It me, a trans boi

I didn’t know I was trans until my mid 20’s. I didn’t have the language or the context to explain what I felt growing up. My writing over the last 8 years has actually thoroughly documented parts of that process. Coming to terms with my gender and what that means to me.

I spent my entire childhood just feeling wrong at my core. Never able to measure up, never able to be the girl they wanted me to be, because I just wasn’t, no matter how hard I tried. I did “ballet” (and legitimately enjoyed it), I wore dresses and pink, I played with dolls, I did my nails…I did everything society told me good girls did, and I tried very hard to play the part of demure and graceful damsel waiting for her prince.

Spoiler alert, I am not demure nor particularly graceful playing a damsel. My failures at this were just compounded during high school when I got bored talking with other girls because all that we were supposed to talk about was future homemaking and homeschool curriculum and other very traditionally girly things that just didn’t interest me. There was a period of about a year and a half when I was 14 where I was able to fly under the radar (thanks to an undesired move and pregnancies) and pretended to be a boy on the internet (that was the deal I made to be allowed to blog when I was 13, because predators don’t…go..after..boys…apparently) and offline I continued that persona and wore camo and got away with being “one of the boys” at speech and debate.

Looking back it seems obvious, but at the time I just thought I was broken. I wasn’t a girl, I wasn’t a boy, but I didn’t have the language to describe or even have a frame of reference about what trans-ness was. I just thought, as I had been told by my parents and pastors and every authority figure in my life, that I was inherently broken. I was just wrong and only God could fix it, but he didn’t seem to want to, so I just tried really hard to play my part as well as I could. I internalized the messages of wrongness and brokenness because I didn’t match up what I was told good godly women were like, not inside. I could cook and clean and sew but those crushed my soul and the future I was promised was not a road I wanted to take.

I wasn’t allowed to explore the woods, or play outside, I wasn’t allowed to play video games. I wasn’t allowed to do anything that was considered a boy thing. I feel like it’s important to note that I didn’t want to only do those boy things, I just didn’t want to be limited; I wanted to have both options. I wanted to be able to express both masculinity and femininity but that was definitely not allowed. I had one option and one option only, unless I was sneaky.

The idea of having children bothered me on a visceral level, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how very connected to dysphoria it is. The idea of having a human come out of my body goes straight to lizard brain levels of “no. this is death.” I suppose when I interpreted my period as the ultimate betrayal of my body against me that should have also been an indication.

Instead I spent years wrestling with myself, hating myself with every fiber of my being until I was about 20 and finally started discovering the language to describe how I felt. It happened by knowing other people who came out, and finally putting a name to my sexuality, talking with other queer people. I embraced my queerness when I was 22, which was the first stepping stone to discovering my trans-ness.

Autostraddle, Tumblr, Everyday Feminism, and It’s Pronounced Metrosexual were all really great resources where I finally started learning that I wasn’t alone in my feeling, that having a uterus but not being a woman is completely valid.

I started talking to nonbinary people and trans girls and eventually realized that I am trans enough, and no one is stopping me from transitioning but myself. Meanwhile dysphoria was getting worse, now that I knew how to identify it and what it was. I talked to my partners, friends, and therapist. And learned some things

  1. Cis people don’t question if they’re qualified enough to be their gender
  2. Gender is what you make of it, and it’s importance is up to you
  3. You are allowed to and deserve to transition if you want to
  4. Transitioning looks different for everyone, you don’t have to want surgeries to be trans
  5. Nonbinary, Genderqueer, Genderfluid, Agender, etc are all valid trans identities
  6. It is your body, you get to change it (or not) however you see fit

For a while I thought I just wouldn’t transition. I’d just deal with estrogen and periods and do what I could to mitigate PMDD and everything that goes along with that. At some point…actually, at Burning Man, I realized I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to start HRT and see what happened. I could always stop if it wasn’t right for me. Both of these are valid.

So in December of 2016 I started HRT. Testosterone works FAST. Within a week my muscles started moving, I started losing curves, my voice started getting deeper, my clit grew. I’m approaching shot 4, I have angles and a jaw line, I feel right. I had no idea what it felt like to actually inhabit my body until I started HRT.

I’m not a woman, and despite taking testosterone, I’m not a man either. I’m just your local nonbinary fairy boi taking baby steps to being in their own skin.

 

This Week in Trans

  1. Apparently cooking is a skill I default to.
  2. I can run?
  3. Melons taste good?
  4. I still dislike olives.
  5. All my feelings live in my belly.
  6. Everything is pain because my muscles are moving around so much.
  7. I am always hungry.
  8. And horny…and horniness feels different now? it comes from a different place so I don’t recognize it at first.
  9. I feel in my body, and more capable and dextrous.
  10. My curves went away
  11. My face is fuzzy
  12. My jawline has angles
  13. My clit is a dick now
  14. I think about myself and my abilities so differently now. I start from a place of “I’ve got this, what do I do” instead of “I suck, this is shit, I’m shit, what do I do” which is huge and makes functioning a billion times easier.
  15. I feel right.

Pepper Potts in an Iron Man Suit

Pepper Potts was in an Iron Man suit. The suit was keeping her alive. She couldn’t just take it off whenever she wanted to, because to do so before she was in a place to receive proper and necessary medical care would be her death. As it was, the condition that lead her to live in an Iron Man suit was complicated and treatment wasn’t easy, not even for someone close to Mr. Stark. So Pepper Potts wore an Iron Man suit. She wore it every day and every night. She wore it to parties and running errands, work, and taking out the trash.

Tony was supportive, he knew Pepper was in the suit, and that living in the suit was hard for her. He kept her company and made her as comfortable as possible. He taught her how to use it and tried to show her the plus sides to living in a suit. He was there to listen when she had problems, to hold her iron clad hands and watch netflix, but most importantly, he saw her. He saw Pepper for who she was, not the suit she was wearing.

Whenever Pepper left her home she had to make a decision – a decision that was revisited upon every interaction with every human she encountered during her day. She could go out in the suit and be mistaken for Iron Man, talked to as if she were Iron Man, or reveal her identity as Pepper and be disbelieved, ignored, or beaten, harassed, and tormented. Of course, there was the off chance that some people would believe her when she said “I’m Pepper Potts, this is just a suit, it’s not a reflection of me” but those people are rare in public.

Most often, she got called “fake” and her life experiences were invalidated because all people could see of Pepper was the suit she was wearing. They thought, well if there’s an Iron Man suit, obviously it’s only Iron Man in it, and as soon as they learned otherwise, they harassed, threatened, and called her a poser, just trying to get attention, a wannabe, not real.

But it’s only Pepper Potts in an Iron Man suit. We all know that what we wear isn’t who we are. 

Sometimes I feel like my skin is a suit. It’s something I wear, something I have to wear because this suit is what’s keeping me alive. But whenever I go out, because of my suit, I have to decide if I want to put up with the misogyny and misgendering that my suit brings me, or risk confrontation. I often opt for keeping my head down and avoiding conflict. It doesn’t make the way people treat me – when they see my suit and harass me because of it, or keep calling me her when I’ve told them I’m not – feel any less painful; it’s just sometimes easier to ignore it than fight it, until I have the energy to. I haven’t found my powers yet.

My skin is a suit, it isn’t me. I’m inside of it. And the people who see through the suit and into me are the people I want to keep around. I want to be seen, my suit doesn’t define me.