A Step-by-Step Guide.
1. Declare that you like both boys and girls when you are a teenager.
2. Be afraid of the most masculine men and the femmiest females.
3. Meet some androgynes in college. Enjoy their ambiguity...sexually.
4. Consider you might not like your own gender for a brief night after reading My Gender Workbook by Kate Bornstein. Realize instead that you are simply uncomfortable being chubby. (No need to have surgery.)
5. Meet your first transman at a pride parade in college.
6. Wonder if he’ll still be on the lesbian softball league.
7. Watch as everyone else begins to ask similar questions, across the United States, from Michigan Womyn’s Fest to the Castro.
8. Keep dating women and men—sometimes simultaneously—and secretly wonder if just one at a time will ever suit you.
10. Meet an effeminate man through an online dating service. Feel unattracted to him at first—fey guys are the one form of androgynous that never turns you on.
11. See him again, anyway. And again. Make out after looking at Russian propaganda art books together. Sleep together but don’t have sex.
12. For a few weeks, watch as he is shy about his genitals.
13. Realize it makes sense when he tells you he is actually transgender—has always seen himself as a woman and wants to transition. Say “Yay! I get two-in-one!”
14. Don’t notice his grimace at this comment, only that he’s happy you are happy.
16. Take him in to get him officially diagnosed as transgender woman, with genderqueer expression. Be happy when she cries for the first time, a month into taking Estrogen.
17. Still feel lucky that you got “two-in-one.”
18. Start calling yourself queer instead of bisexual, which no longer feels like it fits. Notice trans and genderqueer people everywhere when once you didn’t see them. Wonder if they are coming out more or you are seeing more.
19. Watch as you guess their “real story”—what are their genitals, who did they “start out life as.” Be afraid to ask, knowing it’s impolite.
20. Get to know a few other transgender and genderqueer people personally. Realize genitals have almost no effect on external appearance. Get over your need to know and instead get to know them as people.
21. Begin to advocate for transgender rights and give workshops on transgender issues. The more stories you hear, the less you care about genitals.
22. Know for sure your bisexual is more than bi, because you no longer believe in sexual dichotomy or any duality that places two ends against each other, back to back, with no flexibility in any kind of spectrum at all.
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Assistant Ed: Elysha Anderson
Ed: Bryonie Wise