M - both a Woman (and a Man)
Late yesterday afternoon I took a journey into a world that is different from what I am used to. It was a world of a transsexual identity. Initially, when I saw the seven performers, I thought that some of them were women and some were trans women. Gradually, I realized that not only were they all trans, but there was a lot more trans presence because they each played a role of a woman in addition to in reality being a woman, making fourteen trans women. (In the discussion after the play the actors revealed some of their real identities as people. M and the other woman of color are not in reality “women”. They are instead both male and female; both genders and neither).
Witnessing this play reading was very meaningful for me! A 38 year old trans woman in the play was my 22 year old step-child M. M played a very significant role in the play and was brilliant in their performance. Gradually both the performers and the characters they were representing both became very real to me. It was strange to feel the powerful presence of trans women. I had never, never previously seen more than a single trans person and often had missed entirely that they were trans. I had never really felt both the depth of trans women and the struggles that they feel in being themselves.
The discussion after the performance was as illuminating as the performance itself. These women were and are women. Their beauty and strength brought something very new to my consciousness. I saw and see M now in much more poignant terms. Several of those in the audience changed before my eyes. The thin, beautiful woman was trans. She was as beautiful as her original image was within me.
Today at physical therapy another therapist witnessed my therapy. She hadn’t seen such therapy done upon men previously. I told her and my therapist how it felt strange to me in the context of what I had seen yesterday though it was anatomical sex, rather than gender that was relevant then.
I can no longer be simply a man. I can no longer simply be a “normal” man.
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