“You look so beautiful”, I said with total awe as she walked towards me.
Her head was down, she tucked her short black hair behind her ear. “Really?” she asked hesitantly. She stood in front of me with a black singlet, lacy black underwear and black suspenders with seriously high pumps.
“Yes!” I emphatically replied. “Look at your hair! Your legs are killer in those stockings! You look incredible! Shit, you know what we need to do? We need to do your makeup.”
“I’ve never actually shown anyone me like this before,” she mumbled, blushing.
I froze. “Really?”, I asked incredulously. She nodded. “Well, I’m so glad that I’m the first one to see you B. Now come and sit down”.
Doesn’t really sound like a standard client hey? She most definitely was not.
I sat her down and gave her the sexiest, smokiest eyes and the most luscious red lips. “Your lips are made for lipstick, they’re the perfect shape – many women would kill for these,” I gushed. “There, done – have a look in the mirror”.
She slowly walked to the mirror and just……stared. “I’ve never seen myself with makeup before”.
“It suits you,” I replied, smiling. “So now you’re all glammed up, what should we do now?”
Now you all should know by now that I never kiss and tell past these introductions as bedroom escapades are intimate, private and only for me and that person, but what you do need to know this….
She was beautiful, she was intelligent, she was passionate, and…. she was assigned ‘male’ at birth.
I met B quite a few months ago now and I still remember it vividly… unfortunately the grind of life has made it really hard for me to finally tell her story, but tell her story I must. It’s a story that is all too common, all too sad and all too unnecessary in a modern day world.
B (I gave her this name when I met her) grew up as a ‘typical’ man, if there even is such a thing as ‘typical’ these days. I’ll call him A.
A grew up with no curiosities about his gender…. In his eyes he was a man. However, the big five zero came and went, and he started to feel this urge to explore femininity. As years went on, he collected various feminine items and that urge grew, which led to his visit to see me… which was his first time showing anyone else the person who he felt he might be.
When I asked B why she hadn’t told anyone else yet, she said that she came from a very traditional family who would never understand the complexities of gender confusion. She said that she could never remotely consider showing her family this…. They would disown her. The pain of potentially losing family outweighs the urge to dress as a woman, and so she suffers in silence; emerging only in a form that she loves when the doors are closed and only her eyes can see; when only she can judge. And judge she does. After all, to take it to another level of confusion, she loves dressing as a woman but is still attracted to women. Let’s take it one step more…. she loves dressing as a woman but is unsure if it’s just a fetish or her true identity. Insert the gender identity crisis that many many people experience in the world on a daily basis.
Let’s face it, we’re all misfits.
To show you how complicated this world can be, get ready for some definitions.
Cis – A person that identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Trans – A person that doesnt identify with the gender they were assigned at birth
Intersex – A person whose chromosomes, genetic features, or anatomy does not match up with one gender
Transvestite – A person that derives sexual pleasure from dressing as the opposite sex
Crossdresser – Someone that wears clothes typically worn by the opposite sex
The world of gender identity is clearly very complex, hey?
Sexually B also had an urge to be humiliated in the bedroom…. Maybe having to ask someone to humiliate her gave her control over the humiliation that she maybe thought society projected onto her way of exploration and that felt liberating…. or maybe it reflected the way that she felt about herself…. I don’t know, I’m not a psych and I don’t think it’s right to analyse anyone’s desires. A desire is a desire and as long as it’s not harmful, then let them bloody be. But what I do know is that many surveys have shown that a lot of people who identify with opposite genders feel shame in relation to their feelings. What I also know is that gender identity these days is such a fluid topic that no one should have to feel shame, should have to worry about losing their family; they should not have to hide themselves as a result of whatever orientation they feel they are, or whatever sex they are attracted to.
People are people. End of story. The way you look on the outside does not reflect the beautiful soul that you are on the inside. You feel like a woman? Awesome! You feel like a man? Great! We are not defined by our anatomy, we are not defined by the sex that we are attracted to, we are not defined by mainstream ideas of society. It’s so ironic to me that society can often frown on people ‘outside the norm’, because if there’s one thing that society has shown me over the years of access to their bedrooms? That is that there is no ‘mainstream’ society. Let’s face it, we’re all misfits. So in a world where we are all misfits, why are people made to feel this way? Why do we judge?
The enormity of the problem is never more pertinent than when you look at statistics around the suicide rates of transgender people, which are quite frankly – heartbreaking.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention analysed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. In this survey, 6500 transgender people were asked, “Have you tried to commit suicide?”.
41% said yes.
Beyond Blue report that in Australia, 20% of trans Australians and 15.7% of lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians report current suicidal ideation. Up to 50% of trans people have actually attempted suicide at least once in their lives.
The average age of a first suicide attempt is 16 years – often before ‘coming out’.
This is a disgrace to our society. That a whole group of people who actively contribute to our society, live with us, breathe with us – the fact that they go through this extreme sadness, feeling helpless, is appalling and we as a society have to recognize that we can do more. A woman born with an intersex condition put it so poignantly in the 2008 Human Rights Commission…
“Some of us are still haunted by the spectre of our identity as circus freaks in the not-too-distant past. It is time that our identities and experiences are given the same respect as the rest of the community.”
If this is the way that people with any kind of alternative gender identity feels, then we as a society need to fucking have their back. We need to man up and be a support for them. We need to hold their hand while they explore who they are as a soul, rather than the way they were born. As Chastity Bono says… “Your gender is between your ears and not between your legs”.
I offered to get B in touch with other people who have been where she is… sadly, she refused. I think that B has to learn to love herself more before she will allow other people to love her as ‘B’. I hope that she will read this insight from a fellow worker, L, and find some strength in it.
I was assigned male at birth but have identified as female since before puberty although I was only able to start hormone replacement therapy at 21 and start living full time as a woman when i was 22, I was too scared to do so before. I was scared because I came from a very conservative family and my only trans role models were older trans women and they all looked so miserable, so I thought it was easier to remain in the closet and content even though I would be sad. This changed when I began to see other trans people my age and though transitioning is tough it has made me happier than I could have ever been, the scared girl in the closet.
Now I am the proud woman I was always going to be and I strongly encourage anyone questioning their gender identity to continue to do so as you can be happy. The world has changed, no more are trans and gender diverse people seen as freaks or abominations and while we do not have the acceptance that everyone else has, it is better than it was even 5 years ago.
I hope I see B again so that I can continue to heap a whole shit tonne of love on her. But for now, all I can do is give her a fond memory to look back on… that time when she revealed herself for the first time to another person… and they responded with total love. That’s the way it should be.
Spread the love.
Big thanks to L for her time to help me make sure I’m not unintentionally offending anyone, and for her story. Big love to you beautiful.
If you or if someone that you know is struggling mentally, please call Lifeline for help on 13 11 14.
Statistics were found via Beyond Blue, but as always statistics are constantly changing and will differ depending on the study and the year.