We have this idea in the TG literature about a real self buried inside a fake shell, or some variation of that. True Selves would be good example. I find myself thinking about those terms and wondering about authenticity as a part of this issue: am I more authentic now, as a result of self-examination, therapy, some insight into my nature, and the slow removal of all that inauthentic dead-weight hanging off me? If so, then would my voice, tone, and identity be more real, less distant? Was my voice before fake? What is real or original?

These concepts bother me because I’m not sure if we can find a real core inside a TG, or any complex individual, for that matter. Let’s think of synonyms and antonyms as a way of brainstorming terms we might use to talk about our selves. Original is troubling to me because it suggests that we are best when we are closer to our origins (sexual, gendered, cultural, class, ethnic), and I’m not sure I buy that idea entirely. Real is also loaded with positivistic difficulties, and is set against either imaginary or unreal. True is in the realm of logic and doesn’t appeal to me as the opposite of false. Both authentic and genuine suggest a sort of true-false split, but is opposed to fake or counterfit and thus might be more to the point where GID comes in.

In thinking about voice, I’d like to play with the idea that a subset of voice is tone, stance, ethos, and subsets of those would be diction, etc. Might we think of voice not as a foreign language or a dialect to be learned through hard practice, but rather clothing and presentation? It’s easier to visualize because while we all don’t learn a foreign language, we all know what clothes feel “natural” and which ones feel “artificial.” But we also understand shades of formality in clothing in ways most of us don’t when it comes to language. Would the act of moving from one voice to another be a trans-

  • formation?
  • vestment?
  • gression?
  • sition?