Every now and then I’ll get a string of posts about butch lesbians and/or masculine women on my Tumblr dash and think to myself “I could do that”. Because at this point I’ve been out for a fucking decade and still only get read properly half the time so it’s not like I’m getting any benefit from the needle I jab into my thigh once a week.
Then I remember that I tried doing that. I tried doing that my entire life until I came out. It never quite worked. It wasn’t awful or anything, I’ve never been quite as dysphoric as some guys. It was just…off. I found the phrase “female to male transsexual” and knew that it fit. I never had to think about it.
Even at my most feminine (which still would’ve fallen easily into the realm of “soft butch”), I never seemed to manage the whole “girl” thing well. I found out after I came out that a number of my friends didn’t realise I wasn’t a cis guy. Something about me is irrevocably male. I don’t know how or why or even what it is, really, but “girl” and “woman” don’t fit.
Life would be so much easier if they did. I was a badass girl. I’m gay and rather swishy and these days resemble a young Tim Gunn more than anyone else, but I’ve also always wanted to be the best at everything. Growing up that meant running faster, climbing higher, and fighting harder than any of the boys. It meant working as hard as I could to ensure I had won the respect of anyone I associated with. Until I came out I fully expected that I’d be the “first woman” something simply because I refused to accept anything else. (First woman Marine Corps sniper was my ideal goal, but I’d have taken President.)
I never had trouble being taken seriously as a girl. I never had trouble ensuring straight boys/men listened to me. I was never considered bossy or bitchy or any of the other insults that are often hurled at strong women. It’s only when people view me as the gay man I am that I encounter problems. Then all of a sudden I’m vapid or silly or otherwise not worth listening to.
It’d be nice to be able to throw that away. To be able to go back to being a masculine-neutral woman who was considered competent rather than frivolous. Unfortunately, that’s not a real option. It didn’t fit growing up and it doesn’t fit now. Sometimes I wish it did. If nothing else, I make a really cute soft butch.