I was recently accused of mansplaining.
I think I know what mansplaining is and I don’t believe I was (of course I’d say that so you can judge for yourself on my Twitter feed).
A tweet arrived @ me taking issue with something I’d said earlier in the evening (about Brexit) and I thought I was explaining why I’d said what I’d said. Apparently not.
For me, the weirdest thing was to be accused in the first place because it had never happened before. That’s not because I’ve been an exemplary guy for the 40 years I’ve been on this planet, I can be a dick like everybody else, although I try to make it at my own expense.
No, it was weird because the first 36 of those 40 years were spent living as a woman. Maybe I’ve been mansplaining all along and just didn’t know it because nobody saw me as a man so didn’t accuse me of it.
I finally saw my place as it is now, on the outside.
I grew up in a house with mostly women. I went to an all girl school. I identified as a lesbian because it seemed the best fit, what with me fancying women and having all these body bits that apparently made me one too.
I’ve spent the overwhelming part of my life surrounded by, mostly, just women.
Now I am one of the enemy for many who, before, would have welcomed me with open arms into their inner circle.
I’m ok with that. I think.
It makes me sad to know that in order to be true to myself and find some sort of peace so that I could have a life, I had to become someone women don’t trust initially.
Or at all.
But I know why they don’t.
Trans guys probably know more than any other guys. We’ve listened to our friends and sisters and girlfriends talk about rape and abuse. We’ve experienced it ourselves.
We know how risky it can be to just exist as a woman. Not ‘know‘ as in ‘heard some stories‘, we’ve actually lived it. It didn’t matter how we felt on the inside, before coming out as trans, the world treated us like women.
I know why they need to protect themselves.
But I also know that I’m still me.
The feminist I spent most of my life being didn’t wither and die when I started taking testosterone. My instincts to challenge sexism and patriarchy when I see them wasn’t removed with my breasts.
No-one tells you about this when you transition, although part of you knows and simply checks it off as another thing on a long list of ‘things I can never do or be because I’m trans’.
It was a trade I made willingly and seek no sympathy for because the rewards of finally being me are more than I could ever have imagined.
From this other side I see the divide so much clearer than I ever did, and I believe I have things to say from a perspective that I think could add to the ‘debate‘.
The only problem is, I no longer feel it’s my place to say anything, that my comments, as a man, are not helpful or welcome at best and an invasion a worst.
So what do I do? Explain it to me. Please.