I’m writing this article because most of my life I have felt that I am transgendered, and yet I still have doubts that this is the case. I have a lot of fears and doubts about confronting my identity, embracing it and taking the steps I think it would take to feel whole. I don’t think what I am writing will help anyone, but I hope that people may find it interesting and that perhaps I will benefit from the feedback. If nothing else, it is cathartic to write it all out.
So, I’m male and since I was a child I’ve felt that I wanted to be female. I remember being fascinated with children’s books such as Animorphs which allowed people to transform their bodies and wishing I could have that power to transform myself female, seeing girls and wanting to be like them and being attracted to stereotypically girly things.
Never dresses or dolls but certainly more shows and books such as Little House on the Prairie, Black Beauty, Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club, flowers, mermaids and the like. I remember being very sensitive and caring…to a point that this characteristic was remarked and commented upon as abnormal. I also remember being teased a lot because of these attributes, being considered a sissy or other pejorative terms.
I grew up with a lot of abuse and family drama, and aside from feeling that way; I didn’t have time to think much about it. I didn’t understand my feelings and didn’t know that it was a thing, and thought there was something wrong with me. I didn’t have so much time to examine my feelings due to dealing with other more pressing issues.
It wasn’t until I reached my early teens that I started to read about these issues and realize that I was probably transgender. The more I read about it, I identified with it and it was terrifying. There was no way I could tell my family and I had no friends to speak of that I could confide in. I was awarded a sum of money when I turned 18 and my plan since about 14 was to run away and get all the surgeries to transition, perhaps helpfully developing amnesia along the way so I wouldn’t feel guilty about abandoning my family. It didn’t occur to me to try and seek free counseling or something like that.
Instead…I just detached from my body as much as was possible, even to this day as I approach my 30s, I’ve dealt with this issue by focusing on my mind. I’m fairly intelligent, so I’ve tried to use that to define myself as much as possible. Learning and reading as much as I can, getting degrees, formulating arguments, doing whatever I can to grow my mind, and distance my body. This also could have been a reaction to physical abuse.
My plan for a long time was just to get my PhD at a young age after contributing some groundbreaking research, and then peacefully commit suicide not something I think I was ever really going to do, but it was a way to distract and try and drive myself. Yet if I felt so wrong that that seemed like the best solution…surely transitioning is the better option?
Which would make sense, yet I’ve had so many doubts about what I’ve read, I’ve read so much literature that makes me doubt if I even am transgender, despite what I feel. For example, I’ve never tried to mutilate my genitals or even thought about it, which is apparently a very common occurrence. Then again that may seem expected if I simply detached from my body.
To this day…I don’t know that I am actually transgendered or not. As much as I feel like I should be female, how can I possibly know? The few female friends I came out to have tended to tell me that I’m not female at all and they could not see me as such. This fills me with further doubt…I only know how I feel. I can’t say with certainty that I feel (aside from feeling that my body is wrong) like a woman or think like a woman…all I know is that I feel and think like me.
I’ve read a lot about brain scans done on transgender people before exposure to hormones…I wish I could have one of these scans for myself, to know, to get some sort of closure, although I don’t know what I would do with such information or if anything would change for me.
I have tried dressing up in women’s clothes only twice…both times with a female friend to help me. Both times I felt very depressed because what I saw looked nothing like a woman. I looked like a man in bad drag. It seemed to reinforce that there was no way for me to transition and pass…I would always just look like a man in drag. Wearing clothes, the weight of fake breasts, having longer hair…it all felt right to me, yet it continues to seem out of reach.
I know consciously that my worries of passing including but not limited too big hands, big feet, height, my face or the combination of these things are irrational as there are many women with similar sized body parts to me yet somehow put together…it reinforces my belief that I wouldn’t pass. There is also the factor that I find the surgeries and transitioning process terrifying. Being dependent on hormones for the rest of my life…having to dilate regularly (I know less over time) because my vagina would be treated as an open wound. It makes me think of the South Park episode addressing this, where the message was maybe to learn to be comfortable with my body as it is or at least wait until technology is more advanced to transition.
Perhaps my biggest concern is that people would always know…and I would always be ostracized and humiliated and pitied because of it…which I don’t know if that is worth the price of transitioning. Reading some of the things on this list seems to reaffirm my fears. Having seen the way transwomen transitioning are treated. Having to live as a woman for a year before hormones or surgery…I don’t know that I could face that. It took me a very, very long time to overcome bullying and abuse as a child and young adult, and I don’t know that I could go back to that. It would seem to be trading one hurt for another, potentially worse hurt. I don’t know that I could go back to that; or more accurately, based on my problems with depression and a lack of supportive friends and family…I don’t know that I would survive that.
Transitioning would also mean identifying as gay, which isn’t by any means a deterrent, but I do feel intimidated by that….by experiencing the double pressure of trying to be accepted as a woman and facing the harassment gay people do while learning a new culture and dating scene. Not to mention the idea of dating as a transwoman is a frightening prospect to me, given the amount of lesbian women who seem to be anti-transgender.
Aside from all of those concerns, as misplaced as some of them may be, perhaps the major thing that deters me from transitioning would be a member of my family who is in poor health and needs constant care. My parents look after her, and if they were to cut me out of their lives, I would also lose access to this person, which would be very hard for me to deal with. Realistically, she will likely die in the next few years and then I would not have a reason not to come out to my family.
There is no doubt that I have male attributes although exactly what they are I am not sure. Perhaps preferring to repress emotions and issues instead of deal with them? I don’t know to what extent these male attributes are a part of me, of to what extent they are an act of sorts that I have adopted to make things easier.
Traveling alone for many years, being extremely broke and being in many dangerous areas/situations I felt I had to be tough. I think this was reflected in my appearance for most of the time which was a leather jacket, long hair and beard. The purpose being to try and cultivate an attitude and image that was seen as at least to some extent as threatening – to reduce my risk of being a victim.
I know that I don’t appear feminine at all…I have no idea if my thoughts or thinking process is female. After a lifetime of repressing what I feel and using being male as an advantage to appear intimidating or at least ever so slightly threatening while traveling it make senses to me that I wouldn’t appear female. Now at this point however, I have no way to determine to what extent I am female.
The few people I’ve told seem to think I’m gay when this isn’t the case at all. It can be frustrating to try and convince a female friend or romantic interest that I have no interest in men, despite feeling female. I have a desire to act femininely…to wear skirts and dresses and to learn makeup. I don’t believe this is anything to do with reasons of gratification, but rather it’s how I feel I should be able to act and express myself but don’t feel that I can. I don’t think I would be overly femme if I were to transition, but I am drawn to overly feminine styles, partly because I have felt that anything feminine has been forbidden from me.
It’s an important point in considering transitioning. I have no idea how to “act” female, in terms of body language or behavior or anything related. I know that I could probably learn…but I have no idea how long that would take and it would worry me being not accepted for a number of years while I figure it out, primarily because I feel that I only developed social skills and came to be accepted in the last few years.
An issue I think that is perhaps related is my sexual development. It was very, very late. I believe that this was in part, due to being secluded from my peers at school and not interacting with people my own age. I had not realized I liked girls until quiet late, at 18 or 19. I remember when I realized this; it was like a bomb hit as I started noticing women’s breasts and curves and looking at women in a whole different way. Up until that point, I had been convinced I was asexual due to not seemingly being attracted to men or women. I do think now, looking back, that was due to the distance I put between myself and my body, which I see almost exclusively as a vessel for my mind.
Something that always made me pause was that many women seem to consider me a very attractive guy, wanting to talk or sleep with me on that basis alone. This always made me feel odd – I was convinced I was ugly up until maybe 24. If I couldn’t like how I looked, I found it hard to understand how anyone possibly could. Even now when women compliment me on my appearance…I don’t entirely like it. I’m being complimented for something I couldn’t help, for looking a way I don’t feel I should look.
Growing up, I never watched porn or had any desire to. The closest thing I did to that was read TG captions and stories…which I used as a method of escape, wishing some of those situations would happen to me. Of course, there was arousal from reading these stories which made me wonder…what if I’m just an autogynephiliac? I don’t feel that I am, as my desire to be female isn’t sexual, it isn’t a fetish, but I have to consider the possibility. Is it possible that I hate myself to that extent, that I just want to be someone else à la Buffalo Bill (without the women suit)? The idea scares me and is refuted by what I feel, yet it remains a fear.
To this day, I have continual problems with my sex drive for reasons I can’t understand. I’m not depressed, I’m in perfect health and yet I have a general lack of desire and performance issues. This was not always the case, although in the last few years nothing has even remotely happened unless I had an emotional connection to person I was sleeping with. Since all my experience comes from one night stands, this is something I am not familiar with and wonder if my body detachment is the issue.
I am filled with doubt about my identity and who I am. I don’t trust what I feel as it seems to contradict objective studies and experiences I have read. I don’t know if I am female on the inside I only know that I know I feel envious when I see women, that I feel that I could fit in and be seen that way and that it was acceptable for me to act how I sometimes feel.
I paid someone to Photoshop a picture of what I would look like had I been born female, which is something I hang on to convinced that is what I should have looked like. Having such strong conviction with how I feel it’s odd to be skeptical of it at the same time. It seems like an impossible task trying to weigh all my contradictory thoughts and fears and just figure out who I am and who I should be, at least in the context of gender.
There is so much I want to accomplish still that practically I could not do if I were to transition. The practicalities of surgery, hormones and passing would limit me in traveling for long periods of time, or starting a new business and getting investing due to discrimination, or any number of other issues. Perhaps some of my fears are misplaced, but certainly not all of them.
I’m not sure what my plans for the future are as far as pursuing this. I know this year I want to resume learning martial arts, work on writing inspiring and controversial articles, get my license, learn a new language…as I approach 30 I’m not sure it makes sense to throw my life into turmoil. Not only because of the fears I outlined above, as I truly believe I would get some level of peace from transitioning. I just don’t know if it is worth the cost.
At the end of it all I still feel trapped in my body. More than though, I feel ashamed and cowardly for not being able to face these issues; especially when I see so many positive transgender role models who do face their fears and overcome such high levels of adversity while fighting for basic rights and acceptance. It’s just not something I feel I have in me, to have to fight every day to be accepted. I don’t know that this will change anytime soon, and so I remain in the shadows, where it is safe and I am familiar with the problems I face and know how to conquer them.
I know this article is disjointed, and I apologize for that. It is an honest account of my feelings and experiences while I try to understand myself and my situation. I hope that at the least, some people may find it interesting or relate to it. I also hope I did not offend anyone with what I wrote. If I have, I welcome the opportunity to be corrected in my knowledge or attitudes.