What’s Holding Me Back?

On the My Husband Betty forum, an invaluable resource for both transitioners and folks on the middle path between gender, someone asked what’s holding me back from transitioning.

It’s a fair question, and a good question.

I’ve had a good degree of Real Life Experience. Admittedly not the hard parts like being at work. But enough to know that I can move through the world as a woman reasonably well. I.e. I blend well in a crowd, and in up-close-and-personal interactions people are generally willing to treat me as a women even though I doubt they take me for being female-bodied. (Among other things, my voice, while not “male” decidedly needs some work.) Enough that I’ve had several people who I trust not to BS me, tell me that I come across as womanly.

Admittedly, there’s a huge difference between part-time and full-time, but after 10 years of being out in public and having a social life as a woman, I’d like to think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what things would be like. (If any of you post-transitioners think I’m over-estimating, please do let me know.)

So why not?

Short answer: Transitioning is major (and potentially costly) effort, and in my gut I’m not sure I’d be any happier at the end of it.

Longer answer:

I want to be more centered before making any major life decision, be it change jobs, moving, or transitioning. At minimum seeing what happens when the happy pills kick in in another couple weeks. Preferably after some counseling to help me get a better grip on things.

In the past, my dysphoria has waxed and waned. So I want to see to what extent this current bout is being driven by simply wanting to be someone else because I’m unhappy with other aspects of my life — things that wouldn’t necessarily go away if I simply transitioned tomorrow without tackling the rest of it.

Another reason — much as I’m embarrassed to admit it — is vanity. I have the face and body that teen trans women shudder to think they might have without medical intervention. In reality, as I’ve said, it doesn’t seem to be a huge issue as far as interacting with others. Nor do I expect that I’ve going to be redheaded bombshell of my dreams. I’ll be a 50ish, average-looking woman, a bit on the heavy-set, heavy-featured side. Unfortunately I inherit my mother’s Karl Malden-esque nose. (And yes I know I can work done… I’m toying with sending some photos to that Virtual FFS site.) Admittedly I look that way today, but as part-timer somehow the bar seems… lower. Full-time… would I be trading one set of body dysphoria for another?

A related reason that I alluded to earlier is being “special” right now. Admittedly it’s tied into being exoticized — not in a creepy tranny chaser way — rather “oh it’s cool gender-bendy person”-kind of way. Which obviously can be problematic in its own ways. But for someone who’s never felt particular desirable as a man, and who has the same sorts of self-doubts about being desired felt by other women who aren’t nubile skinny white chicks with big tits, being seen as sexy and attractive can be a bit of crack hit. Something that would likely go away if I’m just another woman.

And yeah, part of it undoubtedly is a less-than-conscious unwillingness to give the male privileges in my life. Much as masculinity and I have had a strained relationship for many decades, I still have obviously benefited from being seen as a man, even an unconventional man. (I really have no patience for the “I’m trans so I never had male privilege” argument.)