She wondered why her hair began to thin when she hit her early thirties. First over the crown and then over the rest of her scalp. A shiny pate that showed through the big hair no matter how the hairdresser swept it or curled it or sprayed it.
They never told her why her female parts never worked. Why she had to take hormones from the time she was a teenager.
She had to adopt children.
Her body wanted to grow certain ways, be certain things…. muscular, flat… Make-up did not help, not really. Neither did over compensating with clothes and hats and flamboyant wigs. She dieted and starved, trying to achieve that ideal female form but it always seemed just beyond her reach.
She always wondered why she did not feel comfortable in her own skin. Why did she look more like her uncle than her mother? There was a lie lurking just below the surface, she could feel it.
Here she is now in her sunset years, decades later, still wondering.
I can tell her the answer that they never did. But does she really want to know that the life she has lived maybe not be real as she imagined it? What would that mean to her husband? To her kids? That she is not who she thinks she is? That he is a she only thanks to a well intentioned surgeon’s knife in infancy *, thanks to parents and a society who did not know what to do with ambiguity?
Ambiguity is not simply swept away or cut away.
What would the truth mean, now, when it comes to public bathrooms?
Ignorance and fear. They also haunt.
Who gets to decide what is male and what is female? How many chin whiskers is too much? How tall or stocky can you be to still be considered a woman when people look at you? How big can your breasts be before you are required to use the ladies’ bathroom instead of the men’s? Will anyone who is “questionable” have to carry around a note from their physician identifying their gender for bathroom purposes? Are people going to be forcibly removed from bathrooms because they don’t look “right”?
You think sex is all a matter of choice? That being transgender is a deviance, something evil, something to be afraid of? That transgender people are subhuman and do not rate the simple dignity of being able to use a public toilet?
The world is not that simple. There is always ambiguity….
* Many cases of ambiguous genitalia in the past were treated by assigning female sex to the infant without taking into consideration the child’s chromosomes or hormones. Practically speaking, it was easier to make a vagina than it was to make a normal penis. Many of those people were never told.