I've been working on this diary for a long time. And given the bigoted, trolling shit that has hit the fan, I've had to change my intro.
If you are a transphobe and you just want to come in to my diary to tell me I'm a rapist or any other stupid bigoted bullshit, just because my female chromosomes and body don't match my male gender-identity and brain structure - you can kiss my transsexual ass. For the record, you transphobic men out there can get your shorts in a twist over the fact that my brain is more like yours than any woman's (except that my brain isn't full of stupid, closed-minded, transphobic bullshit). That won't change the facts that it's true. And you may have your closed-minded, more-scientific-than-thou convictions about my chromosomes, but I have MRIs of my brain that quite simply prove you wrong in black and white. So if you want to tell anybody that I'm not a man because I still have breasts and uterus and ovaries and a vagina - please do it somewhere else. This is a diary for folks who are interested in what a transman has to say about his experience. Thank you.
For those of you who are interested in a slice of my trans experience, please join me over the fold.
I was always "different" and I always felt it. But I never knew what it was. Some trans* folk know all their lives that they're in the wrong body. I needed 37 years to figure it out.
I grew up in a loving, upper middle-class family with two brothers and a sister and parents who are still madly in love after 46 years. We moved around a bunch, and my mom had (still does :-((( ) health issues and an alcohol problem (she's in recovery :-)))), but I had everything I needed and every reason to be happy. And there were many times when I was happy. But there was also always something profoundly wrong.
I was still in high school when I started to figure out that I was queer. I was never very out and open about it, at least not to my family, but it was not a really big issue for me. I never had to hide in a sexual-orientation-closet, and after going to college I was in an incredibly open and queer-supportive atmosphere anyway. So my queerness wasn't really it.
And as for how I felt about my body, it never occurred to me that other girls/women felt differently. Entering puberty was the end of the world for me - I stayed small and my twin brother kept growing, I got breasts and more body fat while my brother got bigger and put on muscle just from thinking about moving. Once we were an even match at wrestling, but when the hormones took over I didn't have a chance. As an athlete I was annoyed at my body's inferior performance (my world crashed down around me when I was suddenly unable to do a pull-up). My breasts kept me from sprinting and from wearing the clothes I wanted to wear. And the curse of menstrual cramps and mood swings made me feel like my body had betrayed me. When my mother had breast cancer in my junior year, I went from seeing breasts as a nuisance to fearing them like a ticking time-bomb. I though it was all terribly unfair, and I often wished I had been born a boy like my brother. But it never, ever occurred to me that I actually was a boy in a female body.
Fast forward 25 years to the crippling psychosomatic symptoms, severe depression and self-destructive behavior of my middle-aged self. The point came where I hit bottom and I was fortunate enough to begin treatment with a psychotherapist I felt safe and comfortable with. I knew there must be some enormous subconscious conflict raging inside me - the symptoms were making my life unbearable - but I had absolutely no idea what it was.
Over the years I had done a fantastic job of keeping myself from realizing the truth - after all, I was raised in a culture that told me in no uncertain terms that I must be a woman since I have the "plumbing". The "you-are-your-chromosomes-gender-binary" is just about the most black and white, set-in-stone thing I can think of in our culture, and I would sooner have questioned global warming or evolution than my gender-identity. I equated my plumbing with my gender, because I didn't know there was any other option.
The doors of my dungeon-closet were opened a crack when I first saw a transman (Buck Angel) on youtube. Despite decades of queerness I had never been consciously "confronted" with the phenomenon of female-to-male transsexuality. I knew about transwomen from a pretty early age, but "transman" was a category that society and my need to conform had prevented me from having. That was the beginning of my discovering myself. And with each passing day I accept myself more and more as the man that I am, and in turn I get healthier and happier.
Now that I'm out to myself and a lot of other people, I've been spending a lot of time dealing with residual denial and my own questions about why I am a man in a female body. I've also been considering very carefully what to do about it and what implications it has for me, my children (8, 10 and 12 yrs.), my career and my political activism.
Assuming I don't end up TTFNing because of stupid transphobic assholes here at the Great-Orange-Satan (as we over at Street Prophets sometimes lovingly call DKos) I will write more about that here in the future. If the waters are too rough here I'll be posting more on the Street.
I'd like to thank other transfolks, queerfolks and allies here at DailyKos for being awesome people and awesome progressives and giving me the nerve to speak up like this. You know who you are, and I thank you for gracing Daily Kos with your beautiful trans and queer voices.Updated by bluesheep at Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:18 AM CEST
Just so I don't clog the comments by responding individually to each commenter: Thank you so much for being so supportive! You have no idea how much it means to me.