so ok we get the first ‘turn into a girl’ narrative.
i guess this is where this blog gets super personal (haha what do you expect, I’m reviewing what was for a long time The Trans Comic). also TMI down there.
i know a lot of trans girls grew up reading stuff like this - it’s something that’s acknowledged in zines and online discussions of how we related to ‘forced fem’ porn and stuff like that. i… didn’t. i don’t think. not that i can remember.
i can vaguely recall having a copy of Pokémon Adventures which advertised Ranma ½ on the back? strangely specific thing to remember - the memory only surfaced because Dan Shive mentioned Ranma ½ somewhere in the commentary. but otherwise. no…
i wonder what would have been different if i had found that stuff? would i have pushed it away out of fear or something? it took a very, very, long time for trans feels to surface. this is something i’m terrified to admit anywhere in the vicinity of a doctor or someone else who might judge me for not being Really Trans or something, but I guess I’m willing to say it on this obscure webcomics reading sideblog with no followers (idk why nobody wants to follow but ok)
tbh the only thing i remember of trans people even being mentioned in my vicinity is a very vague recollection of being in junior school and overhearing some conversation, maybe inspired by a shitty sensationalistic newspaper, about something to do with hormones that would make ‘men’ grow breasts or something - maybe about steroid use? possibly i’m conflating multiple conversations.
anyway i would like to say my reaction at the time was ‘oh my god i want it but i must never tell anybody’ but actually i think i spent the next ten minutes thinking that was weird and possibly kind of scary? idk.
i guess like. i certainly didn’t meet the gendered expectations of (one kind of) masculinity in school - i was skinny, ‘nerdy’, didn’t like sports, had trouble relating to my peers as a ‘boy’ to some degree - but of course that’s just a different archetype of masculinity, the knowledgable renaissance man, and i don’t think i had any greater affinity towards femininity. i think at my first schools/school-like environments (playgroup and infant school) i was friends with girls as much or more than i was friends with boys, but at some point i caught a gender and for like, most of junior school, senior school, and A-level college i was friends with almost exclusively men (although I did have one close friendship with another girl at A-level college, not that I knew I was a girl back then, and was less exclusively friends with men).
not that the relationships I had back then were anything I’d particularly recognise as friendship today? i find it vastly easier to relate to people as a trans woman in her 20s than i did ever at school, I think. the friendships I had then involved a lot of teasing and joking at each others’ expense, and not much actual emotional connection.
when everyone started learning about sex i found it incredibly alienating, and had absolutely zero interest in relationships of the kinds my peers were starting to have (which was to say, hetero relationships). when pressed i recall admitting that i maybe wanted a girlfriend but it wasn’t a big deal or something like that? i accessed porn and stuff at home in secret, almost exclusively anime porn from 4chan. for reasons that at the time i tried to excuse as being very heterosexual or something, i only liked porn without men in it. idk. obviously that is not any reason to predict i would later transition.
the environment was very homophobic - I wasn’t aware of any out gay people until A-level college, and you had the routine use of ‘gay’ as an insult, which I managed the impressive doublethink of repeating while also somehow imagining myself not to be a homophobe. not to mention that most of my friends at the time were 4chan users to varying degrees of enthusiasm. even though people at that school ultimately came to accept me in some way, I cannot imagine I’d have had an easy time if I’d transitioned in an environment like that.
gah. this is making me all messed up.
you know like.
i’m ashamed to admit it because it’s politically horrible for trans women to go around saying this, but i do wish i’d been a cis girl? kind of. i wish i could be basically the same person but had ‘normal’ girl experiences and been able to grow into lesbianism the ‘normal’ way, and never had to poke through this gender mess. i wish i’d known i was a girl and a lesbian long before i finally worked it out towards the end of university.
and failing that, i wish i had had the ‘standard’ trans girl narratives, of always having some affinity with feminine-coded things, of thinking of oneself as a girl and assimilating narratives about women for one’s entire life. something certain i could pin it on that’s a bit firmer than ‘i am a trans girl because i choose to be, because i cannot accept being anything else’. i wish not just that i’d transitioned earlier, but that i’d even considered transitioning earlier. like it’s not that i was too afraid or anything - i don’t think i even thought i wanted to until much later.
i would never ever tell a doctor these things. even vaguely trying to say that one can construct any narrative one wants out of the past almost risked me not getting referred.
i guess reading El Goonish Shive - an experience so many trans women had live, as young people trying to make sense of this fucked up existence that trans women find ourselves in - is going to scrape off some scabs on these kind of gender feels. haha.
haha gosh like.
i’m not sure i’m actually going to be able to read too far here. the like. “struggling with gender feels through clumsy metaphor” thing. like that’s literally what i wanted to read the comic for, but i guess my own gender shit is still too raw and painful.
i’m sorry. i thought this would be an interesting reread project. but, i guess it’s too soon, or something.
why is gender so fucking awful
(At this point, I took a hiatus from blogging about El Goonish Shive)