Seeing Hearts

“I don’t think think that there is such a thing as a crossdresser,” ShamanGal said to me.

She had just spent the evening at Hamburger Mary’s playing big sister to a transwoman from out of town, one who lives as a married man, waiting for his 15 and 13 year old kids to go to college before thinking of emerging as transgender.

It was clear to SG that this person had a very feminine heart and that trying to be the man just wasn’t working for them, as hard as they tried.

Trans expression is always a sign of trans meaning, as I say.   Trans on the outside, trans on the inside.

“That’s something I had trouble accepting,” says TBB.   “I really wanted trans to be a hobby, just something I did for fun.   It wasn’t about who I was inside.   Then I started hearing the old Jim Bridges joke ‘What’s the difference between a straight crossdresser and a gay crossdresser?  Three drinks!‘ and “What’s the difference between a transvestite and a transsexual?   Three years!‘ and I started to get the point.   It was probably when I emerged as full time, had my own surgery and ran a recovery house for other transsexuals that I really understood the depth of my own trans nature.”

There are so many reasons to resist, deny and compartmentalize transgender desire, working to write it off as just something that we can keep in a box while we stay normative in the world.

We keep striving to get the gifts we were promised if we just play small, the rewards for playing along, the promised happiness that is supposed to come with striving to be just like everyone else.   We follow the rules at a high cost, waiting for the perfect joy, but somehow it just doesn’t come.

Deciding to give up on that determined and dogged self-denial is a very hard thing.

We have put so much energy into squeezing the trans out of our hearts that to declare that effort misguided and destructive means we have to face our own choices as being foolish and damaging.

Beyond that, the beliefs we have used to stay small, the notion that trying to live as a woman with a transgender history in the world would destroy us, leaving is broken and cast off as a pervert without self-control, not worthy of human dignity and respect still exist in our head.   We have well internalized the shame of giving into our sick transgender hearts, of indulging our Eros, so we cannot imagine that our lives will ever be good, let alone better, if we surrender to the nature our creator put inside of us.

When SG talked to that self-identified heterosexual crossdresser at the club last night, though, she saw the woman trapped inside.  SG wanted to share the lessons she has learned, wanted to keep the gift by giving it away.

Transvestism is about changing your clothes, transsexualism is about changing your body, but transgender is about changing your mind, unlocking the choices that honour, reveal and even celebrate your heart.    It is about saying yes to who you know yourself to be, letting go of your assigned cultural role to embrace one that better fits your nature.

That’s what SG told this gal.  She didn’t need to resist and to compartmentalize, didn’t need to say “no” to her heart, hoping that with just more hard work her hope for becoming a normative guy in a good marriage will come true.

No, trans is not just about clothes or hormones, as so many want to believe

Instead, trans emergence is about saying “Yes” to your heart, just the way that SG is learning to do after so many decades of denial and shame.

Yes, there is beauty and grace beyond denial, resistance and compartmentalization.

Yes, the transgender process of changing your mind can help you build a new life that fits much better, a new life that empowers you in ways that you cannot yet imagine.

Yes, if I can see your feminine heart, other people will be able to see and feel it, too.

SG met a crossdresser and saw a tender, trapped trans heart.   Like any shaman, SG saw through the illusory walls to the energy beneath and wanted to see it flow, see it grow, see it be released and blossom.

The gal lapped up the message SG was sending, trying to find ways to get more of it.   Lots of text messages, plans for another trip, whatever.

We all need other people to see our heart, to say yes, being ourselves can lead to success and happiness in the world.   A therapist is just someone who sees what we do not yet see in ourselves, someone who gives us courage to emerge more, revealing our powerful, vulnerable, open heart.

Crossdressers do exist.  They are transpeople with a feminine heart that they keep very well compartmentalized in order to respect and honour their role in the family, so they can stay committed father and husband to people who they love.   They are usually not ready to claim their own heart, usually need to feel good and virtuous about how they put their nature on hold to do the “right thing” for their family.

But can others see their heart even if they have to keep it in the shadows?   Yes.   We may respect their principled choice to serve family over self, but we also know that the more they engage and own their own feelings, the more open, present and valuable they can be for those that they love.

Trans emergence is about saying “Yes” to your heart, even after so many decades of denial and shame.

Yes, there is beauty and grace beyond denial, resistance and compartmentalization.

Yes, the transgender process of changing your mind can help you build a new life that fits much better, a new life that empowers you in ways that you cannot yet imagine.

Yes, if  anyone can see your feminine heart, other people are able to see and feel it, too.

So learn to trust it rather than just trying to wall it off, to hide it away.

Because whatever role we try to play in the world, trans hearts, well, they are very, very real.   And very, very beautiful, too.

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