Are You a Girl? A Child’s Question: Reflections on the Journey to Living as Female

kate bornsteinDeja Nicole Greenlaw

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deja nicole greenlaw

Deja Nicole Greenlaw

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist—

After a coffee date with my girlfriends on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I came home to my apartment and found the two young girls who live downstairs from me outside of our building playing with their friend. One of the young girls just started school, so she is probably five or six. Her little sister is probably three, and their friend was also about five or six. Their parents are very nice people and the rapport between us has always been good, even though we are of different cultures. They are a family from India and they have an arranged marriage. Regardless, they have always been nice to me and I to them.

As I walked to my apartment door, I passed by the young girls as they were playing. I remarked what a beautiful day it was and how it’s so much fun to play in the sun. The girls just looked at me and smiled. As I was unlocking my front door to enter my apartment, one of the young girls, the friend, asked me “Are you a girl?” I smiled at her and said in a pleasant voice , “Yes.”

It’s interesting to hear what children ask. Kids are often curious and have no fear of asking questions. They just want to learn. The question she asked took me by surprise and made me think. I considered it a small victory that she didn’t ask if I was a boy, or if I was a boy or a girl, or even if I was a girl or a boy. She just asked me if I was a girl. [pullquote]The question she asked took me by surprise and made me think. I considered it a small victory that she didn’t ask if I was a boy, or if I was a boy or a girl, or even if I was a girl or a boy. She just asked me if I was a girl.   [/pullquote]

I won’t lie to you. It’s not easy being transgender, especially those of us trans women who came out later in life. We have had decades of testosterone production working against us and the estrogen therapy has been under 10 years, so the testosterone effect is much higher than the estrogen effect. Yes, we still retain some of our old male physical characteristics. We also retain some of our old male social characteristics. All of our life experiences have mostly been from the male perspective, so it’s hard to get to and learn the female perspective. It’s a very challenging learning curve, if you will.

I think in some ways I have been challenged even more than most trans women. After all, I am 6 foot 3 inches. I weigh in the upper 200 pound range, am hair challenged, was given a low voice, and my testosterone has been working unobstructed for 56 years. I have physically and socially been given the male gender in life, which was so deeply embedded for over five decades into my being, but it is all quite overshadowed by the fact that I am so overjoyed at finally being able to express as female every day of my life.

Every day I wake up and I am so glad to finally be me. I am Deja! I am female! I remember how I felt in the past before I had the nerve to be me.  I was always pining to live my life as female. It was always on mind. Always. [pullquote]I have physically and socially been given the male gender in life, which was so deeply embedded for over five decades into my being, but it is all quite overshadowed by the fact that I am so overjoyed at finally being able to express as female every day of my life. … Every day I wake up and I am so glad to finally be me. I am Deja! I am female![/pullquote]

Yes, I did have a good life as a male and yes, I totally enjoyed being a husband and a father, but I always knew that there was something else that was missing in my life. I knew exactly what it was. I felt an overwhelming need to be and to express as female. Back then I didn’t know that it was even possible to do so. I just kept my feelings buried way deep down in my soul. Finally, I had the nerve to let my feelings out. Now, I am living as female and have been a female full time for over six and a half years. Even if some folks today think I am still somehow male, I don’t care. I know who I am.

After I told her the little girl who asked if I was a girl “Yes,” she simply went on playing with her friends.

*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a local transwoman who has three grown children and works at 3M. She can be contacted at dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net

 

 

1 Comment on "Are You a Girl? A Child’s Question: Reflections on the Journey to Living as Female"

  1. Chloe Alexa Landry | May 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm |

    Beautiful as I match you in many ways. From the early 1940’s and didn’t learn this freedom until over two years ago.
    WRITE ON LADY DEJA

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