"Many transsexuals have, in a sense, two identities, male and female, but this should not be confused with those cases of dual or multiple personality described in the psychiatric literature. Rather, the two identities are a practical, if strange, way of dealing with a real problem: the male identity which the individual is often obliged to assume in his contacts with others, and the female identity which he believes to be his true one, and which he assumes in private or when dressed as a woman.
In Ralph's case, the problem was formulated by him as Ralph = male = body; Clara = female = mind. Between these two, a dialogue would often be conducted, again as is not uncommon among transsexuals. Today, Clara remarks that "Ralph is now (since the operation) dead. Poor Ralph, he tried so hard to make a go of it." Ralph had "tried to be a man, but was always a woman." Clara, in those days, "was a woman, but was deformed by being trapped in the body of a man." Whenever Ralph would put on women's clothing, Clara would "take over completely" and Ralph would "cease to exist." Yet, Clara was always aware of Ralph's existence and dreaded the moment when she would have to yield to Ralph again - that is, have to go back to pretending to be a man and perform a man's functions in the world. Ralph always lived only for the moment when Clara could again take over and the painful pretense could end, at least for a time. When the transsexual is operated upon, this dichotomy and dialogue is finally ended, so that it may be said that an integration has been achieved."
I can identify with this passage quite well as in a sense there appears to be an almost schizophrenic situation at play here. There are'nt two people residing in the same body but yet two distinct personalities need to exist; one that needs to exist and work in the world and the other the true person wanting to be free.
As someone who is able to still go back to a male persona but relishes the time I can spend as a female, this passage does touch me in a very personal way and I can relate to it.
But what I have been finding is that as I have incorporated Joanna into my life in a more serene way, it has not taken away my desire to present as a male. In other words, I can put Joanna's things away and not feel the strong pangs of regret by going back into male mode.
In Ralph's (now Clara) case this was not a workable option but she still managed to make a go of it for 57 years presenting as a male which is quite remarkable.