Sunday, 27 November 2011

A matter of identification

So let's start this thing off with a few simple statements. Well, maybe simple in intention but not necessarily in the way they can get received by others.

I am a woman.

I have always been a woman, except when I was a girl (and before that when I was a baby).


For the early part of my life I was an "out-y" not an "in-y" 'down there'. It didn't change who I am or, in many ways, how people responded to me or I to them, but some people seem to think that sort of thing matters. I'm not sure I do, but there you have it. And anyway, for many of those early years I didn't know what "sex" or "gender" were. The sixties were a far simpler time!

'Male' is what some people will call the sex I was assigned at birth - the birth certificate actually said "Boy" which isn't quite the same thing - but 'female' is what it says on my passport, driving licence, indeed everywhere that matters. (There may be some government records somewhere that differ, but I've no idea what information they keep!)

There is also the issue of the word "transsexual". I see it much like "transfer", "transubstantiation", "transcribe" etc where the "trans-" means it is a temporary state between two others. I had a period in the past when I was "transsexual" - not clearly one or the other, in the process of changing my body - 'correcting' it, if you will, until at the end of the process I was complete. I see 'trans' as part of my past, not of my present nor of my future.


Now I will admit the second (obvious) thing. My name is not actually Libby Long. She is actually one of my favourite fictional characters though, appearing in Robert Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, to where I'll refer you for more information. And why am I using this nom de plume?

Because one can't be a little bit pregnant. Once your life history is a matter of public record it generally can't be rescinded. Although some people do 'know' about me most don't and, frankly, I see no reason that they should; there is no good reason for people to know. Same as if I'd had an abortion, an appendectomy, married an axe-murderer, gone on holiday to the Antilles, or had a heart transplant, being 'trans' is only relevant to a very very few people under restricted circumstance, so I don't tell anyone. Indeed if asked I will deny it.

Sometimes this gets called "stealth" or "wooden" (as in 'fading into the') and some 'out' trans people say that they think everyone who is trans should be 'out and proud' about it. "To each their own" is and can be the only response to this. As I shall write later I have been very out in the past, so much so that I am probably the first trans person many people knew.

So, I'm Libby. Welcome to my thought processing.

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