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7_chapter_seven_authenticity [2021/05/05 13:36]
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-Chapter Seven 
-Changing gender seems, even after twelve years, an incredibly audacious and deceitful thing to do. I've been called brave for doing so but untruthful is the word that often nips at my heels. Comparing myself to cisgender women, and their narratives, seems like comparing chalk to proverbial cheese. From day one of transitioning the burning question was "Is this decision authentic?". Was I being true to myself, or just putting on some mask in order to play a different role? Am I a woman who happened to receive a body with a penis, prostate gland, testicles, etc. Or a man deluded, or something else entirely? This is a "gender binary" sort of question but just as Euclidean geometry is a reasonable approximation of non-Euclidean geometries for day-to-day purposes, so is the gender binary for the nonbinary gender spectrum. Hence my question about authenticity. Since gender is something assigned to our bodies, and based on a combination of our own feelings, behaviours, and the views of other people and culture, its authenticity is not simple to determine. And even if authenticity is seen then perhaps I am simply a good actor. And maybe it doesn't really matter in a society that allows me to be what I want. That's not the point though. Changing gender is like changing the foundations of a building, it cannot be done without changing the building itself. So you want to be sure that the change is genuine and authentic to what the building should be. How do I know that I am a woman, even if a transgender woman? The litmus test for me was commencing hormone therapy.   
-For transgender women this involves the consumption of some combination of estrogen, progesterone, and anti-androgens. Breast development is a notable, and personally welcome, outcome. That alone should have signalled that changing gender was right for me. There's another more subtle change though, for people with a penis. The loss or weakening of erectile function, and changes in the consistency of semen. This functionality seems particularly important to cisgender men, if Viagra, and other cultural references, are anything to go by. If I was a cisgender male rather than a transgender woman, then it seemed plausible that losing penile capacity would be devastating to some degree. Swallowing my first little blue estrogen pill was momentous. Watching for developing breast buds was exciting and fascinating. Weakening erections, who cares? The litmus test showed I am a woman, albeit one still with a penis.