The “I’s” Have It!

Hello everyone, and welcome to my little corner of Rosebuds!

Who am I?
Who are you?

Well, if you are anything like me, I would hazard a bet that these simple questions are really not so simple to answer! In fact, I sometimes go into a small panic when I have to come up with an answer. It seems like when I have to answer; I am ______, there are so many possible responses that I often freeze!

As I am traveling on my TG journey I have started to think a lot about identity. After all, now that I have a “diagnosis” of Gender Identity Disorder (I’ll save my thoughts on this for another column), what other “identities do I have and hopefully they are in “order”!

So, I started making a list of what I will call categories of identity and possible ways one could identify within the categories. Perhaps you may be able to add to the following list.

  • Career/Job: what do I do for a living e.g. doctor, lawyer, truck driver, unemployed, etc.
  • Familial: Father, Mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc.
  • Racial: White, black, Asian, Indian, etc
  • Sexual orientation: Gay, straight, bi……
  • Gender orientation: M, F, TG, TS, CD……
  • Religion: Christian (many choices here), Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic…..
  • Political views: Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, Socialist, communist….

I am sure this list can go on and on. No wonder I struggle with how to answer the question “who am I.” My identity/s come from what looks like the classic Chinese restaurant menu – choose something from each of the columns. I wonder how many of you may also struggle with your identity/s.

Being transgender is only one part of me. Yes it is an important part, but when I look at the lists above I really do not believe that any part is unimportant. I am learning that I need to accept each these parts, each of these identities because as it turns out the “I” who defines me, is not a singular concept, but actually one of a collection of different parts, different aspects of me. They are all me, and “I” am the sum total of each of them. When “I” make a choice, a decision, it is usually best if each of the parts have had a say in it. In this way, they vote, and one can say, the “I”s have it.

When I first came to Tiffany club, a number of people asked me how I identify. I really did not understand the question. What they wanted to know was how I identified in the gender spectrum, was I CD, TG, TS, etc. My first response was that I did not know. For many of us, this is a typical first response as we do not really know how to deal with the feelings inside of us. For me, finding out that I am truly not alone, and by being with others “like me” at TCNE I have been able to explore where I sit in the gender spectrum and come to acceptance of my Identity/s. If you struggle with this too, perhaps TCNE can help you help yourself too.

I think I’ll just close this with a small personal ad:

SWTS looking for friends. Meet me at TCNE Tuesdays or Saturdays.

Grace Stevens, Vice Chari, TCNE

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