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Bigender Transition: The Switcheroo Times Two

bigenderMy employees at work are delighted for some reason when I refer to my transition as “my little switcheroo”. To give perspective, they are equally delighted when I leave for the day and say I’m making like a shepherd and getting the flock out of there. More likely the delight is in my departure rather than my corny witticisms. The reason I bring this up is because I have a friend who is executing the very difficult switcheroo times two. To be clear, male to female and back to male again. Let’s talk about that. This entry has been vetted by him, just so you don’t think I’m pulling the ultimate dick move.

To give some history, he identified as transgender some time ago and began formal transition in recent times. By the way, I’m going to flip-flop pronouns a lot here, so try and keep up. He now is living as a he, but when he was living as a she, I’ll call him her and she. Good lord, I’m already more lost then if I woke up wearing banana pants. Screw that, let’s go with ‘he’. He got as far as coming out at work, going to battle on the bathroom issue, changing his name, and living full time female. I think we can all admit that in the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty far, and required no small amount of chutzpa. I’d say cajones, but you know.

Over the summer he reconnected with the love of his life. She had tolerated his female side, but generally preferred him seven shades more butch. As star-crossed lovers are wont to do, they re-committed and bought a house together. Feeling more at home as a male in the relationship, he made the epic decision to transition back and now going through the undoubtedly onerous process of detransitioning. Name change again, frequent visitor to the men’s room at work, and what must be the worst, uncoming out to people. I’m not even sure how someone does this without a PowerPoint presentation and Rubik’s Cube for handy visual references and analogies. Here I will say that it must take major cajones and big brass ones at that; the kind that roll down ancient mountains and try to crush Indiana Jones.

Now that I dropped this little bombshell on you, I can feel some of you starting to bristle from here. Easy there hoss, let’s talk this through. Some are of the opinion that a single instance of detransition makes every trans person out there a suspect of future waffling. Some think we are arming the opposition with cause to believe transition is a lifestyle choice and not a medical necessity. Some will be inclined to predict dire consequences resulting from a future realization that a grave mistake was made. Those who fall into any of these fun little pools are probably going to argue strenuously with what I have to say next, but hear me out. I think these assumptions are wrong like Chong without a bong. Hard to argue with someone who uses obsolete rhymes, isn’t it?

Here is how I see it. Transition is a journey, a road, a path one takes to find the way home to feeling comfortable in one’s own body. There are as many roads as there are people. Some are straight, others curve, some go in circles, figure-eight, rhombuses, and even loop-de-loop. The whole point of traveling this rocky, ankle-breaking path, in heels nonetheless, is to make it to a safe place where obsessing about our gender identity takes a backseat to a life more ordinary. It’s really the whole point of it, isn’t it?

Most of us in the trans community have embraced the idea that gender is a spectrum. Where we fit may be more masculine, feminine, in between or off the scale altogether. We embrace each other as transgender, gender neutral, genderqueer, two-spirit, and even bi-gender (which is what this person identifies as). How we arrive at the sweet spot is our own journey, and one that often involves landing hither and thither a few times before finding Goldilocks. In that spirit, I find it impossible to wish him anything but joy and happiness for taking a very long and hard journey and embracing what he is meant to be. How can we do otherwise?

Finally, it’s worth remembering that people who incomprehensibly pour their energy into denying our clearly established existence and any semblance of human rights will continue to do so. Someone finding their way and ending up somewhere different than you or I is not going to make a spit of difference. In honoring our brother-turned-sister-turned-brother’s journey, we only validate the twists and turns our own takes. As for his future, who can say? Only he can determine what that is, and we can safely acknowledge that he’s put far more thought, care, and effort into understanding that than the rest of us combined, just as we have for ourselves.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

21 responses »

  1. For those still interested in this thread, please be aware that Michael’s relationship with the woman he loved with all his heart ended, sadly, but necessarily, in March 2015. In January 2016, it once again became apparent that living as a male was not any more satisfying than it had been his whole life, and so, the transition back to womanhood was resumed. Electrolysis began and is very nearly complete almost two years later. Hairstyle changes and brow shaping have precluded the facial feminization surgeries once imagined necessary; I “pass” without question no matter where I go. I don’t identify as Transgender or any other term unless I’m with people who know it anyway, and then I say I’m gender non-conforming. I live feminine 24/7/365 now, the way I want to, the way I should. I’m ecstatically happy. I don’t need another person to complete me, I’ve learned that lesson at last. I love myself.

  2. vocalartillery

    Honestly, this is exceptionally moving to me. I am not there, I don’t wear your heels. I’ve known my proclivity since I was young. If this is luck or not, I don’t know but I have to say, were I there in those “shoes” I can’t imagine. The things we do for love? The places we go to find ourselves.

    It’s ironic in a fashion, for me to find myself I had to expend what I had of my youth and self-esteem on the physical desires of males…cliche to the end.

    I just want to raise my glass to this person and tell them that their journey is inspiring, even if we don’t all relate entirely. I hope your path is beautiful and your heart is happy!

  3. I’m enjoying your blog, Michelle! I love your rhetoric and style. Especially “wrong like Chong without a bong”! So you’re firmly Camelot/New Frontier vintage like me (confirmed by your mention of Becky who implies her birthyear in her screenname).

    I met Alana Sholar, author of ‘Hung In The Middle’ at Southern Comfort (the url may have changed as they’re moving to Ft. Lauderdale). Her book describes some GF-influenced back and forth transition, but not as dramatic as your friend.

    Happy Hew Year!

    • Hi there! Boy, talk about a long stretch between comments about me. It’s NOT all about me, IS it?

      But seriously… about dramatic back-and-forth transitions: I’ve read about some of us who experience gender association swings several times a day. THAT I would not wish on anyone. My situation is drastically more settled, I’m very glad to say. In a way, it’s almost sad, because at this point I can’t even put my finger on Deanna, and I was so intensely HER for a while. It isn’t exactly like losing a sibling, but it’s similar, I would imagine. All I can say is that when I needed to be rescued from certain elements of life, Deanna saved me. She insisted on complete literal existence, and she got that, in spades. Once she was a legitimate person in her own right, in public, and on the job, it was as if that was what she needed. Kind of like ET’s people coming for him; they took him away, and Elliot went back to living his life, and they were both the better for having met each other.

      Now Michael exists again, the better for having experienced the depths and wonders of femininity that had always intrigued him. No more mystery. Michael can move on in his birth gender, which had always pleased him anyway. I hope if anyone out there reading this finds themselves in a similar situation, let your life run its course. Trust your feelings. Sometimes the road you’re travelling isn’t a one-way street. You’ll know. Good luck to you.

  4. You only get one life here, and that’s your own. Everyone has to try to make peace with themselves and circumstances.

    This fellow will have a tougher row to hoe, but he sounds like he has the strength for it. More power to him, and may they be blessed as a couple.

    Michelle? Thank you for reminding us that the haters will hate regardless. Our best defense and contribution to other trans (and cis) folks, is to be the best human beings we can be…

    …I’m in a new work (merger) situation with a new manager and colleagues, and my old manager said the kindest thing when I asked if my new manager had issues with my being a trans woman; he said: “people are comfortable with you whether you are a man or woman because you are a wonderful person, ” and he anticipated no problems.

    Being a woman or a man or something else is not really the goal that makes us whole: being our authentic selves *is* and it’s worth going in a circle to achieve. 🙂

  5. Beautifully written; fun, understanding, while being straight to the point .. And very wise indeed ..

  6. You can return a car, a mattress, even a puppy if they don’t fit you, why not everything else?

  7. nice censorship you go girl.

    • Here we use our nice words and don’t just shout things to provoke a reaction. That’s what I tell my 7 year old when he yells “poooooop!” in the car just to irritate me, and I’d say it applies here as well,

      It’s perfectly OK to disagree with me and get a discussion going. Last year there was a commenter, no one you know, who took exception to many of my ideas, but engaged with thoughtful intelligence and we had a very interesting dialog. I actually kind of miss her. This, however, wasn’t it. My assessment stands that you are mentally equal with a caffeinated 7 year old, and I simply can’t be bothered.

  8. What a great post! I agree with you all the way. We are all on a journey and who is to say which is “right”. I wish your friend all my best hoping he will get there sooner than later. Also your writing is very inspirational and fun to read. You should write a book!

    • Thank you so much! Funny you should mention the book. I’m about 3/4 done with the first draft. 🙂 Oh, I’m not saying it will be publishable, interesting, or receive more than 1 star, but I’ll be able to say I did it. 🙂

  9. Your kindness and unconditional love truly astounds me. I want to be more like you. Of course you have to know how much I admire your fine writing.

    • Thank you so much! Just trying to look out for my peeps. … By peeps I don’t mean the little marshmallow chickens that get hard and chewy 30 seconds out of the package. I’m just stuck in 2003 terminology so people know I’m old and slow to adapt to change. 🙂 Thank you very much for the kind words!

      • I understood your words very well. I use a collection of terminology. If you read my blog you will discover a great variety of terminology that I have been introduced to in Georgia that I have now adopted as my own. By the way look for another of my posts today.


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