Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Have To Prove It Every Day

photo-Grace Park as Sharon 'Athena' Agathon

There was a recent Battlestar Galactica episode in which Sharon and her husband Helo were discussing some issues. During the conversation Helo remarked that to him his Cylon wife was always human. She countered that to the rest of the fleet she has to prove that every day.

I feel her on that.

There are times during this gender journey that I feel like Sharon. No matter how fly I look, how smart I am, how many awards I garner, how good a job I do and how many times my genetic girlfriends, supportive family members and classmates that are still in my life tell me that I am what I've known I was supposed to be, I still feel like Sharon in the fact that I have to prove my womanhood every day.

Sometimes that can get to be a pain in the ass.

Yeah, I'll admit that there are some days that I wish that I'd been born female from jump and get to experience everything about it. Usually the transmen I know will tell me otherwise and extol how happy they are to escape cramps, bloating, the cycle, et cetera. Even my girlfriends will tell me they consider me the lucky one. I'll sometimes respond with the comment that no one questions your femininity nor do you have to think about it on a regular basis. However, I do share one aspect of it with my genetic sisters. I now have a heightened risk for breast cancer and have to do mammograms and regular breast exams.

But as philosopher Simone de Beauvoir once stated, 'Great women are made, not born.'

I may have only been female externally for thirteen years, but in a sense I've been prepping for this point in my life for a long time. My goal is to be the best woman I can be despite being born in a male body. To me that means observing the great examples of positive women in my own family, my feminine role models famous and not-so-famous (which I'm profiling in my Women I Admire posts) and incorporating their best qualities into my own life.

One thing I'm acutely aware of growing up in a family of historians is the great contributions that Black women have and continue to make to advance our people. Uplifting the race in terms of community service is a part of Black womanhood that I eagerly embrace. All the sisters that I've read about and witnessed doing positive things inspires me to step it up another level.

I'm cognizant of the fact that Black women are considered trendsetters in terms of fashion and their images. I'm considered a role model in the transgender community and have to pay attention to the image that I project to the outside world. Not a problem since I like fashionable clothes, get a manicure and pedicure every two weeks, hair is on point and I rarely leave the house without my face done. The fact that I have a fashionista diva as a roommate who will not hesitate to call me out along with my best girlfriends doesn't hurt either.

With hormones, electrolysis, laser hair removal and surgery the physical part of transition is easy. The toughest part is the spiritual and emotional end of it. That part of the feminine journey doesn't end until they close the coffin lid on you. Getting in tune with the spiritual and emotional side is a must and too many of my transsistahs ignore or are unaware of that aspect of womanhood.

Black womanhood is a lofty goal to live up to. Sometimes I believe that some of the genetic women in my family dismiss the prayerful seriousness I place on being a compliment and not a detriment to the women (and men) that are related to me. I realized in my youth I don't just represent me, I represent my family and the entire African-American community. My interactions with society must be on point and reflect that at all times.

Nothing in life is easy. Being an African-American transwoman definitely isn't. It's hard work and frustrating as hell sometimes. All these words about my latest take on being transgender get boiled down to one simple fact: I'm happily living life in my own skin.

Even if I have to constantly prove that I'm one of the girls.

1 comment:

Kitty LaRock said...

Similar but different, as a feminine queer woman, I too had to prove my queerness to my community every day for over 10 years. I was always viewed with suspicion or as a traitor to the cause because I could "pass",and because, apparently I "chose" to do so.

The fact that I loved butch women made me even more suspicious - and I was and am still accused of trying to be heternormative.

Combine that with the fact that I am TG (femme as gender), and not "woman" identified, and every time I move into new queer space I have to prove myself all over again.

I feel that TS people and TG butches and femmes have much more in common than either group is willing to admit!

Stay strong,