The Trans March, and this time of year, also has me thinking some about the expanding definitions of ‘trans’. I spoke with someone the other day who is female born/bodied, has a masculine identity, and identifies as trans. I don’t know if this person plans to “transition” at some point in the future, take male hormones, or do any of the other stuff that I normally associate with being trans. None of those things seemed all the pressing to the person I was speaking with. There was an ease in the way they spoke of their gender that I found refreshing, and a little unnerving. After all, I am one of those people that did, and had to do, a lot to change my gender presentation to be more content and in alignment with my true self in the world. The process of coming out, for me, was painful, scary, and utimately exhiliarating. I did have to change my body in some ways, take hormones, get new ID stuff, etc. And, I see, that for some people, at least in the Bay Area, trans is becoming an identity for folks that may not need or even want to change their bodies in those ways, but want the option to express the complexity of their gender in their own way, and also have a space/community that they can locate themselves in and find acceptance and mirroring and celebration.
I know that some trans people have an issue with this, feeling that the identity of transgender will become diluted in some way, that our hard earned quest for rights and acceptance by the wider world will be taken over by some gender-queer mass of people who have a more fluid presentation, and different needs than the MTF/FTM people I know. I think I understand this point of view, and can empathize with the need to have spaces for the trans folk for whom the experience means a more complete change or shift in gender presentation. It’s important that everyone be represented. But, as to the rest, I say “bring it on!!”. The more the merrier. A good party really benefits from having lots of different people at it: more energy, more colors of the diversity rainbow. I, for one, am excited that more folks get to identify as trans and find the community a place of sustenance and support, and that the definition is expanding. Something in me exhales as I start to realize that I have more points of commonality with more people that I could ever have imagined before.