It's almost seven years now since I wrote/published Mermaids. It was an important step in my life, confessing publicly what I've found out about myself, how I feel and identify myself. It definitely has been a certain turning point in my life.
A year later, there was the Debconf6 in Mexico, which was just as important. I was wearing a skirt for the first time, and that for the whole duration of the two weeks. It was an enormous feeling of freedom, and I knew I was feeling at home. That was also the time I shaved off my beard.
And since? Well, I sort of limited myself to these two weeks every year. Debconf is my haven, Debconf is my home. Here I allow myself to be myself. Debian is my family. And like in every family, there are people who won't understand, but that doesn't matter. I feel comfortable to express myself in this crowd in the way I feel.
Being abroad seems to help with the confidence, and it seems like it also shines through. I haven't had lots of strange looks. To the contrary, when I went with a skirt to a homosexual acceptance event at home in Vienna, there was a group of gays who were pointing and laughing. Quite an interesting experience, one would assume that people who are wanting more acceptance would be more acceptable and tolerant themselves...
But, I don't think I will ever take the step toward actually turning my body into a female one. It was an important step for me to find out about my inner self, and it actually managed to make me accept my male body; even though I can totally relate to people not being able to understand this—both people not in the situation and people being in the situation and needing the physical adjustment to be able to be happy again. But this is what and how I am: Contents may vary from packaging.
This though has an inherited problem: as I am not (usually) heading for a female appearance (besides my skirt during Debconf), people keep addressing me with a male pronoun, even, or rather especially when using my nick Rhonda. This is something that I consider a fair bit disturbing, especially when it comes from people that I consider to address with the term friends. One would assume that people who you share a fair bit of private life with would be the ones who can understand and relate better than others. But that's where we are, and I also can understand the troubles: I'm not giving them much visual help for fixing their thoughts.
I found the confidence in my body, and like most of you know, I have a son I dearly love (and miss like hell these two weeks), so I know how to use the tools it comes with, frankly spoken. But I won't go the road to adjust my body to be a female one instead, just to convince people that I really am the female person that I identify as. It might be hard for you to understand that, it might be hard for you to accept it—it is also hard for me, to fight for the acceptance that I thought are an inherent part of the term friendship.
I have deepest respect for the people who feel the requirement and have the strength to adjust their body to their mind. It though just isn't the road for me. I already have enough uncertainties in my life to cope with, and I don't need another one to deal with, related to that I might not be able to accept my body after the transition than I am able to accept it now. It's just not important enough for me to find my place. My place is here, my home is Debconf.