What an amazing feeling. It is the moment when someone addresses you with the correct pronoun, a 'she', or even a 'miss', or 'ma’am'. It can be a 'he' or 'sir' for the guys or the more elusive 'they' for our non-binary friends. The feeling of elation we get from the validation. In that brief instance we are seen as we truly are. There are subtle things that can happen throughout a given day that can have profound effects on us as transgender people. For cisgender people, they pay it no mind. And who can blame them? They probably don’t even notice what pronoun someone is using when they are addressed. For most, they never had to even think about gender or the pronouns associated with it. For us as transgender people, it goes beyond pronouns. It can be when someone calls you by the correct name or when you are treated according to the societal norms associated with the gender in which you identify.
There are a million different things I could list. Those little things that make you smile that most people take for granted. Sometimes we attach ideals to experiences we were denied in our former existence, and it means everything to us in circumstances where cisgender people wouldn’t necessarily care. For example, I had always secretly wished I would one day be asked to be in a wedding party. To be able to experience what other women did. To put on that bridesmaid’s dress picked out for me by the bride that most girls dread having to wear. It would be pure bliss to me if I were asked. The same goes for being invited to a bridal or baby shower. To me, it would be validation that other people might see me for whom I am, to be included with the other women. To just be asked to be a part of it. A girl can dream can’t she? So I had hoped and waited until finally it happened.
I was invited to a baby shower for one of my friends from my old job. I can honestly say I was beyond excited once I received the invitation. Not only would I be crossing off one more thing on my trans bucket list, but I was also going to see some of the people I used to work with. If there had been anything thing I missed about my old job, it was my coworkers. Since receiving the invite I just couldn’t wait to go. All the women in my family tried to bring my expectations back down to earth, pointing out that such events usually are not as exciting as I was feeling about it, but from my perspective it was something different entirely. It was an experience I never had, and on top of everything I was getting to see my friends who I hadn’t seen on a while.
“HAD I BEEN BORN CISGENDER, I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN A PRO AT ALL THIS BY NOW, BUT I WAS A COMPLETE NOVICE.”
So I went out to the baby store and bought the gifts, my first time sorting through a baby registry. In the store, I was tempted to buy every cute outfit they had. I couldn’t help myself. Had I been born cisgender, I probably would have been a pro at all this by now, but I was a complete novice. Now I had baby fever. It was all starting to make sense to me, as it came with the feeling I should have been doing these kinds of things all my life. I settled on the cutest outfit of the bunch and some of the items I knew she would really need from the registry, like a big box of diapers and onesies.
Eventually, the day of the shower would come. I put on a cute black and white party dress I had been dying to wear, complete with black stockings and a cute pair of Mary Janes. To be honest I probably over did it a bit, but I wanted to look good. I hadn’t seen everyone in a while.
I made it to the shower, and it was great to see everyone. We played a bunch of baby games and had a million laughs. We got talk about “girl” stuff and I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time. I missed these ladies, and they were some of my biggest supporters in my transition. We caught up on things and told stories about the good old days when work was a better place. It was the first time that I was in a room full of women where I didn’t feel as if I were standing out as the trans girl in the room. In the end,it was a great time. I felt accepted, and I was finally able to experience something that I had always wished I could.
“WHEN I RETURNED HOME I WAS LIKE A LITTLE KID ON HALLOWEEN. I WAS ALL DRESSED UP AND FEELING GOOD ABOUT MYSELF.”
When I returned home I was like a little kid on Halloween. I was all dressed up and feeling good about myself. I would have slept in my outfit if I could have, I didn’t want to take it off. I felt amazing just getting to be myself. I was still excited from the day as I filled everyone in on how it all went.
It is funny how an event full of fitting in with gender stereotypes is able to somehow make you feel whole. In a reality, a baby shower shouldn’t be something that we equate with one gender, but on the other hand I felt a huge sense of validation by being able to experience something that was forbidden to me all my life because of the sex I was assigned at birth. Society makes these gendered roles that people conform to, and most people don't think twice about it. Though I feel a little silly getting all caught up in them, for me it was always a forbidden fruit. Things that were drilled it to my head all my life as what “girls” do. I am sure it is similar for transgender guys when they are accepted socially, and even a non-binary person when they get to experience a moment when there are no gender assumptions. I’ll admit in this moment I was weak for this experience. It was something I had always wished I could do.
We all put our own dreams in our heads; the little things that matter to us that maybe other people don’t care about or have no reason to appreciate. To me this event was huge step in my transition. In that moment I not feel like something “other”, at least for a little while, and to be honest I am not ashamed of it. I continue to realize that though there are so many bumps along the way in this journey, I still have much to live for. I still have so much I want to experience, even if those things may seem trivial to everyone else.