Charlie Brown and Transgender Perceptions … Huh?

Contributing blogger Cheryl Miller poignantly comments about transgender perceptions — of oneself, of others, by others — post transition.

Transgender Perceptions through a prism of perspectivesThe first part of the newspaper that I read every day is the comic section. I do it because I like to start the day with a smile before I get into all the negativity the paper has to offer. Usually I get a little chuckle, and every so often I pick up some words of wisdom.

Several years ago, I came across a Peanuts cartoon that I liked so much that I framed it and hung it on my wall. Lucy is sitting in her psychiatrist booth offering advice for five cents. Charlie Brown sits down and says “See that plane up there? It’s filled with people who are all going someplace…that’s what I’d like to do…Go off someplace and start a new life.” Lucy says “Forget it Charlie Brown, you’d still be the same person you are.” Charlie Brown says “but maybe when I got to this new place, the new people would like me better.” Lucy says “only until they got to know you Charlie Brown, then you’d be right back where you started.”

Like Charlie Brown, many of us feel that when we transition, people will like us better. I believe that the same people who didn’t like us in our old body will not like us in our new one. After all, it wasn’t how we looked that made them dislike us; it was who we were and how we acted!

While I was not uncomfortable as a male, and I was generally well-liked by the people I knew. I found that after I transitioned, I was more sensitive to other people. I didn’t expect people to be accommodating to me as I began my new life. But rather I felt it was my obligation to be accommodating to them. Not that I was apologetic, but I felt that it was up to me to attempt to understand their confusion and lack of understanding. I tried to put them at ease, and not make them walk on eggshells in my presence.

Over the years I have known several people who were transitioning and were always angry about some perceived slight or insult. They were always upset when they were not accepted as women. Unfortunately when you are tall, have broad shoulders, “man hands”, and a deep voice, putting on a dress and wearing make-up will not cause people to regard you as female. Should this really matter? I didn’t transition for them — I did it for me! It should be enough for ME to be happy with my new self. Everything and everyone else is a bonus!

I regard the world as my “mirror”! I look at others to see myself. If I don’t like what I see, then it might be time for me to make some changes in myself. I have found during the last ten years since my sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), people are always nice to me, just as I am always nice to them!

The moral of this story is “No matter where you go, there you are”!

— CM

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