“Next thing you know, you’re going to have your period.”
“Well, I was born a woman. So were most other women. But you had to choose to become one, and work at it.”
Not long ago, I would have debated that point. But I realized that while I was born with a female essence, mind and spirit, I had to make the choice to be a woman—or, more precisely, to live as one.
But it has also meant changes in my milieu. People who were part of my life before I embarked on this journey are no longer with me. They include a friend--who, at one time, was the closest I’d had—who has become bitter and resentful of just about everybody. She extended those feelings toward me because, she believed, I had no right to live as a woman because I never have, and never will, menstruate. (Should I say “never”?) She believed that I was living as a woman in order to take advantage of Affirmative Action and take a job that rightfully belongs to a “real” woman. Actually, she’s not that altruistic: She thinks I’m going to take a job from her. That, of course, is ludicrous because she and I have never applied for the same job—or the same anything else.
But even if you have the capacity for becoming something, you have to become it. That includes becoming a woman or a man. The vast majority of people who are cisgendered have a head start in becoming the women or men they envision themselves to be. Those of us who are transgendered or intersexed may have to “work at it,” as my gynecologist says. Or, perhaps, we simply have a longer—and sometimes more serpentine or circuitous—road.