A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Monday, 15 May 2006

On gender & drag king

We all know that the "goth scene" is pretty androgenous. I suppose though, it's mostly the men that look feminine and not the other way round. Or maybe not so much... The women don't try to look like men in that scene... or do they? Perhaps when you consider the wearing suit-and-tie style, but I am not so convinced really as a lot of make-up is still worn, and the women in suit and tie might still wear corsets; in any case, they still express their feminity very strongly.

So what of the female to male issue? My great friend Tif is a drag king; that is, the opposite way to a drag queen: a transvestite. Female to male isn't very common, from my (limited) knowledge, I feel it is the most subtle transformation. Most subtle because perhaps least easily unmasked. Tall and bulky women are not so common but men cannot shrink in height and muscle size, whilst short and feminine men are common. Perhaps also because it is easier to add than to remove, and most relevant as pointed out by Tif, perhaps because we all started as females in our mother's womb...

A couple of month ago I transvested (sp.?) myself into a man with her. I flattened my chest, thickened my eyebrows (a painful process for me who so lovingly pluck my eyebrows!) wore baggier trousers, my army shirt, a long coat, socks in my pants (because I don't feel like investing into a silicone penis...), and especially fake facial hair. Well that was most interesting. Apparently I was pretty convincing. It was an amazing experience. On the way to the club, I couldn't look into people's eyes - especially the men. I felt like an imposter. The flow of questions this change of identity raises is massive, you'd never imagine how massive until you actually tried. I had to change my name. I called myself Devendra, and people said "he" when mentioning me. That just felt mad. Even though it was a transvestite club (we were the only real women in the club) and so people knew we were desguised women, the situation was most destabilising. I cannot imagine in a real-life situation, for instance the prospect of being chatted up by a woman (gulp!) as I am so very straight... (even though I love feminine men and especially men with some "feminine" (or should I say Yin) sensitivity...)

It was very difficult to know how to act because I had no identity as a male; this takes time to create. As a result I was suddenly extremely shy. Because I am not a "girly" woman I didn't have to change my body language too much though, although still a bit, and you don't want to overdo it as otherwise it would appear forced and artificial... I didn't want to speak too much also because I wanted to avoid pulling faces and laugh or smile too much, as I felt my big round cheeks would give me away. My big eyes did betray me - or was it just my biased perception - but there was nothing I could do about that...

I think the most difficult was that I didn't look like a man I would have fancied. I didn't look like "my kind of guy". When I looked in the mirror I found a man that I didn't find very attractive, yet it was me. Or rather (?): I couldn't find this man attractive since it was me... At times (in darkness...) I could perhaps see a guy. But most of the time I couldn't help but seeing me with stuff on. And before the end of the night I had to run to the toilet and remove all that fake beard, came back as Vio, and could breathe again... So yeah: I knew it, but I am very comfortable as a woman, there is no question. Yet still I feel I am quite masculine in some ways, definitely not a "girly" woman. And it is very interesting. I also love my hair short because somehow more masculinity comes out. Like I have more balls (huhu), well it's a feeling I cannot express in words, anyway.

It took me some time to recover from the drag king experience I must admit. But now that I have short hair I think I'd like to do it again. In a real-life context though, where people didn't know I was a woman. I want to study people's reactions/behaviour/speech towards me. According to Tif, they are a lot more different than you think, when you cross "the other side". People speak to you differently, expect different things from you. It will be extremely hard, it will raise questions I have never even imagined before. But it sounds so extremely interesting...

At a gig in Glasgow two days ago we met Diane Torr, one of the first ever drag king in the world, and a "female-to-male" transsexual. It was amazing. I love these people because they are so very open-minded, they are so "feeling-sensitive" because they have had to go through so much because they couldn't avoid it. They are people who have put themselves into question in possibly the most extreme, and brave way. And you can definitely feel it. There is no taboo. They are hemselves with a capital T, and it is all that matters. What's amazing is that the gender question becomes almost irrelevant. They may be half-male half-female who likes both male and women; they may feel more male but be attracted to either sex, they may be attracted to cross-gender people, the possibilities are endless, they cannot be categorised, but then who cares about label as long as you are yourself, as long as you are what you are. It is amazing. Amazing because, just like meditation or living in a foreign culture, going cross-gender is just another way to put socially-conditioned behaviour into light so that you can see it...

[Later edit: I never did it again!]

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