Awakening to Queer Identity

Hello my beloved perverts!

This week’s mail is going to be different than previous formats. It is 95% story with a couple of links at the end, if you are inclined to see where the inspiration for this essay came from. I believe that there are other women and men out there that may have gone through some of the same processes I did when they realized that heterosexual no longer applied to them. I might, at some point, flesh out my awakening to a deeper level, a more in depth look at my identity crisis. For today though, I offer this.

Story Time

When I turned 40, I celebrated my birthday by staying in bed until 3:00pm having sex with not only my husband, but also my lover (male). This felt like a huge step in my personal growth, and it was in its own way. I started owning my sexuality, and that it was okay to have sex with more than one person as long as consent is given, and that – generally – it was okay to love sex and be sexy and FEEL sexy.

On my 45th birthday, I spent the day higher than a damn kite, hurting emotionally, unhappy, having recently ended a long-term relationship. Furthermore I was experimenting with my “submissive” side, and chose someone as a Dominant (male), whom was attending the party as well. Turns out this Dominant later transitioned to female, and has been living as such for several years now – after first being my submissive as both male, and later female (that ‘submissive’ thing didn’t work out so well for me!).

On my 47th birthday, my lover was a female, a butch. I found myself in an identity crisis, questioning who I am, my core identity, my sexuality, whether or not the life I have lived so far had been a lie. Wondering how I am going to move forward, given that I have a husband, and the fact that I had no interest in having sex with him. That I found myself insanely attracted to a female body, and that I had the best damn sex ever. Was I a late-blooming lesbian? How would that impact the rest of my life, given the very important man in my life?

I learned a lot about not only myself in 2017 (that may be a blog on its own one day); however, the realization of heterosexual privilege in our society was a big one. I clearly remember the internal shock I felt the first time my female-bodied partner told me that we could not hold hands in public, and if someone should attack us, I was to run and leave them behind to do the fighting. Do what?!? I clearly remember thinking about the ridiculousness of that statement – why on earth should me holding hands with the person I love bring forth violence?

Knowing that violence against the gay & lesbian population exists intellectually, and suddenly being a potential target myself, shook me to the core. Literally. I suddenly realized what it was like to be on that other side, to have to constantly mind yourself so as to not stand out for fear of violence for no other reason than whom I was with. Gay and lesbian couples could/can not show the same level – or any level – of physical affection towards each other as heterosexual couples. What a mind-blower to actually internalize that, and realize the ridiculousness of it.

I took a year off (2018) to put myself back together and recoup from the relationship with the aforementioned butch. I had to figure out what or who I was attracted to, what that would looked like, what it was about my previous female-bodied partner that worked for me, to figure out what my relationship and/or sexual future would look like. The only thing I was absolutely certain off was that I did not want a man with an attached penis for intimacy purposes. However, I very much enjoy masculine energy – I just preferred not to have a cisgender male body carrying it. Now what?

I am a woman with an undeniably female body shape and appearance, but with primarily masculine energy. In many ways, I am as butch as they come. I look at women the way I imagine a lot of men look at them; with appreciation for their shape, the beauty each of them brings to the table in their own way, their availability as a potential partner. I think of dating them, picking them up for a nice dinner, opening doors, helping them into and out of the car, holding their chair while they are seated, treating them with respect and heat at the same time. Ya’ know – the old-fashioned gentlemanly manners. Not only do I have a strong urge to display them, I also have enough female energy in me to appreciate being on the receiving end of such.

So basically we are back to me looking for a butch with a very masculine vibe? That is not going to work with my internal, very dominant, butch. A submissive masculine butch? That will not give me the turn-on I want; I do not find submission inherently sexy. A dominant woman that can control my somewhat submissive feminine side when she needs it? Yeah … not going to work the 90% of the time I am my butchy self. A submissive woman then? Well, that would work except that in that case, I would not get my sexual needs met – again.

So we are back to square one. It is early 2019, and I am finding myself going back out there, trying to figure out who I am attracted to, feeling ready to try again. I attended SPLF in February that year as primarily female (took no jeans or boots, only what I considered to be feminine clothing), figuring that is how I would attract the type of woman that appeared to do it for me. Needless to say, being feminine for 4 days was an internal and external disaster, confused my butch friends in addition to myself, and left me realizing that I just could not do feminine other than as role play on occasion.

In March 2019 I met my current partner and Boy, Lee Harrington, a transman of many years. Physically he consistently gets read as male without a second glance. Emotionally, he is leaning towards the feminine on a masculine/feminine spectrum, without losing his masculine vibe. Having been socialized as a female while younger gives him unique perspective from which to view the world – both as female and male. He has insights into emotional workings that few cisgender men have, and is therefore able to counsel other human beings, many of them on the queer spectrum, from a very unique place. Yet when wanted, needed, or required, his masculinity steps up and provides for those needs as well. He is the most wonderful mix of both, and I fell for that energy like a damn rock.

This year I turned 50, have been in a serious relationship with Lee for 18 months, and no longer identify as either straight or lesbian; since 2018 I identify as queer. My marriage is healthy and has endured through my identity crisis and the changes that came with it. Many hard conversations where had, many emotional fears worked through, and quite a few tears shed. But my mate for life, my husband, and I are on the other side, and are slowly finding intimacy with each other again. That too may be a story to be told another time.

Just like I had several wake-up calls being with a female-bodied partner, being with Lee and immersing more and more into the queer (and more precisely trans issues) culture has brought realizations and thought processes that the majority of heterosexual people simply don’t think about, because it does not affect them. In most cases, it is sheer ignorance and lack of knowledge about the subject matter that causes the problems.

I spent (and still spend) a lot of time challenging my own notions and thoughts around gender, sexuality, physical appearance vs. gender, the binary spectrum, etc. Having been a heterosexual cisgender woman the vast majority of my life, I have been afforded a certain blindness and ignorance in regards to those of us that are not heterosexual cisgender people. Hell, until not too long ago I was not even sure what I understood “queer” to mean!

I met Lee when he came to Austin to teach a gender class, and talk about trans people’s experiences. I went to attend the class because my leanings appeared to be towards my own gender somehow, and thought it would behoove me to educate myself. I have had my eyes opened to more issues affecting transpeople and general queerness (used here as umbrella term for anything NOT heterosexual cisgender) since March of 2019 than I thought possible, and ‘not seeing’ had nothing to do with willful ignorance and deliberate refusal to educate myself – it has everything to do with those issues not touching my life in any way.

Now, they do – my partner is a transman, identifying as queer, fully immersed in a world that exists outside the one I ‘grew’ up in. What a change the last 4 years of my life have brought to my awareness and understanding of human beings in all their complexities.

Late last year, I bought and read a book called “Queering Families”, which is an academia read written by Carla Pfeffer, where she surveys and speaks with couples consisting of a transman and a cisgender woman, and their specific challenges within their partnership. This book further opened my eyes to complexities that I never, ever lost sleep over, and while I still don’t (loose sleep, that is), I do have an awareness and understanding of some of those issues and complex emotional and physical challenges that come with being with a transman, and being their cisgender female partner. More information on this book can be found here:

Anyway …. The reason this whole post came about is because I read a few articles this morning related to life as a transperson, but the one that I found very thought-provoking was about accepting and embracing women with penises, written by a transwoman. Here is the link: “What Do We Do About Women With A Penis”?

Once again I had to face the fact that I still have a lot to learn, and more importantly, unlearn. “The world moves on” Roland often states in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and so it does. It will continue to move forward, and we have the choice to move with it, learn with it, accept new realities – or get left behind as inconsequential “old folk” that did not have it in them to ‘move on’.

Feel free to drop me a note with your thoughts on this, or forward to someone that might need to read this. As always, you can find my previous weekly mails around various topics on my website, in the blog section.

Go ye forth and be kinky! But safely!

Ms. Cenna

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