I originally wrote and posted this to my own blog but in light of the discussions regarding Marti's recent post I decided to post it here as well.
Today, while driving home from a shopping trip, a truck driver passed me going the other way, and honked his horn. After ten years of living fulltime as a woman, you'd probably think I'd be pretty desensitized to such things, and, for the most part, you'd be right. Even so, I still can't help but feel just a little validated when this kind of thing happens. It's not because I'm so thrilled that men find me attractive speeding down the highway at sixty miles an hour, but rather, for all the crudeness in the way it's expressed, it's a form of acceptance in my chosen gender that can sometimes elude me in other aspects of my life.
Some would argue that deriving even a minor sense of validation from such a blatant sexual objectification of women is anti-feminist and unworthy of any woman who defines herself as progressive or feminist, but one's instinctive, core emotions are rarely influenced to any real degree by such intellectually thought out social and political identities and philosophies. Indeed, for me it's probably as much about the fact that as a forty-five year old transwoman I'm still able to inspire those truckers to honk their horns as anything else.
When you get right down to it, how many of us, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, can really say they don't like being thought of as sexy and desirable, even when it comes from people we'd never actually consider attractive ourselves? Is it really shallow, self-centered, or anti-feminist to enjoy being thought of as pretty or handsome? Must that kind of attention always come from those we have that same kind of interest in ourselves in order to be considered valid? Personally, I don't think so. Sure, I'd much rather see that sentiment expressed by a sexy soft butch, but I will admit that as a single woman living in suburbia, it's nice to know I'm still considered attractive by anyone, no matter who it is.
When I first came out a decade ago, before the hormones had worked their magic, it meant a lot more. Back then, male attention helped to assuage my insecurities about my appearance and the validity of the female identity I'd only recently formally accepted as my own. I took it more as a real validation because I got none at all from women. Even today, if my MySpace inbox is any gauge, the vast majority of letters I get expressing sexual and romantic interest come from men. Of course, I tend to discount most of these as they seem to almost exclusively come from men who can't express themselves very well in English nor seem to understand the proper use of a paragraph. The picture I use there is certainly one of my better ones, but it's kind of difficult to take such interest seriously when virtually none of these men seem to have bothered to have read even the very first sentence of my profile, which contains the word "lesbian". In all honesty, I'm not really sure if they just like my picture and just haven't bothered reading my profile once they've seen it, or if perhaps they're that kind of guy who consider themselves such incredibly handsome specimens of manhood that no woman, not even a lesbian, could possibly resist their masculine charms, and they'll be the guy who can turn me straight. Despite all that, I can't help but draw hope from the fact that if so many men find me attractive enough to write to me and say so, maybe, just maybe, some women will as well.
Truth be told, that trucker went by too fast for me to be certain if it was a man or a woman. Chances are, it was a guy, but I know there are lesbian and tranny truckers out there, so I guess I can keep telling myself that anything's possible.
Hey, I can dream, can't I?
So many of my friends are married, partnered, or in committed relationships of some sort that it makes it all the harder not to feel depressed about being single, not having a romantic relationship of my own, nor even just the occasional one night stand now and then. Not that I'll ever stop looking, but after just one fairly brief long-distance relationship since I began living as a woman more than ten years ago, I sometimes wonder if the great romantic moments of my life have long since passed me by.
The Catch-22 I find myself struggling with is that as much as I want to be considered and related to as a woman in all aspects of my life, the more likely that it might become that I was about to develop an intimate relationship with another woman, the more important it would be to me to honest with her about my pre-operative transsexual status and thereby possibly define myself to her as someone other than she might be able to relate to intimately as a fellow female. Unless she's bi or still sees me as a woman despite my current genital configuration, it'll most likely put a quick and final end to any possibility of pursuing anything more than a purely platonic friendship with her, if even that. It hasn't gotten to even that point in years, but if it ever does again, I know my sexual morals will compel me to risk destroying any potential intimate relationship I might have by telling any woman who might be attracted enough to consider going to bed with me that I'm biologically not the woman she probably expects me to be.
What's the answer? Other than hoping to get lucky and find a woman who's interested in me romantically despite my pre-op genitalia, I really have no idea. It was tough enough to find that special woman when I was still living as a guy, it's often harder still for non-trans gays and lesbians to find that right person, and for girls like me, it's apparently almost impossible. Short of hopping on a plane and taking a completely unaffordable vacation in San Francisco, I don't even have any idea of where to look.
As much as I love being a woman, in some ways being a pre-operative transsexual woman really sucks.