As “The Ag’ed T” tagline suggests, our title is a play on the memorable “Ag’ed P,” or “Ag’ed Parent,” of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Not yet quite as amusingly senile as Mr. Wemmick’s father, at sixty-eight and counting I find myself driven to share insights rather clumsily acquired through decades of dealing with a somewhat unique gender configuration.
The intent, however, of this initial post is to provide some personal background and history, to establish, it is hoped, some level of credibility as a commentator on “T” matters, and to find connection with the vast transgendered community. The use of the simple “T” in “The Ag’ed T” derives from a conviction that it is impossible to create a catalog of labels sufficiently large to provide descriptions for the uncountable variations of T’ness. It would seem that once some presence of gender dysphoria is established, the myriad labels floating about – cross-dresser, transvestite, transsexual, for example – are simply shades of a single color. We hope here to avoid and discourage the common and often unpleasant internecine conflicts that can so easily be encountered across the internet. In the words of the great and, happily, not late Red Green, “We’re all in this together.”
Togetherness, though, was hardly the nature of living transgendered during the 1950’s. Many trans people of that era have recounted the stunning excitement upon discovering, generally by accident, perhaps by reading of Christine Jorgensen, that another person like themself existed. Certainly there were few models and fewer tools to aid navigation. One observes the resources and community so readily accessed today with great joy and no small amount of envy. On Flickr, You Tube, and the several trans-community websites, one encounters young people able to gain some level of appreciation of the possibilities for gender expression, to embrace and celebrate the choices possible and the support available.
Admittedly, though, the landscape is not without pitfalls. As there are many finding fulfillment in whatever manner they express and live gender, there are others who chronicle rejection, hostility, and regret for choices made.
The matter of choice is exactly what “The Ag’ed T” seeks to explore. As my profile identifies, suppression of female expression has been an imperative throughout my life, a necessity learned at an early age from an ill-conceived and strongly condemned misstep. Aware ever since of the need to hide this gender desire and fortified by a rather active heterosexual libido, I conducted myself with a somewhat exaggerated maleness: a career in the army infantry complete with combat credentials, a spouse, and children.
Looking back from this later in life perspective, I ponder the “what if’s” and attempt to measure the extent of what has been lost, balancing that against what has been gained. It is my hope, by presenting the experience of one possible pathway, to promote reflection and discussion useful to both those living with decisions made and those just confronting the need to make them.