Sensuous in Satin

Reflections on Transgender life

Too exhausting being a woman?

Posted by Adrian • Saturday, October 18. 2014 • Category: Being transgender
A TRANSGENDER woman encouraged to have a £10,000 ($19,000) sex change by Katie Price wants to become a man again — because it’s “exhausting” being a woman.

Chelsea Attonley, who was born a boy called Matthew, said she is tired of putting on make-up and wearing heels following gender reassignment surgery seven years ago.

“It is exhausting putting on make-up and wearing heels all the time. Even then I don’t feel I look like a proper woman,” Attonley, 30, said, according to The Mirror in the UK.

I'm not sure I agree that transitioning (in the sense of expressing your true gender and not the gender you were assigned at birth) is difficult. Changing your gender expression has risks, but being honest is, I suspect, easier than living a lie. It was for me.

What I think is difficult is understanding your gender identity. Understanding it with sufficient confidence that you can take the correct steps to transition to achieve a true gender expression. All too often I think the haste to go somewhere precludes a meaningful consideration about where.

The temptation is ever present to assume that if man feels wrong then woman must be right. We look at other's transition stories and assume that they must be correct for us. We form support groups that tend to re-enforce our choices rather than question them. And the result? People like Chelsea select a borrowed transition that isn't theirs. Often this results in a journey to be a woman where the concept of what it means to be a woman is brushed aside as an inconvenient (and I suspect unanswerable) detail. The focus is on a sex change, but surgery can't automatically make anyone a woman.

If you have convinced yourself that you need to be a woman then you can slip easily through the medical hurdles and check points on the route. I recall once being advised before a job interview to adopt a fictitious persona (Robinson Crusoe I think) to score better at the personality test. The more you believe you should be a woman then the harder it is for a psychologist to detect if you are telling the truth, and also the harder it is for you to confront your own gender reality.

I don't view transitioning as a logical extension of crossdressing. Transitioning aligns your gender expression with your gender identity, resulting in an expression that has consistency; this is not the same experience as cross-dressing full time. Crossdressing to many means high heels, makeup, fancy underwear and skirts. Others have pointed out the connection between this and being a woman is tenuous at best.

I'm guessing that Chelsea succumbed to a convenient destination - crossdressing full time (or perhaps being a drag queen full time in this case?). Having reached the destination she discovers that crossdressing full time is hard work, and doesn't actually express her gender identity. So sadly she assumes the only options are binary and she must go back to where she came from.

Chelsea should be grateful that she is still alive, as so many others take their life when they find that their chosen destination is inconvenient, impossible or just wrong. But her chances for the future, if she doesn't pause to find her true gender identity, seem bleak.

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