Gender expression defines those of us who are transgender.

Some of us will never fully express our true selves for more than a few minutes or hours at a time. Sometimes going months or years between that expression. Often living their entire life without ever leaving the house as their true selves.

A few will manage to change very early. The stories I read about 6 and even 4 year old kids telling their parents who they really are, and getting support, gives me tremendous joy.

It was not that way for me, or for virtually every trans I know.

I knew I wanted something different from around 3 or 4 years old. I would express myself until someone would tell me to stop, tell me it was wrong.

I would wait several years and try again, with the same results. This pattern repeated itself through my life, but as I grew older, I did not need anyone to tell me it was wrong. I had become very good at doing that myself.

 We learn behavior from the comments, actions and expressions of those around us as we grow up. I learned that I was wrong to express myself.

 The internet came about and I learned that there were others like me, lots of others. The logic of me being wrong began to unravel.

 When I again began to express myself, something was different this time, no one told me I was wrong, even my own inner voice began to fade. People began to tell me I was right, that I was brave. As time went on, my inner voice changed fromrestraint, to encouragement. I spent more and more time expressing myself, pushing to see where the limits were. I have not found any. 

After I spend 4 or 5 days as Jess, the day or so in-between is becoming more and more uncomfortable. I am now beginning to see, just a little, the dysphoria that so many transgender people report.

The amount of time I can spend comfortably not expressing myself is getting shorter and shorter. When I was young I went years, now two or 3 days is a stretch .

I see this like the pattern of an object circling a drain. The water spins it around and around the drain, with every rotation it gets closer and closer.

 I think I am getting very close to going down the drain.

Who and What

A few years ago I sat each of my two brothers down individually and explained that I was trans. One brother shrugged and said, “ You are still the same person ”. The other took it all in and went away to digest it. The next day he called to say he had done some research and that I was not trans, just a crossdresser. This was impressive, depressing and infuriating al at the same time.

 Impressive that he took the time to try and research it, depressing in the he applied a title to me that I attempt to distance myself from, and infuriating that he thought he was in a position to tell me who and what I was.

 Defining who and what we are is a real problem. A lot of lip service is given to the idea that transgender is a spectrum. But really not much is understood, certainly there is little definitive information to be found even with the best google searches.

 One of the best things to come out of the 2015 Transgender media explosion is the understanding that gender identity is completely separate from sexual orientation.

 I have come to understand that our spectrum is more diverse than just a simple gender identity and sexual orientation combination. There are many other factors, probably a large number. Humans are complex things.  

 For example I have noticed a wide range of attitude in just how much female expression is enough. I know girls who want nothing short but a complete change, HRT*, GCS**, the works. The other end of this spectrum involves those that dress in private briefly. The former is accompanied by tremendous distress in male mode, the latter is often followed by bouts of shame because of the female expression. These are extreme ends of the scale, but I think they describe at least one aspect of the transgender experience.

 I plan on exploring these and other aspect in coming blogs as I continue to understand just who and what I really am.


*HRT - Hormone replacement therapy

** GCD - Gender confirmation surgery, formerly GRS, gender reassignment surgery, formerly SRS, sexual reassignment surgery.