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"the real me"

Many transgender people use the phrase “the real me” when they are presenting as a female and it almost always makes me pause and ask the question whether they think they are being inauthentic when they are presenting as male.

I don’t see my male persona as not being genuine but rather part and parcel of who I am. I see myself as embodying both male and female animas that contribute to making up my entire persona.

I can understand why so many feel this way but it can perhaps contribute to reinforcing the notion that their male identity is somehow worthless. I suppose if you are intending to fully transition then maybe that is why this idea can become a permanent fixture in our minds.

Some transgender people (and I count myself among them) take the two spirit approach. We can celebrate both sides of the same coin.

Do you necessarily need to choose a side? this is a decision which is directly linked to the strength and tenacity of your dysphoria. Certainly at the upper echelon of the Benjamin scale transition is not a choice but a necessity.

Test the waters and see how far is good enough for you. Measured steps are the best way to slowly and organically achieve a balance that need not necessarily involve destroying your male identity.


  1. Hi Joanna,
    Interesting thought.
    I've never really felt 'authentic'in either role. As Susie it's a very conscious acting out, but even as a male I'm very aware that I don't seem to think or feel the same way that other males do, and therefore my male persona is also to a large part a self-conscious projection of how I feel I am expected to act and behave, at work or in social situations. (Unless they all secretly feel the same as well, and we are all acting out an expected male stereotype. Which would be both funny and a little sad.)

  2. Susie I have often reflected on how much of our exterior behavior is governed by social convention and how much by genuine internal impetus. There is do much that overlaps between men and women and the differences not as large as we think

  3. I would also add that authenticity for you likely resides in between both which is why you don't feel perfectly at ease in either mode. I have found this to be true for me at times. So much of the machinations we go through are based on learned behavior that it is hard to know what is the genuine "us" at times.


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