Author Topic: The damsel  (Read 204 times)

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Offline Megan.

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The damsel
« on: August 12, 2018, 05:07:59 am »
It's a stereotype, and early on in my journey I refused to take on the role, but I do find myself slowly getting comfortable with the male/female dynamic of Western society.

Yesterday I went to a brakers yard to collect a replacement tailgate for my Skoda Octavia (there was a 'parking incident' with the original ).
I went alone to collect the item, initially wondering if i'd have any issues with the staff at the brakers - they were very polite and courteous.

I could have, with difficulty, carried and loaded the heavy and unwieldy item into my car,  but I found myself perfectly content to ask for and accept the help of two strong lads to load it for me while I just stood back. Before my transition I would have done it myself out of the old male need to constantly prove my manliness.

I posted some time back on my difficulty with scenarios like holding doors open and other gender based interactions, but I'm getting better with it.

I think this is all part of the wider transition journey, and it takes time. Of course there are no laws requiring me to behave in any way, but society has social and cultural expectations, and if I'm comfortable with them, I feel no need to rally against them .

If you've transitioned, how content are/were you with adopting the social behaviours normally associated with your identified gender?

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Offline Julia1996

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Re: The damsel
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2018, 05:33:15 am »
Other than being talked down to and mansplained I have no problem with it at all. I don't subscribe to the "rules of feminizm " I don't find it offensive or annoying when guys call me sweetie, sweetheart, love, dear or babe. I know that offends many women but I don't have a problem with it. Nor do I have any problem with guys opening doors for me or pulling out my chair for me. And I've never had any problems with guys carrying something heavy for me. Being a small person that happened even before transition.  I also don't have a problem letting a guy pay for lunch, dinner or coffee. I always made sure I had money with me to pay for it but if the guy wanted to pay that was fine with me. Once when Tristan and I were first dating he asked me to dinner. At that time he was still in school and I knew he didn't have a lot of money so I offered to pay for it. He was quite insulted by that and told me if he couldn't afford to pay for dinner he wouldn't have asked me.
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Online Devlyn

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Re: The damsel
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2018, 06:12:16 am »
I play it both ways. If someone wants to move something heavy for me, I let them. I just got rid of arailroad crossing signal, two pieces of track, and two fire hydrants. I had one end of all of it, the guy's wife stood and watched us load it.

Watching her try to figure me out was pretty fun, I  could see the wheels turning in her head.  :laugh:

Offline Megan.

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Re: The damsel
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2018, 06:15:05 am »


Other than being talked down to and mansplained I have no problem with it at all. I don't subscribe to the "rules of feminizm " I don't find it offensive or annoying when guys call me sweetie, sweetheart, love, dear or babe. I know that offends many women but I don't have a problem with it. Nor do I have any problem with guys opening doors for me or pulling out my chair for me. And I've never had any problems with guys carrying something heavy for me. Being a small person that happened even before transition.  I also don't have a problem letting a guy pay for lunch, dinner or coffee. I always made sure I had money with me to pay for it but if the guy wanted to pay that was fine with me. Once when Tristan and I were first dating he asked me to dinner. At that time he was still in school and I knew he didn't have a lot of money so I offered to pay for it. He was quite insulted by that and told me if he couldn't afford to pay for dinner he wouldn't have asked me.

Thanks for sharing . I can totally identify with Tristans' reaction, I spent decades in that mode of thinking.
I'm physically quite 'imposing', so I'll probably always have to ask for assistance rather than it being offered by default, but I'm totally comfortable with that balance.

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Offline KarynMcD

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Re: The damsel
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2018, 03:34:39 pm »
I've only really been in the damsel situation twice. Both times it was with someone who's known me for a long time.

Part of my job involves computer tech support, so setting up and moving computers around isn't a problem.
The first time I needed to move two computers to another building. The person there asked if they should send over some guys to help. I refused this instance because I knew I had a cart available to bring them over.

The second time, I had mentioned to a friend that when the new monitors come in, I'm going to grab two.
When they arrived, he came by to tell me they're in. I said I'd get them later. He said, he could go get them. I thought about it for a second, thinking "why'd he ask? I can easily go get them." Then it occurred to me that he is just treating me like he would any other women. So then I said "sure." He brings them over but then he starts setting them up. Screw it. I'm just going to go with it and enjoy the situation.

There may have been another time, but the guy never actually said anything.
I commute by train and I place my computer bag on the overhead rack. At my stop, he asked if I was getting off, but I just waved him past because I prefer not to be rushed. I think he wanted to get my bag down for me. I later hear him say to his child, "maybe she doesn't speak english."

Then again, when guys run ahead of me to get a door, I usually just laugh to myself. But that one guy who cut me off to get there first, just really annoyed me. "What is this guy doing? Oh, he was just trying to get the door for me.   ::)

Online krobinson103

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Re: The damsel
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2018, 11:04:20 pm »
Its something I need to be better at. As my strength has decreased I find myself needing to ask for help with heavy things. It still feels like... what? I should be able to do this! That stubborn male pride thing hasn't left even if the ability to carry a fridge by myself has.
Every day is a totally awesome day
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Offline Lisa_K

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Re: The damsel
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2018, 11:04:57 pm »
If you've transitioned, how content are/were you with adopting the social behaviours normally associated with your identified gender?

I've never adopted to different social behaviors because I was never seen as or treated like a normal boy in the first place. Who I was, how I was and the way I was or maybe it was just my vibe or aura or spirit or something but even as a boy, knowing myself as a girl and not a boy clearly came through to others and there was nothing I could do about it. My life had always been like that and due to my nature being recognized in early childhood, once my parents realized there was nothing that could be done about it because I was just me, many of my childhood and adolescent experiences and the things I was exposed to and influenced by, my hobbies and interests, toys, play style and attitude were much like any other girls with the exception of my ostracization and isolation and major social problems I had because I was seen as so different.

I never expressed the social behaviors or stereotypical traits and attributes normally associated with those of my birth sex and this had always been uncontrollably on display for the whole world to see and problematic. After I was 8 and was allowed to start growing out my hair, which was less about being something I was allowed to do and more about my hysterical refusal and nuclear meltdowns forcing my folks do something to make me less miserable, I began to not even look like boys so not only did my personality and way I was set me apart, so did what others saw and as I got older, this only became more of an issue.

I didn't know anything about trans or transition and neither did my folks but by the time I was 15, it had become obvious that I had grown up to be a girl in heart, soul, mind and manner and when I told them how absolutely crushing it was to be seen and known as just some kind of super queer boy and not just the girl who I knew myself to be, they understood without question saying they had always known who and what I was and that they were well aware my lifelong struggles of failing miserably to be something I was not because I never tried to be or couldn't be. They were sympathetic but felt their hands were tied to do anything about it because in 1970, what could they do about it other than just let me express myself more openly limited by what I could get away with and not get kicked out of school and I pushed every limit regardless of the consequences or social repercussions.

You would have thought that having just been recently nearly beaten to death by a group of homophobic boys and missing a month of school recovering would have seen things like my long hair and feminine personality, androgyny and my behavior and desires really cracked down on but just the opposite happened. I got my ears pierced, razors so I could shave my legs and underarms, my brows waxed and shaped at my mom's salon, some of my own small makeup items for special occasions like dinner out at a nice restaurant or having company because my mom was tired of hers ending up in my bathroom and she patiently worked with me finding girl's clothes right on the borderline of what I could get away with in school where I was still known as a boy even if in name only. In spite of all that, we had some horrific door slamming, tearful, wish-I'd-never-been-born heated disagreements over looks that honestly if I was my kid, would have probably resulted in murder? ;) I don't know how my folks ever put up with me?

Having at most ever been gender ambiguous looking and already having long pretty blonde hair halfway down my back, with a very few subtle cues here and there, at 16 I was easily passing as a girl and was treated as such at home and everywhere else like stores and restaurants and it all seemed normal to me except for school where I didn't look or act any differently than I did any other day but was known as a boy which sent me into a dark and emotional mental tailspin at the way my life seemed to be split in two different parts when I was only one person. This was tough stuff for a kid to process at a time in life when things are usually a little crazy for everyone.

I can't say I know what all my parents thought through all of this but I was completely in the dark about being trans or what any of this even meant. Unconsciously and more or less organically, I had just grown into the girl I'd always known myself to be and the more I was seen an affirmed that way, the impossibly more difficult it became to go on as anything other. I was a late bloomer. Puberty came late for me and there were some concerns, questions and tests about that but when it did start to creep in, I was mortified and became non-functional. I was darkly depressed, withdrawn, isolated and suicidal and couldn't see myself going on with the way things were. After really struggling through my junior year and barely making it without dropping out, I knew I wasn't going back to high school and my life was in crisis. I didn't know what I was other than a girl who was the unfortunate recipient of one of Mother Nature's cruel jokes. I had heard about tabloid celebrities like Christine Jorgensen that had changed sex but I never thought of myself as one of "those people". I was just a kid that had no words for any of this and no connection to any of that stuff but had yet grown into a teenager that most of the world just saw and treated as a girl and the disassociation between that and my incongruent anatomy and having to be known as a boy to go to school that looked and acted like a girl was nearly the end of me. In retrospect, considering all the things I've been through in my 63½ trips around the sun, these were the most difficult years of my life.

Cutting an already way too long story short, realizing my desperation and despair and obviously by this point figuring out that I was trans before I even had a clue what I was, my parents found a doctor 150 miles away in another city and because they were so worried about me, they more or less insisted that I go see and talk to him. I had been seeing and talking to clueless doctors since I was ten and figured this was just another pointless effort but I knew I was in really deep trouble and had to do something so I went along with their plan begrudgingly. It ended up being life changing.

Within 15 minutes of talking to this guy for the first time, he explained what being transsexual was to me because that's what he said I obviously was and then told me what could be done about getting my messy life straightened out. I finally had a name for my predicament and began to have hope for some kind of a normal life and a future. He sent me to a psychologist and a psychiatrist who unequivocally concurred with his initial assessment but none of them had ever seen a seventeen year old so classically presenting with what at the time was then pretty much thought of to be only an adult problem so this was risky and heretofore unknown experimental territory for all of them. Nevertheless, I was started on estrogen at the beginning of summer vacation before my senior year of high school. With finally understanding myself better and making some sense of what I went through and where I was going plus just the hormones and the feeling I was doing something changed my entire outlook and I was able to finish my last year of school oblivious to the haters that by then had mostly backed off especially when it became apparent I was growing breasts which happened pretty quickly. The one and only friend I ever had, a girl named Gretchen, was the only person I told in high school what was actually going on and the first person besides my parents and doctors I talked about it with.

With plans in place, letters from different doctors in hand and my mom in tow, the week after I graduated in 1973 I got my new girl identification marking the end of my social transition and the full time living of the rest of my life. I'd been routinely passing as a girl outside of school for nearly two years at that point and very little about my looks or presentation was any different than it had been except maybe a little more sparkly but the relief of no longer feeling that my life was split in two and at how things had finally all come together was something I had never known up until that point. I went on to struggle with my body until that was fixed to match the rest of my life when I was 22 but the question I'm replying to is about social things and that's a different story.

I never learned how to be a boy, did not adopt new social behaviors, change my personality or need to learn how to be a girl or be feminine as that was my innate nature and not something I could change or control anyway but one of the things transition did do for me was take all these attributes out of the realm of atypicality, abnormality and freakish weirdness and put me in a place where I did fit in and wasn't seen as different. I did not have to worry about the way I was, the way I talked, walked, moved, sat, thought, laughed, looked or dressed like or breathed or even existed because it no longer singled me out as anything but a regular girl that seemed like any other average person. There would have been no way I could have lived a good life and prospered as I have done otherwise so how content I was about the things transition brought into my life should be pretty easy to figure out?

The rampant misogyny and sexism I faced as a young non college educated woman in the pink-collar working world during the 1970's wasn't different from what any other girls dealt with and actually came as a relief and a step up for me compared to the way I was previously treated in high school as practically non-human. No, I didn't like being thought of like a second class citizen or being talked down to like a dumb blonde or struggling for my voice and ideas to be heard as a woman in a man's world or having my ass grabbed but what woman did but as a great many women of the era and of my generation also found their strength and agency, as did I.

I find the notion of being a damsel or having to adapt to the way I was treated socially post transition at 18 as something I had to get used to or as awkward or foreign to be not part of my experience.

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