Title: You're My Guy
Warning: Gender-sensitive issues
Summary: A transgender muses about love and relationships and why they can't just be a butch lesbian.
It clicks a little more each day, I think. I think she understands it just a little bit more every day. Or maybe she doesn't. I don't know. But I think it sinks in more at least. The reality of it.
At first, I get the feeling she thought it was just one of my little quirks. Actually, maybe one of our little quirks. After all, defying the patriarchy, blurring lines, being different, forgetting borders… we were into that stuff, weren't we? We were all about that.
But then, maybe we weren't. I can't speak for her. She can't speak for me either.
And maybe it's never been such a big adjustment. Maybe she knew it was coming before I told her. After all, she'd comment on it before. Like when my father was selling his house. The buyers always thought he had two sons. Two sons. Not a son and a daughter. But two sons. Because he'd show them my room, with my swimsuit calendar and sports posters, and the bottle of Old Spice on the dresser. And they'd think he had two sons.
And she knew that.
But I think it clicks with her a bit more each day. I think she notices things she didn't notice before I told her. How I smell, like Old Spice and Irish Springs Soap. How I talk, deep booming and macho, like my father. How I walk, the long strides. I think she tries to see it in me, or tries not to, I don't really know.
But I told her, you know? I told her. I said it softly. Sweetheart… I Think I'm A Man.
And she kind of blinked, wondering how seriously she should take this. What did it mean anyway? What was I saying? Could she have known? Could she understand?
She smiled slightly, and took my hand. I See, she murmurs, still staring off into space. Okay.
And that was all I had really expected, you know?
I Mean It, I'd said quietly. She nodded.
And so now we're left with the unanswered questions… She must have questions, I have questions, and I'm the one it happened to.
I phrase that wrong… it happened to? What happened to me? Wasn't I always this way? Wasn't I the little girl everyone thought was a boy on the playground with skinned knees and trading cards? Hell, I'm no stranger to transphobia, my childhood bullies called me a number of things… he/she, butch, and as we got older, the things I'd call myself with a wry smile. Queer genderfuck. Trans.
But then there were people who saw me as something I almost was. They just smiled at me, and thought I was this butch dyke, which, heck, I was.
I belonged with them. They didn't think of me, or what I was, as something negative, and I suppose in the beginning, this maybe is why I came clean with it to myself. Why I even told her.
Of course, they only knew who they thought I was. She only knew who I thought I was. I only knew who I thought I was. When I was in the eighth grade, I wrote on the blackboards with my friends before school. We would draw pictures on them, or write funny phrases. And one day I wrote their names. So and So is So and So. Jane is Jane. Kelly is Kelly. And then I wrote Michelle is… but then I stopped.
It wasn't until years later I could finish it. Michelle is Mick.
And I am.
I Just Don't Get It, the friend says, rolling her eyes. She's a soft butch, more androgynous than anything. How Could You Hate Yourself So Much That You Want To Be A Man? Do You Hate Being Gay?
I don't answer the question. I never answer in the end. I just pick up my pool cue and take my shot. Cue ball hits the solid yellow. Two ball, I think. It doesn't go in.
Leave Mick Alone About It, another friend snaps. He's differently gendered like I am. Differently Gendered… how politically correct we are. He's a queer genderfuck, just like I am. He just doesn't talk about it anymore. Back Off.
Sorry, the soft butch says. I Just Don't Get It At All. You Have The Perfect Relationship. Why Mess It up With Something Like This? I've Seen Too Many Dykes Fuck Up Good Relationships. What's Wrong with Just Being A Butch Dyke?
She Doesn't Feel Like A Butch Dyke, my other friend hisses in annoyance. She Feels Like A Man! But there's that word again, she. I could have said it better, it's just so much easier to let someone who understands speak for me. It hurts less.
And it's that simple really. It is. It's just about what I feel like.
See, it's easier for me not to talk. It'd get too frustrating. There's nothing I could ever say that would ever make them understand, you know. Nothing. There's just… they never will understand. And even if they tolerate it, and accept it, they won't understand.
Could they ever understand how it feels every morning to look into the mirror. Look over at yourself and see a body that's not supposed to be yours? To feel that pain. To squirm when a woman touches you the way you want her to-- but she can't, because you're in the wrong body.
No words I could say could make them understand that.
And then they play the one card that hurts the most-- they mention how I'm messing up my relationship with her. They talk about it, so casually. How she'd leave me if I became a man. She's a lesbian after all. She doesn't love men.
I Think If It Was Anyone Else, she whispers, putting her arms around my waist, I Think If It Was Anyone Else, I Couldn't Deal With It. I'd Leave Them, No Doubt. But With You… She trails off, kisses my cheek. I Fell In Love With You Before I Knew. I Fell In Love With You. And I Think I Can Get Past It. Because It's You I Love. It's Always Been You.
You Know… My voice catches in my throat. It always does that when I'm hurting. But then- she knows that. She knows everything about me. I Would Never Hold It Against You. I'd Understand. It'd Hurt… But I Would Understand. I'd Still Want You In My Life, Any Way I Could Have You.
You Don't Have To Worry, she says, and squeezes my hand. I Love You. I Could Never Leave You.
But she will. I know she will. And when she does, I won't blame her for it. It hasn't sunk in yet, what I was saying. She thinks she can deal with it, but it's more than that. It's like when talk about children and grandchildren. And I say, I want to name my son after me, and she gives me a faked dirty look. That's Patriarchal. Well, I want to be a patriarch.
She'll leave me. I know she will. So I ask myself over and over, why? Why can't I just be a butch dyke? Can't I just do it to keep her here? Don't I love her enough to do that? Can't I be that for her?
I can't. I'm not. And I never will be. All I can be for her is the best man I can aspire to be. And it will hurt. God, I know it will hurt. But not as much as lying about who I am. Not as much as it hurts to deny what I am. In the end. nothing can hurt that much.
Trust me. I know.
But sometimes, at night, when we're in bed, she slips her arm around me, You're My Guy, she murmurs into my ear.
Maybe it will all work out.