I recently commented to a friend that it’s funny how girly most of my friends are. She didn’t think it was funny. At all. She almost seemed offended as she responded that it’s good to have friends who are different and to not have only friends who are like me. I, by the way, am not girly. Or rather, I’d like to pretend that I’m not. I’m working against twenty-plus years of socialization to be a woman, and it’s not easy, but I definitely don’t see myself as a woman.
I think that she either missed my point, or I just didn’t do a very good job of making my point clearly. Actually, nearly all of my friends are very feminine. Nearly all of my friends are women, for that matter. And neither of those things is bad. I love my friends. I have nothing against femininity or women of any kind.
The real problem is not that I have friends who are different from me: it’s that none of them are like me. In a crowd of women in dresses and heels, hair and makeup carefully done, I feel like the odd one out--you know, one of these is not like the others. I feel like I don’t fit in--or, perhaps worse, that I do. I am not a woman, and I don’t want to be seen as one.
Although most of my friends are not ultra-feminine, never-leaves-the-house-
It’s really not actually that bad. My friends are supportive; it’s just a passive kind of support at times. They all took it well when I came out as trans and not identifying as a woman . . . but no one uses my preferred pronouns. They tell me I look nice when I dress up in my boyish best . . . but they don’t help when I’m stressing over what to wear (the general response is something along the lines of, “It’s not a big deal, just pick something--pants and a shirt?”).
I love my friends, but I wish at least one of them understood where I’m coming from. I wish I had a friend I could rely on to correct people on my pronouns. I wish I had a friend to go clothes shopping with, one who’d help me find masculine/androgynous looks I could pull off. I wish I had a friend with whom I could discuss which binders work best and whether I want to have top surgery or go on T, now or ever. I wish I had a friend who would celebrate with me when I managed to achieve flat lines and disguise my body. I wish I had a friend who would help me as I pick out a new name. I wish I had a friend who’d understand why I feel defeated when I get called one of the “ladies” at a restaurant or when I get directed to the women’s fitting room in a store and turned away from the men’s fitting rooms. I wish I had a friend who would realize that that the highness of my singing voice makes me so uncomfortable sometimes that I can hardly stand it. I wish I had a friend who would notice that I flinch every time I’m called “she.” I wish I had a friend who accepted that I’m trying to deflect attention away from my chest, that I don’t want to be called “pretty” or “cute,” that revealing, feminine clothing is drag for me. I wish I had a friend who would support me when I get apprehensive, even if I’m irrationally so, around frat boys or cops or anyone who looks like a gender defender--a friend who would understand that after all the research I did for my thesis, after all of the reading I’ve done personally, I have reason to be on guard. I wish I had a friend who would support me through this all, one who’d understand why I have to/want to do it. I wish I had a friend who understood why I think it’s funny that my friends are so feminine.