Let me start by saying- this post is from experience. Being a feminine transgender male is quite difficult. Really, being transgender in general is difficult. Anyway, men are stereotypically looked at as strong, emotionless creatures. Men are not supposed to cry or they seem weak and are susceptible to ridicule.
Growing up female, I was very in tune with my feelings. That has stayed with me all throughout my transition to male.
When I am sad or angry, I cry. I have been told I keep my “heart on my sleeve,” multiple times. My family likes to tell me to “man-up,” when I seem too emotional. Even over my fear of bugs, I am made fun of. I feel constantly stripped of the masculinity I have tried so hard to obtain. It is being drilled into my head that I cannot be both masculine and feminine. I have to pick one of the other. But why? Why can I not just be who I am and be happy?
So after thinking about it, I decided to see and document people’s reactions to when I acted just a little more feminine than I am used to acting. I called up a friend on campus and asked her to paint my nails. I decided on a pale purple color. It was not too obnoxious; it was subtle. I wore the polish unabashedly for four days. What I noticed was contrary to what I thought reactions would be. I got multiple compliments on my nails. I posted two pictures on both Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, the pictures got a combined six likes (I don’t have too many followers on my account), and on Facebook both pictures received a combined 78 likes.
As far as bad responses go, I only had one. In one of my classes, a girl started to laugh, almost hysterically. She asked me why I had painted my nails. I responded with a simple, “I like purple.” She came back with, “but you’re a guy. Why are your nails painted?” So I took a breath and replied once again with, “I like purple.” And I left it at that.
For being in the “Bible Belt South,” I did not receive as many bad reactions as I had thought I would. I figured I would only be supported by some friends and maybe a few people that just happened to look at my pretty nails. I got compliments on the color I chose all the way to people telling me I was brave to do such a thing.
I tend to pride myself on being happy with who I am and not caring what others think of me. This task I gave myself, however, made me terribly nervous. I was scared to walk around campus or go to the store. I had put such horrible thoughts in my brain that when bad things did not happen, I was almost confused. For someone to be so scared of things going wrong because of the simple fact of a male with painted nails, says something. However, I learned that I can be both a transman as well as feminine and still be 100% proud of who I am.
Photo credit: http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/