My name is Sonya. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout my life, I have sought a way to explain myself, to find an identity which will bring me closer to others like me and validate my experience as a feminine, queer, sexual woman.
I came a long journey through het marriage to my lesbian, femme and finally transensual femme identity. Yet I've been aware that I am not straight since I was about 18 when I discovered that lesbians existed and there was such a thing as bisexuality.
Actually, I've kinda always known I wasn't like "regular folks", but I'll spare you all the details of how I knew I was such a queer. I came out as bi when I was 19 and went the requisite course of attempted androgyny, separatist leanings (which I still adhere to somewhat)and radical political involvement. But somehow, I didn't fit with dykes or bisexual folks. And I didn't know that "femme" was an option.
It was 1989 on a college campus where androgyny was the norm. I found great joy in the naming of myself as queer, in realizing that it was OK to be "other", to desire something different than straight relationships, straight community. Lesbian feminism and bisexual activism were extrordinarily exciting and liberating for me. Unfortunately, I also found a total rejection of my femininity, my desire to be a mother and my non-womyn-identified, SM-leaning sexuality.
For the duration of my "career" as an out bi-dyke on campus, (one year of which I spent as a Women's Studies major), I never once heard the word "femme", nor did I hear the word "butch" used in any way except as a reference to the past or a description of style -- certainly not as an essential identity. This may help explain my committment now to creating and keeping alive a language for ourselves; to name our desire and our gender identity. Names help us discover ourselves.
At 21, I closeted myself in a het relationship that progressed to marriage and motherhood. There were so many many issues that led to my marriage... I still carry lots of shame about it. But frankly, it was a desperate move, and my survival hinged upon it.
I emerged into femme ID almost 4 1/2 years ago and into the seeds of transensuality almost immediately afterward, though it took some time to develop a language for it. I am now 30 years old, mother to a wonderful 5 year-old son and highly committed to building and sustaining community for other transensual folks, femmes, partners and allies of all transguys, FTMs, TG butches, etc.
Over the years I have found many places which have almost felt right. I carry a politic and social awareness from all those communities which have both accepted and rejected me or my sexuality. My history is mine and I own it with pride, because it has made me who I am now. I certainly wish I had done some things differently, but I have survived, and that is a triumph in itself.