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One Cannot Live on TTC Alone

Saturday October 31, 2009

I like to blog.  I like to write and create a record and make sense of my life and blogging allows me to do a little of each of these things.  I started this blog bc I wanted to have an entirely anonymous space to grapple with whatever TTC had in store for us.  I have another not so anonymous blog that is about my life from the big picture view and involves pictures of me and my wife and is read (at least occasionally) by some friends and family members.  It didn’t feel right to me to share the kind of information that I imagined I would be sharing with all of those people.

For the last few months I’ve been finding my way with what I really want to do with this space.  Yes, I want to write about needles and doctors and drugs and embryos.  That is clear.  But what about all the in between?  The waiting and the marking time?  The moments when I want to write, but not for my Mom or my Aunt Darlene.  Well…..enter the TTC blog.  Right?  Just a broadening of the scope really.  One cannot live on TTC alone.

So, I’m going rogue.  The following has nothing to do with TTC.  At least not in any direct way.

I graduated from college almost ten years ago.  In those ten years I have seen my college girlfriend on  three occasions.  Last night was one of those occasions.  There is nothing like seeing a ghost from your past to get you into a reflective, weirded out kind of place.  The wife and I decided to get out-of-town and hear some music and we got more than we bargained for.  Oh shit.  It’s ___________.

We met during our first month freshman year and were together (for better or worse) for almost five years.  When it finally ended it was quite bad.  The kind of bad where cutting off all contact is the only way to preserve whatever mental health you have left.  So, aside from hearing this and that through the grapevine I don’t know much about her life in all this time.  Well, I take that back.  In one of the stranger benefits of the magic of technology, Facebook let me know that she was transitioning.  Yup.  Changing her name, shooting testosterone and having top surgery.  Well there you go.  Suddenly my butch girlfriend was making some pretty significant changes and identifying as male.  Wha???  It’s now been almost two years since her name changed from girl name  to boy name on FB and she didn’t look all that different when I saw her last night.  The person that I spent years of my life with was certainly still there.  She has a little more facial hair and her body looks more solid/full somehow, but there she was.  Well, well, well.

So, in my experience (limited as it is) it feels like a lot of butch women are making the decision to transition and identify as male.  I can count on more than one hand, the number of butches who have in the last five years or so decided to pursue some level of transition.  This troubles me.  I am all for individual expression and am certainly supportive of anyone taking whatever steps are available to them to create a life that feels authentic for them.  However, as someone who identifies as femme and has always been erotically connected to butch women, this shift raises questions for me.  Part of the draw of the butch  for me is that traditionally masculine presentation in a female body.  The female body is important.  To me at least.  Where is the line btw butch and transboys/men?  Something I’m thinking about.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. .jlg. permalink
    Wednesday February 9, 2011 1:53 pm

    I’ve been quietly catching up on your blog when I came upon this post. I think that this is a very important topic, which people are afraid of broaching for fear of sounding transphobic. When I was in my late-teens and early-twenties (about a decade ago), I spent a couple of years transitioning (therapy, hormones, etc). Thank God I never had surgery! It occurred to me that 1) the medicalization of gender simply reifies the binary gender system that I had spent years fighting against, 2) I would never (no matter how many surgeries I had) become biologically male, and 3) I would forfeit the ability to have biological children of my own. I am so grateful to have had the foresight to stop transitioning before I really jacked up my body.

    My wife and I have found ourselves very drawn to your blog: we are both academics, and we share a similar gender-representation breakdown as your marriage. My wife, like you, has a more feminine subject-position, and I have a more masculine femininity. My wife and I lost a baby boy last month during our second-trimester (my wife was carrying). As devastating as this whole experience has been, we still want to move forward with our plans to continue trying-to-conceive, but my wife needs to take some time-off in order for her body and psyche to recuperate. As such, we’ve decided to change the birth order and have me try to carry next. It’s a big narrative to re-write. One that I thought I would have several years to consider. Now, I might have a couple of months. Any input or advice that you have to offer us would be greatly appreciated. Also, your son is so flippin’ adorable I can barely stand it.

    We also have been keeping a blog since last summer:

    All good things!

  2. Friday April 8, 2011 2:13 pm

    My partner presents as pretty darn butch and I think of myself as a femme lesbian. Since I work in academia and see quite a few transitioning students this has been a topic of conversation in our house for quite a long time. It’s a bit of a sticky wicket. I would hate to see someone who was clearly trans refrain from transitioning, but at the same time it can be so hard for butch women to just be butch. Every day my love struggles with how people in our small midwestern community react to her and I know that it would be easier in some ways for her to just be a dude. Thankfully she has some rockin’ self esteem. In any case, I know this conversation is happening all over the place – especially in higher education settings – it would be nice to have it in a location that allows for broader conversation about gender, presentation, sexuality, roles and relationships. Thanks for bringing it up!

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