The distinction between being female and being a woman (in my eyes)

Disclaimer: This is bound to offend someone’s gender politics, so I’m just going to restate that this blog is just my own insane thoughts and feelings.

The gender label I feel comfortable with is a progressing thing. I’ve talked before about how I felt “not-male”, then as I started to reach acceptance “trans” or “trans gender”, then “trans girl” or “trans female”.

About 3 or 4 months ago, I was having a makeup lesson in the Mac store. The woman teaching me was treating me in such a normal way, asking me questions about my makeup routine and preferences on products and colours. All of a sudden I experienced this moment where I was in a comfortable, natural place in my head. Then I popped out of it as I remembered this wasn’t my normal. I had this sudden sense that I’d just experienced my female gender. Then a few seconds I sunk back into it. It was amazing… but only lasted for a few seconds at a time before I spotted it and popped myself right back out of the moment. Over the following months I started learning to listen to this feeling and even a few ways that I can encourage it.  I started to experience it more and more. It really felt like I’d reached the inner me and it was wonderful.

I probably spend 60% of the time being in touch with that part of me and the remainder feeling like my androgenous, genderless self. I think this is a function of still not being full time as Amy. I hope it is.

However I’m still not comfortable with the label “woman” and only mildly comfortable with “trans woman”. To me – male and female (and the other genders) are a little switch in one’s head. For me it is set to Female. I don’t need anything external to validate or complete that picture.

My interpretation of woman is something different. It’s not just an internal thing. To me being a woman is that inner sense of female, combined with social comprehension and probably controversially some degree of physical conformity with what society expects of a woman’s body.

What do I mean by social comprehension? Well I essentially feel in many ways like I’m not much older that I was when I first felt different. I feel like a child or sometimes a young teenager. I don’t feel like I’ve learnt what it is to be a woman yet. Sometimes someone says “we women <insert group behaviour>” and it’s news to me. I’m hoping it is possible to feel at home in time. Maybe I’ve just left it too late or lived as a boy for too long… Maybe I’ll never socially feel like a woman. I desperately hope I do.

The other thing I think stopping me from being able to self identify as a woman is because although my body is changing – when I take off my clothes I still see more man than woman. It is changing though… I now instinctively see my female face rather than my male face now and I’ve lost a pile of weight which made me feel more feminine and the discomfort in my chest is a reminder that there’s something happening in there. I’m not sure at what point I’ll reach physical acceptance. Maybe it will be when I get noticeable boobs, or my hair gets longer, or maybe after I get facial feminisation surgery or after bottom surgery. On the other hand – maybe I’ll always be so fixated with my male physical characteristics that I’ll never be able to think of myself as a woman. I desperately hope I do.

For the time being – I’ll happily content myself with feeling female as much as I can and maybe in time I’ll have the odd moment of feeling like a woman that will grow and become stronger. What a fascinating journey this is.

  • Amy…just wow. You write beautifully and express your internal processes in a way that makes it very easy for a reader to experience them with you. If you go back to some of the first posts on my blog, you might see some similarities in what I went through when starting to tentatively go out and about as my male self. For me, the first time it really ‘clicked’ was the first time someone referred to me as ‘he’. But then I’m very much a binary trans man – so much so that I really struggle with understanding the non-binary experience and particularly with using non-binary pronouns. I’m a work in progress. 🙂