There exist many kinds of love. In the first place, we think of the romantic love we feel for our life partner. There is also the love we feel for our children, the love for our parents, the love for our brothers and sisters… And there is the love we feel for our friends. All are kinds of love that I have been fortunate enough to experience abundantly. However, recently I learned about another kind of love.
As a young boy I had friends, and now too, in my male life, I have some good friends. Male friends. Cheerful guys with whom I can make fun and have interesting conversations. Sometimes there may be some teasing, friendly in nature, and then one has to stand his ground and come up with a smart retort. In a certain sense, there is also love, but how much of it is concealed! That love is so rarely explicit. Some emotions are allowed, others are suppressed. There is never any crying. If someone in the group shows a little sadness, they get a pat on the back and the tip: “Come, drink another one.”
During my gender journey I made some new friends. Female friends. Girlfriends who support me in my quest. Girlfriends who I can turn to when I need it, who listen to me, advise me, and help me. Girlfriends who can also chat with me about everyday things, about our travels, our work and our future plans, about all the things we find beautiful. Girlfriends with whom I go walking, shopping, or visit an exhibition.
I must say: I experience this friendship very differently. Warmer. More intense. Uplifting. I don’t have to control my emotions. Tears don’t have to be held back, and are even seen as a sign of strength. I can tell what I really feel, and that is even appreciated. They look in my eyes and their look tells me in a silent way “it’s okay, it’s all going to be fine”. After each encounter I feel better and stronger, and I can go on for a while.
We dare to say to each other, very sincerely, how we see the other. And also then something happens that I did not experience yet, and it reminds me of the way glasses are clinked in China. The one who feels more humble than the other lowers their glass. E.g., an employee holds his glass lower than the employer. But a downward bidding may occur if the two drinkers consider the other to be higher than themselves. Each keeps lowering their glass until one passes under the edge of the table. In a similar way, I have girlfriends who I admire and appreciate enormously, who have already meant an enormous amount to me, and who I therefore rate higher. But then they express their admiration for me, admiration that I find exaggerated, that makes me a little uncomfortable. It’s really just mutual admiration, which lifts us both to a higher level.
I have never felt this kind of friendship before. It’s not the feeling I have ever felt as a male friend with anyone else, male or female. It is a different feeling, a warmer feeling. It’s perhaps the feeling two girlfriends have. My girlfriends see me as a woman, and they offer me that fine feeling.
My gender journey remains one full of surprises. Pleasant fine surprises. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience them.