*This post does some slightly sexual material (nothing perverted) but it may not be suitable for those under 18*
I’ve see a lot of people explain how they knew they were transgender, so I figured I should as well. I’m doing this not only for those who may be questioning, but to help everyone else understand what it means to be transgender a little better. Most of my Cis friends have all admitted to me that they can’t really imagine what it’s like. so hopefully I can shed a bit of light on Gender Dysphoria. I don’t think I do a great job of reflecting the emotional or mental sensation of being trans . Its a bit long and reads way too much like a brief history of me.
I remember being really happy as small child; I was pretty cute and I always had really long hair. At this point in my life, gender meant very little to me. I used to watch cartoons that were geared toward a boy audience, but I would also generally watch the girls’ shows that came on before, ie. Powerpuff Girls, Sailor Moon, etc. I remember always rationalizing this by telling myself since they were on right before the main show, why not watch them as well. It wasn’t until after another kid my age made fun of me that I felt I was doing something wrong. I always made sure nobody caught me again.
I made mainly male friends in elementary school, at least leading up to 5th grade. But I fit into a bit of a weird group; none of my friends were sports eccentric and probably didn’t qualify as nerds either (actually, we got pretty nerdy later on). Late in elementary school, I started to feel a bit different. Around 3rd grade I felt my self-worth drop and became very dissatisfied with my appearance. I was suddenly and strangely obsessed with the difference between the genders. I used to have dreams and fantasies about being transformed into a girl by some cosmic mishap or magic. One of my favorite fantasies was when I had to become a girl for a secret mission; it was for an important mission, so it was okay.
I’d basically describe the feelings I’ve had my whole life as hating my body and feeling dissatisfied being perceived as male. I’d look at something for men, then I’d look at something feminine, and almost always liked the feminine object better. I had a constant feeling of wrongness. I didn’t necessarily like things because they were feminine, but I tended to like feminine things. I didn’t need people to treat me gentler, but I’ve always hated masculine expectations. I grew up with all brothers. My dad was a marine. I was raised in a masculine environment, guns and all. But I always fell far short of male expectations and failed to socialize with guys. (socializing with men is a skill I had to learn later on)
When I started to really hit puberty, things got more complicated. I became obsessed with the female body. I started feeling as though I wanted breasts. overtime, I really hated my body. I didn’t like the way my legs and body were getting hairy (I had no facial hair until high school). I started experimenting with cross-dressing, but I still didn’t really know what was going on. In middle school I started to get an idea. I heard about “women who were born men” on TV. I’d always thought a “sex change”was a crude surgery sought by the mentally ill and emotionally disturbed. Luckily, I started to learn otherwise. I stumbled upon transsexual pornography, and to put it lightly, it blew my freaking mind. I didn’t know it was possible to alter a body like that, nor did I think anyone else wanted to. After that, I started to discover that there were tons of people just like me. It was exciting, but I was still years away from acceptance.
As middle school continued on, I shaved my legs, tried to grow out my hair and nails, dressed profusely, and dreamed of transition. My parents never called me out on anything. Yet, I was terrified of every telling them I was trans (I still am). I think everyday about how different my life would be if they had approached me or if i’d had the courage to come out to them. I still have a hard time forgiving myself for being a coward all those years. While things were better, I did get made fun of at times for being different and feminine (and nerdy, weak, awkward, none-athletic, etc). But this paled in comparison to the internal torment torment I was dealing with. I had a very hard time separating my sexual frustrations from my gender dysphoria – which I’ve since learned is not an uncommon problem for young transgender women.
I wrestled with the feeling that my Dysphoira was simply a very aggressive fetish from middle school to college. when I was younger, I read about “autogynephilia” and trans-fetishism, which a lot of baby-boomer trans women had assured me was a real thing. (the ability to connect to trans women my own generation was a huge breakthrough for me, thanks Trueselves). The fact that I started to mix ‘cross-dressing’ and masturbation (and the shame I always felt afterwards) confirmed the conclusion that I was a sexual deviant and Autogynephilic. I went from being determined to transition, to determined to suppress my feelings.
I moved to a new high school, in a new state, and began my life determined to be ‘that cool guy.’ I was unsuccessful. After a two years of depression and romantic letdowns, I finally found some half-decent friends; they were almost all girls this time. I was able to suppress my dysphoria at times, but it would come out in waves and oftentimes sexually. My Junior year I became friends with a girl who changed my life. We dated all of senior year until she broke my heart for reasons I couldn’t understand. I had an easier time suppressing my dysphria when I was with her and that brought me a great deal of peace (I can totally understand how someone gets married and does’t feel the need to transition till their 30’s or 40’s). But after she broke up with me, I felt the world spinning out of control and decided that I needed to accept myself. If only it was that easy,
I made earnest attempts to transition. I even came out to a few people and was excited to transition in college. Sadly, when I got to school and made new friends (many of whom are the closest friends I’ve ever had) I suppressed my GD again. Halfway into the first year, I cracked and tried to transition again; However, I made the fatal mistake of having no support system. So long as my best friends did not know, I couldn’t really transition – this was the ultimate tool of suppression. After this attempt I began my most aggressive period of suppressing my feelings
I got into good shape (could bench about 200) and began living the frat lifestyle; I figured I came from a wealthy enough southern family and decided to embrace my inner douche-bag (later on there may be pictures of this stage). So I wore vineyard vines, bow-ties, chugged cheap beer and expensive whisky, sang along to wagon wheel and song of the south. After making plenty of enemies and literally earning a earning a nickname with the word douche in it, I met another special girl. She civilized me a bit and we only broke up recently, but remain close friends. After about a year of this charade, I cracked -big time.
I started getting fierce and unrelenting trans feelings. At first, I thought I could find a medium between living as a male and feeling trans. I had about two weeks of mental anguish where I couldn’t figure out what I was doing. I figured I will never be happy and thought briefly about suicide; I considered checking into Student Health Services. After about two nights of no sleep, I sat down and wrote out a long explanation to myself and decide to accept it. I am a transgender woman and I will never be happy unless I forgive myself and accept that I need to transition. I decided I wanted to live my life, and not just survive till death took me.
I began to transition again; I started HRT and ,in a drunken mess, I came out to my closest friend. Probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done, was to sit on the Lincoln memorial and bawl my freaking eyes out while I told him. Soon after that, more people knew. After a mental breakdown in front of my girlfriend, she knew as well.
You see, being transgender if different for everyone. We don’t all feel like we are trapped in the wrong body, and can even sometimes be happy living as our assigned gender. But there is always something wrong. A creeping sensation, telling you ” this is not who you are” or “there’s more to you life than this.”
And at one point or another, we all look into the mirror and think “that isn’t me looking back.”
This has been my experience with being transgender. It has had an enormous impact on my life. While we all experience things differently, I hope this helps you understand a bit about why I feel the way I do.