorels for women you know :)

    Kathryn, we do substitute those commitments for our true nature, diminishing ourselves at times.

    Sarah, self confidence makes a huge difference though, doesn't it!

    Ariel, as you know, living in the present is what it is about these days. Thanks.

    Interesting comments Pat.
    Your suggestion about being a father, etc while in a dress; I do not know. My kids don't know about my dual nature, although it won't come as a huge surprise... the dress is yet another factor.

    For me, acceptance is more about not hating myself, and everything male about myself. There are parts I will never be happy about, but I am learning to accept that inside, I am who I am, and even when the outer presentation cannot be what I want, and when the bits cannot be what I want, I am still worth knowing and being with.

    We are all very different, aren't we?

  8. Well, I wasn't going to comment on this post, for various reasons, until I read the last comment you made, Halle. That paragraph does say it all.

    Calie xxx