Tuesday 29 September 2015

“Do you wear women's clothes at home?”

A pertinent question indeed.

It was my eldest nephew's wedding last weekend, and famous relative was there as well. I got to tell him how glad I was that he'd spoken out on trans issues recently, and we talked about this a little, which was nice. I can't remember exactly what was said – I'd had quite a bit to drink by then – but I know it involved me stumbling for words when it came to how this relates to me personally.

Explaining this stuff is so difficult.

I think I said I was “part of the trans community”, but that leaves so much unsaid. What exactly is the trans community? And how am I part of it? What does “trans” even mean? There are as many answers as there are trans people. I once asked Roz Kaveney what "trans" was really "crossing" and she replied: “into sex/gender/sexuality liminality” – which I just love, not least because there's a whole world of meaning behind that too.

Anyway, when we reached the question, I responded with something like: “These are women's clothes”, indicating what I was wearing; “all my clothes are off the women's racks”. But later that didn't feel like a proper answer, because it didn't meet the thought behind the question.

So, now... “Do you wear women's clothes at home?”

Yes, I do. I wear women's clothes all the time. But not “as a woman”, if it's clear what I mean by that? If that's what was being asked?

At the wedding I was about as smart as I ever get: white(ish) posh jeans, brown sort-of-suede shirt, the usual furry coat. (Okay, trainers spoiled the look somewhat, but ankle boots would probably have been pushing it.) And all of these were women's clothes. The Oxford Blue faux leather coat even says “for Women” inside – just in case anyone should buy it "by mistake".

And I wear women's clothes because I prefer them – for all sorts of reasons. One of which is that they allow me to express something essential in me that needs to be expressed. Something for which I mostly use the words femme and genderqueer (which themselves take some explaining.)

But not female. My third ever post (4½ years ago), ‘Not woman, but femme’ still stands. More or less.

Actually, rather than male (or female), I'm feeling increasingly non-binary nowadays. But perhaps that's another post for another time.