Welcome to Womanhood

“Welcome to womanhood!”

This is something I’ve been told multiple times. And always by well-intentioned people, like relatives who are trying to show their acceptance. So why does it always get to me?

Maybe I’m being over-sensitive. In fact, almost certainly so. But it DOES bother me, and as a trans* columnist I want to explain why.

To me, anyone telling me “welcome to womanhood” is a reminder that while I always felt excluded from womanhood, I was never comfortable in manhood. A painful reminder.  I spent most of my life thinking I was genderless. So I was in nothing-hood, I suppose.

But the truth – and it’s a painful truth–is that womanhood (and even having a gender!) is a new thing for me.

Then what’s wrong with people welcoming me into it? Nothing should be wrong! It’s meant with all love and acceptance.

And yet I can’t see it as anything but a reminder, by cis women (it’s always cis women who say this), of how I’m different. They’re reminding me (unintentionally!) that, in womanhood, they have always been welcome. They didn’t have to fight for it. They’ve never had anyone tell them that they’re “really” a guy.

It isn’t their fault, obviously. Any more than being born into the body I was is mine But that sort of reminder tends to hurt just a little.