I don’t want to say it started as a fetish, because I’ve come to believe that I’ve always been a woman on some level. It never really “started”, it just always “was”. But for a long time I saw it as fetish, and a neglected, barely – explored one at that. I had tried on pantyhose and it felt so good, and my hormonal teenage self interpreted that as sexual arousal. For decades it was a mostly secret taboo in which I could never fully indulge. There were dalliances- the time I was skinny enough to fit into a partner’s dress when she was at work, or trying on a different partner’s garter belt and stockings. It was erotic, it turned me on, it got me off, and it left me with shame and confusion and a mess to clean up. But I never thought of it as more than a fetish, a deviance. It was something I longed to explore but was ashamed to even admit to myself in the absence of raging desire for sexual release. The climax always ended the boldness and brought the shame.
Looking back now over the wreckage of 3 failed marriages I see it for what it was. I was always longing to express my femininity. I’m not sure yet if the sexualization was a way to indulge without admitting the truth (which I doubt, because I didn’t know there was such a thing as trans back then) or what. Maybe I’ll explore that in a separate post. But I see how having a huge part of myself locked away from even my own recognition meant I wasn’t really fully vested in those marriages. There were other issues, for sure, but I cannot escape my own culpability. How could I feel the love and support and acceptance one needs to feel to get through something as challenging as marriage if it wasn’t really “me” they knew? How could they, when I didn’t even know me?
Being loved for who I really, fully truly am and being encouraged to keep exploring and discovering has made my recognition of my trans-ness possible. So who am I? I’m a girl. I’m a girl with a penis. I am attracted to other girls, whether they have a penis or a vagina. I love a girl. She doesn’t care what’s between my legs. She loves me, for me. Just as I am.