Notes on Gender Role Transition
By Anne Vitale Ph.D.

I Enjoy Being A Girl

By: Grace Bock


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August 3, 2000

Although I had thought for many years about beginning my transition from living as male to living as female, I never considered what it would really be like once I got there. Sure, I thought about the fear of being read, but I never paid much attention to how people would treat me as a feminine being. Now that I have taken my place within society as the gender that I feel is rightfully mine and have comfortably existed within this role for approximately one year, I feel there are a few things that must be said. First, men aren't pigs, and chivalry is not dead; it is alive and well! Secondly, I enjoy being a girl!


Before I delve into these two seemingly shallow statements, let me first qualify something about myself that I feel is of great importance. I have looked long and hard at identifying my strengths and overcoming my weaknesses. I have set goals for myself and constantly work to improve my personal level of performance. I am someone that is "self actualized." I am always evaluating, challenging, and striving to better myself, my relationships, and my understanding of the world. Although I made the two statements above in a lighthearted tone, I am quite serious.


There is an old adage that women have used the world over to help explain many of the mysterious aspects of male behavior. It is used repeatedly in so many contexts that I feel as though this single phrase has damned many an undeserving soul. I will say it once only that you know what I am talking about, hoping to never be misquoted in its use! "Men are pigs." Perhaps public, and even private, displays of burping, crotch adjusting, and flatulence are unappealing sights, yet consider that these acts are not intended, in most instances, to disgust or infuriate women. These simple acts of manliness have a long history and are socially and biologically produced. They are not pigs; they are just doing what comes naturally. So where does the chivalry come in?


I recently went through the process of buying a piece of real estate. My broker was a wonderful man who treated me like a lady. What does that mean? He was polite, accommodating, respectful, and complimentary as well. But you question whether he shouldn't do this for all of his clients regardless of their gender? That is true. And in the case of this one man, I am sure he does just that. Yet when dealing with a woman, he is more apt to go a little further to make her feel as though she is special.


In the last year I have walked through as many doors held open by smiling men as I have held open in 20 more. Never once have I said, "please hold the door" or "this lady would like for one of you men to open the door for me." In fact, I can remember walking down several flights of stairs recently to find myself being greeted by a smiling gentleman and the door held wide open. I guess it's good that most heterosexuals don't have naturally developed senses of gaydar. If so, these brief moments of gallant behavior wouldn't be wasted on a lesbian transsexual.


There is so much talk about male privilege. Yeah, it's true; men may make more than women do, but they pay the price. With the average life span of a woman being seven years longer than a man, I would think that privilege is fairly well equalized. Women handle stress better too. Yes, we talk a great deal more than men, but isn't that the key?


So here I am, lighting the candle on a cake that celebrates my first year as a member of the "fairer" or "weaker" sex. Would some one please tell me then why it is that I feel as powerful and in control as I do? Remember now, I am self-actualized, hence aware that this feeling is not an illusion! I never knew that living as a woman could be so liberating and as immensely enjoyable as it turns out to be. Of course I am not recommending it for everyone, after all, it does take longer to prepare myself each morning. I suppose that I should thank all of the men I have interacted with over the last year who have also contributed greatly to my near euphoric state. I accept your acting on the less desirable manly traits at times. For in comparison, your gallantry and respect shines so brightly!


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