Masculinity has always been safe. Not physically or socially, but somewhere deep in myself. It’s disgustingly cliche to be a transsexual man obsessed with the colour blue, but blue was my first comfort. A love affair before the one testosterone initiated with me. Blue masculinity has been a spa weekend I never wanted to leave. Something uncomplicated away from the real world. I have so much to say about masculinity, the simplicity and comfort of it. How my relationship with it has healed more than I ever knew needed attention.
Thank you masculinity! I love myself when I’m with you!
Thank you for my hands, my first trace of paternal masculinity, the same knuckles and fingernails as my grandad. The same scarring from DIY projects as my father. I do metal working with chipped grey nail polish. My first Christmas on HRT my dad still bought me nail polish. They did not question my masculinity regardless. Femininity has always sat awkward with me, I never quite understood the truth others found in it. But masculinity was instant love.
I refuse to see this as the flaw I was made to feel it was. I refused to feel like a traitor to feminism, femininity, or feminine power. Maybe this narrative isn’t a dominant one, I know we understand masculinity as oppressive. I wish we can move past this, I wish you could see masculinity how I do, how a butch does. How the potential for non-normative masculinity gives us a new key to everything.
I’m surrounded by the strength of gentle men. When I became a son there were no questions, just the expectation that I would help to put up the gazebo before family dinner just as I had done before.
To my father, my masculinity is a question that doesn’t need an answer. I think he got it more than I did initially. Maybe this is what I have to learn from the men in my life, as I become a man. As a daughter he taught me to throw a punch and to care deeply for those around me, as he showed me all the solutions to any broken pieces of our house. After I came out I found Chaz Bono’s biography on his nightstand. He accepts me with the same ease with which he loves David Bowie. His masculinity isn’t afraid, he expands to fit my frankenstein masculinity. My masculinity will not be afraid.
As a lesbian my grandad never acknowledged what my friend really was to me, but after we broke up I called him and we talked at length about it. He doesn’t understand at all who I am, but he always calls me Jude and asks me how I am when we talk on the phone. I’m cloaked in his hand-me-downs—I don’t think he realises the gifts that he’s given me. Even as a young girl, he bought me 3XL mens t-shirts I wore religiously. I think he understood more about me than he let on.
I live with a man who knew what I was before me. His queer masculinity led me forward. Without him I wouldn’t have the courage to shapeshift. He came with me to my first testosterone appointment, kicking my feet when I was nervous. At dinner each night he declares “boys table!”, and we eat together.
I’m made from the men that surround me, their masculinity shaping the body I create for myself. I hope now as I am older, openly masculine and visibly transsexual, I can give this gift to someone else. I hope my masculinity can help give form to another person’s desires.
I hope we can build a new masculine, as we could build a dinner table to share food at.
You’ve given me everything.
Thank you! I love you!
P.S: This letter was written over a year ago, before I began to visibly embody my masculinity. I am much more at peace with my femininity now. I understand both facets of myself, but masculinity will always be my first love and most essential building block. I will always be in love with and in awe of what masculinity has given me.