this really awesome bisexual geek dating a genderqueer person writes for the san francisco bay guardian, and came to a tranny femme workshop we cofacilitated and put together, and she's doing a queer youth issue or helping do it or something and she wanted to interview us and our cofacilitator. and she said if we wanted to write something it would also be welcome. and we figured, like, our trans story (tm) has changed too much and we don't even know how to explan things without figuring out how the multiple stuff works into it and we're not interested in just telling the old stuff now. so last night we forced ourselves to write this, or we forced some people to write it anyway :) till 2:30 am. *sigh* and it's a first draft. our goals are to be clear enough that it's understandable to people with a kind of understanding of trans stuff and a kind of understanding of multiple stuff. we don't have room to teach them all the terms and the processes and What It All Means.
    *goes down and adds a paragraph about why this is still a queer tranny thing*
    i think there may be problems with changes of tense. well i got it down to 840 words at least. that should be ok right? bah. tell me what you think....


    Frankly, I thought that I was done with coming out. First lesbian, then bisexual, then transgendered, now this.

    I am multiple. I do not have "multiple personality disorder" (or its new and inaccurate synonym "dissociative identity disorder") any more than I have gender identity disorder. I am not disordered, but I am genderqueer, I am using testosterone to transition, and I do share this body with many other people.

    Going to Mills College was the start of it all. With 800+ women there, nearly every way to be female was represented, but I felt jaggedly out of place more and more often. Genders flowed through me at random: I might be a radical feminist hippie grrl one day, then go from swishy queer boy to staid sober guy to drag queen the next. Sometimes I could trigger one gender or another through my choice of clothes. Sometimes it would switch spontaneously halfway through a lecture and I'd be itching to throw off my dress and get into a nice button-down shirt. Often it was much more subtle than any of that - a shift in perspective, a gentle change in body or heart.

    The decision to go on testosterone came repeatedly. I knew I wanted to be able to live as male and female and whatever else I found. For perhaps a year I kept having the revelation that I DID want to start testosterone - and then I would forget and anguish over it again. When I re-read my journal and saw how many times I had had this "revelation," I was livid about the amount of self-denial I had undergone.

    That makes sense to me now. It was not that *I* forgot my decision over and over, but that many people in my system were making it individually, without realizing that others had too - or even that others were there.

    It was my boyfriend Matt who helped me make this connection. He is multiple as well, and suggested I join a discussion list he was on. I initially sat there being ultra-polite because I was a "singleton" trespassing on multiple space. But the more I heard people talk about their experiences as multiples, the more I kept saying "me too!" and "I get that all the time!"

    Like... I'll think I remember the whole day I spent hanging out with a friend, but when he says "Remember when we were talking about employment agencies yesterday?" I have to reply "...Let's just pretend I do." Or like being in the middle of a conversation or a game and then - click! oh, NOW I'm paying attention - NOW I'm engaged and present - but I was a minute ago too - but now I can't remember that moment tangibly anymore. Or like realizing all those long arguments I have with myself aren't with myself after all.

    With the awareness that I am part of a multiple system came a great deal of new self-understanding. A friend of mine recently asked what the point was of identifying as multiple. At the time I (using "I" loosely) said a bunch of stuff about political identities. Later I figured out what I think is a bigger deal: any label is worth having if it helps you understand more of who you are.

    For example, now I can look back and see that the shifts in what "I" can remember happen when different people are living our outside life, and gender shifts are often from people of varying genders coming out. We're very co-conscious, which means (for us) that most people have access to most of the body's memories. The people who live outside the most are usually aware of each other's thoughts and experiences to the point where we sometimes have trouble knowing which of us is saying what. Working on this has generated much more individual self-awareness, as well as lots of doubt and fear as we struggle to trust our experiences.

    In many ways the coming-out experiences for multiples and trannies are similar. There are doctors who force us to live neat stereotypical lives; people who won't believe us unless we're the butch FTMs, the femme MTFs, or the more obviously-switching multiples; books insisting that the whole lot of us were abused and that's "how we got this way." The more I learn about multiple experience and issues, the more I find crossovers with the trans community.

    Coming out as multiple has also done interesting things to my transgender identity. I/we still identify as bisexual and transgendered, but now instead of "femme trannyboy," it's "trannyboy, bi femme boy, riot grrl, tomboy, genderqueer dyke," and many others all on the same collective path. We've only come out to one probably-not-multiple friend so far. She seized on the mention of Todd, our swishy bi boy, and announced (correctly) that she already knew him. Hopefully this will be what coming out means for us: sharing who we are more deeply with friends who can trust us enough to accept it all.