When I first started questioning my gender identity, I found a community of transmen on this online diary website called Live Journal. I was floundering so much for a sense of community and I was so excited to find them, but it actually turned out to be a disaster for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into. However, I have found a great community here in my city of Philly, so I’m happy now and that’s all that counts. But I’ve decided to share with you some of my journal entries from the early days of my gender questioning.
Second Journal Issue:
November 30th, 2009
I guess this is my first “oh-ficial” posting. The last one was kind of a filler because I wasn’t sure I was going to actually use Livejournal. While I predict that my posts will be sporadic and disconnected, I will do my best to keep up and hopefully my journal about living as an out transgenderist will help someone like the journals and forums I’ve come across on LJ have helped me — which has been unbelievable and I’m so grateful to strangers who have put their life on the internet!
I’m a pre-everything female-to-male transguy. I’m actually even pre-real decision. I’ve just started therapy with a wonderful transsexual therapist, so I want to really take some good time to try and make sure my choice to “come out” is fo real before I announce to the world, “hey world! I am now a HE! Thank you!” And the world says, “Eh?? But you were just a she a minute ago…” And thus I have some ‘splainin’ to do.
But, as far as I can tell, I’m most definitely a trans “person” for life. Currently I am a masculine-gendered, female-bodied woman. A WHAT?! You ask? Well, I look pretty guyish. I wear my hair really short, I wear dudes clothing, I wear dudes underwear, I even, when I’m feeling REALLY dude, skip the sports bra and just wear dudes undershirts. Most of my life I’ve felt I was a masculine creature. I was raised with two boys which alway has and probably always will leave me wondering about the nature vs. nurture of my situation — it’s hard to tell for sure. My childhood was filled with football, creepy crawlers, shirts off, skinned knees and GI Joes. I went through a brief sorta femme period in high school at the 3-way intersection of not looking like a tomboy kid anymore; still living under my mom’s roof and fighting constantly about clothes and coming of age in the rave culture where it was completely OK to dress like a clown exploded onto your naked body. I scapegoated dressing either femme or boy by wearing dead clown clothes — baggy, bright pants and oversized hoodies with wife beater tank tops was literally my uniform.
Hence I’ve arrived to adulthood. I’m not a tomboy kid anymore (although I love to still act like one), I’m not under my mom’s roof anymore and most of my crazy raver clothes have made it to Good Will for the next generation of genderfucked misfits still living at home. Well, what do I wear? How do I express myself? Who the fuck AM I? I usually settle for jeans and a t-shirt or a nice button-down, and that pretty much brings you up to speed on where I’m at as a masculine woman.
When you’re a kid or a wild child raver teenager, your identity is fluid and can, at any moment, be collected and disperesed how your parents see fit. When you reach adulthood and you’ve chosen not to be a walking billboard counterculture you’re apart of (i.e. you wear “boring, grown-up clothes every day”) you begin to take a long, long, long peer down at the body and say, “Well body, it’s just me and you for the next 60+ years…”
That’s where I began to get uncomfortable. When I look down, the first thing to meet my eyes are at my perky, 24-year-old, most-women-would-die-for tits. They hang flacidly and protrudingly like the two pieces of extra fat that they are… and to me, that’s all they are. Tits can be a lot of different things to a lot of women: sex symbols, nourishment to their child, money makers, tattooed pieces of art, source of death and disease, embarrassment, pride, shame and utter titillation (no pun intended). Mine are none of that — they’re just two fairly big absesses that bounce and hurt and get in the way and annoy me during sex. I try to puff out my stomach and imagine them as man boobs, but my stomach draws back in eventually and they turn back into lady boobs.
I also have recently done one of those long, long, long looks in the mirror. My face had morphed from child, to girl, to adult — not to woman. My adult face is masculine but very small. Sometimes I try to make my jaw more square or I furrow my eyebrows to make my face look more manly. Sometimes I wonder what facial hair would look like, and occasionally I’ve shaven just for the hell of it.
About six months ago I stopped shaving my legs (much to the absolute horror of my mother) and my armpits. I don’t really know why — I just stopped one day and never picked up a razor. I must admit that I feel odd and somewhat ashamed when the public or family or even sometimes my girlfriend sees my hairy monster beast legs and I’m still identifying as a woman. It feels very wrong and I only wear shorts on my most courageous days. However, when it’s just me, I’m not bothered my the hairy monster beastness, and in fact I think it’s very nice to rub my hands over the fur! I guess in terms of look, I could honestly go either way, but in terms of maintenance upkeep, I’ll take the fur!
So currently I’m a masculine woman and as I’ve grown into the beginning of my adulthood, my infrequent childhood and adolescent fantasy of walking through the world in a more manly body have sort of come into a reoccuring daydream.
I’m hesistant to say that I dream of being a man. I’d rather say that I dream of walking through the world in a more manly body. I’ve been an out and proud queer for the last 11 years, I’m a feminist and I don’t feel like abandoning the last 24 years of struggle (as a woman and a queer) to assimilate into straight culture and heap male privelage onto my plate and eat until I’m overstuffed and ready to puke.
My aim is to be an out transgenderist. Perhaps, I think, and most likely, a transmale. Perhaps, a transsexual male. Queers are my family and I cannot and will not abandon them. I would like to be a voice for the trans community and I hope that my life can somehow enrich the lives of others who are struggling — from just feeling like shit for not shaving her legs or having incessant fantasies about chopping his tits off.
I’ve also spent the last 24 years as a female, and this isn’t something I completely want erased. I don’t want to make up some sort of fake past and pretend a third (give or take) of my life was nonexistant (although I’m most certainly not trying to disrespect any FTMs or MTFs who feel this is necessary). I want to say that I was a woman, I’ve hurt like a woman, I’ve struggled like a woman, I’ve bled like a woman, I’ve been violated as a woman and I’m moving through the world as a creature that looks like a man, but these core, fundamental, iron-strong structures of my being are my foundation. So even though I might drop the “fe,” I hope the “male” becomes sort of like a nickname that everyone learns. Most people will call me male. I’ll introduce myself as male. Strangers will know me as male. But good friends, family, and new people who I meet will all know my formal name — female — but everyone will just call me male because they know that’s what I prefer and that’s just who I am to them.
Discovering that I can be an out transgenderist has been a very liberating feeling for me. When I was a kid, I’d often think about becoming a man, and was sad and completely scared out of my mind that I’d have to lie my way through new relationships and whip up a whole new past. I even used to think about saying my baby pictures and toys were burned in a fire. I’m so happy to know that it’s OK to claim every aspect of your identity, even if it doesn’t totally match up with the person you’ve become. As my favorite advice columnist Dan Savage says, “You have a right to your experiences.”
And just for the record, I think that transmen have the one-up on cisgendered guys (the term for biological guys). Wouldn’t any woman die for a man who truely understood her and met her emotional needs as well as her physical preferences? As long as a gal isn’t too hung up on having a real penis around (fake ones work just as good, if not better), then FTM is women’s dream come true! Unfortunately, for gay FTMs, a lot of cisgendered gay men ARE hung up on the real penis thing since emotions sort of take a backburner for most cisgendered guys, and FTMs don’t always win in that department. However, I’ve heard a lot of positive things lately about FTMs being accepted into the gay male community, so rock on.
Well, this has been an absurdly long post. I want to write more but I’m tired and probably boring the hell out of whoever is still managing to read this.
Goodnight, thanks for reading, hope it helps!
I’ve done a LOT of reading, so if you need any book suggestions let me know. Some authors to check out:
S. Bear Bergman
Leslie Feinberg (my favorite!! <3)