“I am normal too” — these are the words that I have repeated to myself far too many times. I repeat them when I look at the mirror as I am getting ready to go out. It’s not something that I do everyday, but it’s something that I do less frequently now. I want to banish this thought eventually because I am normal. Just like any person, I feel sad, happy, and angry too. So, why do I feel the need to constantly remind myself that I am normal?
My gender identity is a little bit complicated. There is always an awkward moment whenever I am required to disclose my gender, even in a simple survey. When I think about my gender identity, the best way for me to label myself is: A “transgender femme male and genderfluid”.
I go by both female and male pronouns, although I am inclined towards the latter. I always enjoy dressing up and I love all things flashy, glamorous, and flamboyant. I was around 18 years old when I first got into the world of “Japanese visual kei”. I was enamoured of these men that had big and colourful hair, eccentric makeup, and gorgeous knee-high boots. It seemed like gender was not an issue; it was all about creativity. That was when I began experimenting with makeup and crossdressing over the years. It was through drag and visual kei that I realised that gender is fluid, and I found myself resonating with the term “genderfluid”.
Nevertheless, I still felt that something was missing. I tried to experiment more with dressing up, create different characters, and explore my identity. Then, I realised that I am not only genderfluid, but I am also a transman. Having said that, I am not a typical transman as I am quite feminine — I want to put on a sparkly dress, wear dazzling jewelry, and carry cute handbags without seeing myself as a woman sometimes. My identity is no less valid as other people even though it may seem to be out of the norm within the community itself.
Dressing up brings the greatest joy into my life. I relish in the creative transformation, the excitement of making people guess what I will wear on every occasion, and the sense of empowerment that it imbues within myself regardless of my gender identity. Throughout this journey, I have come to understand that it is important not to force yourself to come out, but do not stay in the closet for too long either. After all, life’s a big production, darling. And you are the star.