In the context of the women's march and pussy hats and whatnot, trans issues have been in the news again lately. This is my attempt to explain a subjective experience of gender dysphoria, a frequently misunderstood subject.
In the movie Shakespeare in Love, the protagonist Viola masquerades as a man named Thomas Kent to be able to act. In one scene she is rehearsing a dance with the company. The dance master calls out "gentlemen upstage, ladies downstage" and without thinking Viola steps downstage. The dance master, who had been referring to the acting roles of the (presumed) all-male cast, repeats irately "gentlemen upstage, ladies downstage, are you a lady Mr. Kent?" Viola is caught in a disconnect between her own identity and what others perceive of her.
I often feel like I am in a mild version of this situation. Conventional wisdom holds that because I have two X chromosomes I should go downstage. Yet sometimes I want to go upstage. Other times I just want to throw my hands up and exit stage left, pursued by a bear. My uneasiness with binary roles may make it more difficult to carry out the prescribed dances, but I think it's worth it anyways. Are you a lady, Mr. Chem? I don't know but I'm trying to figure it out.