Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Identifying Identity

A while ago, I was at a pub with an acquaintance and we were talking about life, the universe and everything; our little corner of it anyway.  One of the things she said was, "when you decide to transition, it becomes everything that you are."  

At that time, I hadn't actively decided to transition.  I was still testing the waters so to speak, though now I'm sure I was past the point of no return already.  Now I look at her words form the perspective of having decided, and I can tell you that for me, she wasn't entirely right.

In a some ways, I was more trans before starting my transition.  I was obsessive about the concept, particularly about it in regards to me.  Every day was am I?  Aren't I?  Checking in the mirror to see if I could tell just by looking; which bits are masculine?  Which bits are feminine?  Every time I met someone new, what name was I supposed to use?  Sometimes I introduced myself using both names, and left it up to the other person to choose what to call me. In short, I could not stop thinking about being trans.

Around the same time I started my physical transition and sought out hormones, I also came to realize that the identities that meant more to me throughout more of my life had more to do with what I did than who I was.  Artist.  Performer.  Writer.  These were things about me that had no real bearing on my gender or my sex, and were things that were important to me before I ever even heard the term 'trans'.  Of course, being trans has and will always have a profound influence on these aspects of myself, how could it not?  But being trans is only a facet of who I am.  It is not the entirety of my identity.