Guest Column: So much has changed for me

by Michelle Reynolds *

Transitioning to living and breathing en femme – the hormones I inject are rapidly transforming my skin; hair distribution and my breasts are already a full B cup. New feelings and emotions flood my thoughts and senses. Things once familiar, now viewed with a different perspective. Moving through social situations and public life as a teacher call upon my utmost attention to my presentation as female. I am glad that I can do this and be “passable.”

There has been some attention drawn to the term ‘passable’ as tacit approval of the sexist, male generated vision of what a woman should look like. Although, I agree that transgender women should be able to dress, act, and appear, as they will, personally I feel much safer if I am ‘passable’ in public. This is a reality that some of us find quite disarming in this hostile social environment.

As hostile as it can be at times, I truly see real change in social values. I see greater acceptance of transgender women. There has been a backlash against the trans-haters and the anti-trans vitriol being spewed by public figures and religious leaders. The average person may know a trans-woman or have some familiarity with the concept of what it is to be transgender. All of the attention both positive and negative will have a normalizing effect over time. This I can be sure of. The transgender movement is in much the same place as the lesbian/gay movement was 30 years ago. Over time, being lesbian or gay became socially acceptable and tolerated. Therein lies my hope for trans-people.

I am transitioning in a turbulent period in our shared history, true, but I am not alone. I have a voice. We have a voice. Our voice is getting louder as more trans-women assert their rights as individuals. Our voice is getting louder as we find more allies in our lives and in media.

I am very fortunate to have found not only a staunch ally, also a loving, kind man who respects me as transgender and loves me fiercely. We live together and we have slept in each other’s arms for over two months. Our bond has gone from just physical attraction to a love relationship. Our bond is strong and he is not ashamed to be with me in public because I am trans. He is proud that I am transgender and he has told his friends and family just that. We tease each other about marriage and love like any cisgender couple would. We inhabit a very special and rare place in our culture as a couple with a trans-woman and a straight, cisgender man. We both realize this and prize our time together. Life is good.

*Transsexual teacher/activist/lover of languages/anthropologist  (