Yesterday I was graced with the opportunity to discuss The Cis Jungle on The Talk UC and in light of that I am going to switch gears a bit and change topics. Instead of talking about gender identity vs. sexual orientation I’ve been asked by Alexander the host of The Talk UC to explore what it means to fully transition. I think this is a perfect topic to follow up with from my previous posts The Body Image Issue parts 1 and 2. What does it mean to fully transition? What does a fully transitioned person look like?
You can find the answer lies in a sea of gray. For each trans person the end goal is different. It shouldn’t be assumed that all trans men prefer a masculine body or all trans women prefer a feminine body. Those who are intersex and non- binary are perfect examples of this, because they don’t fit into a gender binary system. how do you know what physical features they prefer? The simple answer is you don’t. For each individual that answer varies.
For those who choose to medically transition it takes time, money and resources which aren’t necessarily attainable for all people. For some physically transitioning is not at all a want or desire, simply identifying and living as the correct gender is enough for them. For a number of others hormone replacement therapy is one path and for an even smaller population
a number of surgeries including genital reassignment surgery is an option.
Transitioning for trans people is such a physical and visual change but because the changes are often so easily seen from the outside looking in there is so much mental and emotional growth that is missed in the process. We as trans people have explored and though about and questioned identity in many ways that our cis community has not. The gender binary system validates cis identities so why would they have the need to question or explore their identities. As I dig further into the idea of what it means to fully transition and the ideas of what I want and expect from my own body I began to realize that these views of who I am and what I want physically align with the binary ideas of what a woman is. But what is a woman really? What do all women have in common? The response to that is only one thing, they all self identify as women. Every single woman has a different body, varying shades of skin color, height and stature and dreams and aspirations.
Is it fair to say everyone transitions? Trans people are not the only ones who change. From the moment we enter this world we constantly mold and change ourselves to fit who we are or who society says we should be. The changes are sometimes small and subtle like ear piercings and shaving and dying your hair or larger things such as liposuction and nose jobs. We all transition every single person on this planet. I believe the true difference is the authenticity in which we transition. Are the changes you make to and in your life reflective of your authentic self and do they represent your own truth or are they reflective of who the world says you should be? I believe that’s a question anyone cis or trans needs to ask themselves, who is the authentic you and are you living your truth. Pondering this topic and searching my soul for the honest answer to what does it personally mean for me to fully transition I find myself questioning some of the things that I want and expect for my own body. Truthfully some parts of me want to conform to these societal expectations and societal definitions of womanhood. Other parts of me have always felt that there were things I wanted to change and alter about my body, even a decade ago when I thought I was a boy because the world told me I was and I identified as a young gay boy staying up past his bed time flipping through the pages of Vogue magazine and marking makeup looks and hair styles I wanted to try.Though even looking deeper into that I was influenced at a young age by the beauty and fashion industry. I always expected something very specific of my appearance and body. Those who know me know I strive for the best physical appearance. I loved fashion and I still do it has been my best friend. And I view myself as a glorified hanger, I work for fashion, I live for fashion. And in order to do my job well the way I view myself physically has to be absolute perfection I don’t necessarily have to be a size two or have lighter skin or have the perfect nose because that’s not what perfection is to me. It is difficult to define what perfection is to me but it lies somewhere between reality and the fantasy fashion creates. I want to live as me authentically and unapologetically. When the physical changes of my body and the true essence of my authentic self meet and collide I will have fully transitioned. I don’t know what that will look like or how that will feel but when I fully transition I will know, it will be intuitive.
It’s not that I want to be a woman, it’s that I just am, it’s who I have always been and will always be regardless of what my body does or doesn’t look like regardless of how many or how few body alterations I have. I am Christian Jackson a trans WOMAN of color.
Thanks Alex for the topic idea, you’ve challenged me to stop and reevaluate my ideas and thoughts on my own transition!
– Christian XOXO!