I've been to Arizona Pride twice, and both times have felt oddly uncomfortable, and have been squirreling about to figure out why ever since. The first time was with a local blogger and we kept being mistaken for a straight couple. This time I went with a good friend of mine who is lesbian, and again the uncomfortable feelings were present. So, it wasnt the company I was with, its something within me, keeping me from fully enjoying it.
There are times when the meetup group has a number of new people, who see a female shape, and assume I'm a lesbian. Several of the people that I've informed that I'm a gay third gender guy ( or trans-man) very often say, "Hey, I'm not into labels!" Which to me is a backhanded slap. How would they feel if I disrespected their sexual orientation in the same manner?
Many people scoff at bisexual invisibility, but I totally get it as I to feel invisible quite often when in LGBTQ spaces. Stepping outside the trans-man accepted role of how to look and act makes me even more invisible and unbelieved.
Humans have a built in template of male and female coded into each society as to acceptable behavior and looks. Step to far out of that box and it makes others very uncomfortable, as several recent studies have shown. Which could explain some of the hate the extremely femme gay guys receive, they look male, but act feminine, a dichotomy that is often to much for those who are fairly inflexible in their thinking. The violence against certain members of our LBGTQ family is incited by the herd mentality of different is dangerous. And while LGBTQ on LGBTQ is fairly rare, we do trend to fall into groups by skin color and orientation.
There is no way for me to project a trans-man exterior. Dressing butchy makes me look like a butchy lesbian. Dressing as I usually do, lesbian or straight depending upon the company I'm with. Short of wearing a shirt proclaiming who I am, I see no way of projecting my inner self.
Why is this so important to me to be seen for who I actually am? Not a clue, all I know it wears on me to be invisible in GLBTQ spaces.
Been thinking about returning to the transgender conference, and not being ashamed of not conforming to the accepted way trans-men are supposed to dress or act. Wearing a third gender shirt and not trying to act any differently than usual. For once in my life walk proud, not slinking around corners, not being ashamed of who I am and projecting an apologetic air for not fitting into gender norms. Part of the issue with this conference is the average age of the people who attend, 40+ so they are still operating with the olde manual where the holy grail is to "pass". Not to live for personal happiness, but to adhere to others ideals of what it means to be trans on either side of the gender divide.
Found this article today, and from the looks of it, the younger set has a better grasp of how to live happily as trans, third gender, etc, etc, etc.
After reading this, article I'm giving more thought to why the fuck should it matter as to who others think/believe me to be?