I have been covering for staff holiday absence in my employed job, which has meant being out at work for all of the last two weeks, apart from going away for two days for a wedding. It was tiring but also, and more importantly, I felt obliged to spend all that time in public presenting as male because I am known by my male traits in those circles.
Although I have had to do this over a lifetime and wear the mask that keeps me safe from society’s disapproval – or my fear of it – it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to do this. I should be used to presenting as a man by now after so many decades. And indeed I am, but I don’t feel satisfied about having to do it. It’s an obligation, like doing the washing up or paying tax.
I’ve spent much of the last 15 months presenting myself to the world as a woman. By doing so I’ve learnt that I feel far happier, more relaxed and more humane as a woman, as I suspected I would. It’s inadvisable to rip off the male mask and just throw it away because the opposition and obstacles to my living as full-time female are many and would best be tackled one by one. Nevertheless, I know that the mask will gradually fade away, as though it were made of papier maché and was melting away in soft showers of femininity.