Transgender and transsexual are commonly confused terms that both refer to gender identity.
This is my journey as a transgender female, just trying to figure myself out and bring you along on the trip…
I must admit I have mixed feelings about seeing a new doctor. On one side I know he can provide me with more support than I have received to this point especially dealing with my depression and anxiety. On the other I am uncertain how he will view me being trans… (gender, sexual, or whatever.) Also, I have been seeing my therapist for more than six years now. She has been there almost from the beginning and I think she knows me fairly well at this point. Seeing someone new will mean starting over from square one and I don’t know if I will be able to express the largest part of what I have lived through in those years. I doubt he would take the time needed to read through this blog for answers, if there are any. After all I wouldn’t be the only person he sees.
It shouldn’t be surprising I am afraid doing this is going to send me back into a cycle of doubts, questions, and fears… To be honest they have already started.
Whenever I try to explain what is going on in my head out loud, I can only think I sound completely crazy and looking back at the things I have written here, it doesn’t sound much better.
Maybe I’m worrying over nothing but I don’t know what I will do if I’m told I don’t meet the criteria to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
From American Psychiatric Association’s website:
In adolescents and adults gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning. It lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following:
A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
A strong desire to be of the other gender
A strong desire to be treated as the other gender
A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender
I think I meet all of the above, but what do I really know?
Listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye…
“The discovery of a genetic variation in male to female transsexuals adds weight to the view that transsexualism has a biological basis, the Australian researchers behind the find say.
Their study shows male to female transsexuals are more likely than non-transsexual males to have a longer version of a receptor gene for the sex hormone androgen or testosterone.
The findings from the largest-yet genetic study of male to female transsexualism are published online today in Biological Psychiatry.”
I sat down to begin this post and I thought; “So many words, so little said.” Not the most positive way to begin but it sums up how I have been feeling.
I have wanted to write on a personal level, just as I did in the beginning when I didn’t know what I was doing. Seriously, I was living in a maelstrom I could barely contain, never mind control. There were times when words poured out of my wounded soul and I couldn’t have stopped them if I wanted to.
Now there are times when I struggle to find something, anything so I can maintain my personal goal of a post a day and it is important to me to be able to do so as it is the only anchor I have.
I’m not sure what I doing. I feel disconnected, mentally adrift. There was a time when I would have sold my soul to make the noise in my head to stop, now I might do the same for it to return.
It is amazing what can be normal. Accepted. Not understood but as familiar as the beating of your heart.
So, what happens when it is gone? Never mind the people telling you things are better this way. I mean no one tells you how your suppose to cope with being ‘cured.’
Now I find so many times when I feel nothing, think of nothing. There is a terrible silence which settles onto my soul and I feel as if I am going to suffocate.
It isn’t just the mental and emotional emptiness which I find disturbing; for the majority of the past several years there was the struggle with my identity, not only in regards to gender but also who I was as a person. Even though I often doubted myself, my motives and conclusions I was slowly beginning to find a comfort zone with who I was seeing when I looked into my heart. Now I find myself standing on an endless barren plain where there seems to be no difference between myself and Him. Am I male, female, or nothing at all beyond a collection of biological systems which determine a destiny I can neither control nor change?
From an internal perspective there is little difference between my self image regardless of how I am presenting. The only issue is when I go to a store frequently and the staff has seen my both ways. I can imagine how confusing it must be and it makes me uncomfortable knowing I am not consistent.
Again I ask, am I still Him playing head games or am I Her dealing with the legacy of a lifetime of confusion and lies?
Of course there remains the chance I am simply insane…
“Lately, I have stopped using the t-word with respect to people who are transgender. The t-word I have stopped using is not the pejorative that might come to mind. It is the word transition. For much of my eight years of teaching about what it means to be transgender, I was inadvertently teaching something I have come to understand creates a different understanding than the one I was trying to create. I talked about my transition. It made sense to me at the time. Today, I have come to know that I did not transition. I certainly did not go from being male to being female. I simply began to uncover the female who had been there all the time.
Many times, I have spoken about the need for protections for people who are transgender. I have spoken in front of school boards, city commissions, and state legislators. I have listened to the opposition express concerns about the safety of women and children if people who are transgender are not stopped from presenting themselves authentically in public spaces. I have seen article after article, and a myriad of comments on those articles, lamenting the same misperceptions.
Without doubt, the most significant barrier to transgender protections and acceptance is the idea that transgender women transition from male to female; that transgender women were once men. Somewhere along the way, I finally made the connection between the objections and the use of the word transition when teaching about being transgender.”
Sometimes the answers you seek are found in unexpected places…
“Much of this information applies to all transsexuals, but this site is specifically about passing and about being able to exercise the option of “stealth.” While I am open about my transsexual status when it comes up, I am glad to be able to work and have relationships with people who don’t necessarily know or think of me as transsexual, even if they do know. Having worked with and dated people who knew and didn’t know, I can assure you there is a big difference in the way you are treated if they don’t know you are transsexual.”
Blogging is a wonderful way to communicate. It can convey so much through words, sound, and pictures and yet there are times such as now when I find it fails me. I have tried time and again to write what I am thinking and feeling but I cannot get them to come out the way I feel they need to be. There is an element missing, an almost nebulas feeling which hangs in the air.
I know I am at another threshold.
From this point, the only way forward is through medical intervention, specifically if I can begin hormone therapy. Seems simple enough, do some research, make calls, set an appointment and go see a doctor for a pill or shot or whatever they think will work best and I’m off on the next part of my journey…
The very thought of this is both exciting and terrifying as hell. I find all my defenses have come into play and I mean this is the worst possible way. Doubt, fear, uncertainty, self doubt… the list seems to stretch further than I can see…
I have gone through every cycle in my thinking from the brightest to the darkest. I have drug my feet and employed every excuse to put off a decision one way or the other. I have even tried to hold position… You can guess how well those efforts worked… The problem is, now I am again at a point where I am experiencing dysphoria again. I’m having trouble seeing my reflection and at times it seems this body mocks me.
Yes, I have even gone through the: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck. I have thought what I see is my default mode and I should just accept it an quit trying to be something I can never truly be. I have called myself a fool, delusional, insane, and just plain stupid more than once. Then it seems as though a blanket is thrown over me, blocking my vision, stuffing my ears, overwhelming me with weight and heat. Suffocating me. In those dark moments I don’t care anymore, it just isn’t worth the effort to get back up, to take my next breath.
One would think I would have learned not to fight against what seems inevitable, yet here I am again, going though the same things over and over again, pushing myself to the breaking point before doing what I have known I needed to do from the very beginning.
It’s true many things have settled down, at least in my mind, in regards to being transgender/transsexual. Not that I don’t have issues now and again… I am who I am, but as I realized today while walking to the store, I am, overall, comfortable with this. It is difficult to describe, how it is possible to have difficulties with ones identity and how they are viewed by others, yet at the same time feel comfortable within the circle of ones own identity, even when it isn’t acknowledged by anyone else.
The reason I mention this is because things haven’t always been this way, not by a long shot. I know many of you who might read this haven’t been following me from the beginning and so you missed much of the fireworks. Indeed, many of the issues I have now deal with how I present to the rest of the world. Knowing who I am inside took a great deal of self examination and more than a few tears to work through.
What really brought this home was a quip by A the other day. She has a number of health issues and so she has good days and bad and the other was bad. She told me she was old, to which I responded, ‘Not as old as me.’ which is an old joke between us. This time she fired back with, ‘What do you mean? Your only three!’ Which confused me. Now I did some quick math in my head and figured at most I could claim to be twelve, not three. (If you understand where I got that number, you can figure out my age, but don’t you dare tell!).
That’s when she pointed out, it was almost three years ago when I came out.
Three years. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.
One thing I have seen, time and again, is someone who has come out begin their evaluation of all the things they remember which might be a pointer to what was to come. After all, no one just wakes up one day and declares, “I’m trans!”
It is a process of discovery and cover up which often spans a lifetime. Doing this, thinking that. Feeling something, experimenting, rationalization, and denial. When you think about it, it makes sense, this wanting to find an unbroken chain of events which explains how we got from there to here. To be able to follow the trail of breadcrumbs through the forest and thereby find our way home. Sometimes it’s clear, most times not, but I see it as something each of us has to work through, just as we feel the need to share this process with others so that they do not feel as alone as we did, and to prove we are are truly no longer alone.
I did the same thing, in fact, I find I am still doing it as more memories work to the surface. Now, though, they aren’t crucial to proving my identity to be valid. They are however, a part of me. A part of my experience and in that, they are are valuable in allowing me to paint a complete picture of myself.
The important point here is to understand, my story is not yours, nor yours mine and we will never be able to find all of the pieces and put together a complete picture, all we can do is take what we have now and use it to build something new as we move into the future.