Long post about a whole lot of gender stuff, including dysphoria, things get a little hairy in this post, be warned!
Being trans isn’t easy. Suffering from dysphoria is also not easy. Make-up, fitting in, harassment, hair, these things have pushed me really close to giving up, just being a scruffy non-binary Riley for the rest of my life. I’ve always framed myself by my own perception of gender, I’m not a fan of societal standards and forced gender roles. I wholeheartedly believe that in an ideal society, the idea of gender would fade away and people would just be whatever they want, there’s plenty of speculative fiction and Star Trek episodes showing how great that’d be. Unfortunately, I don’t live in 2364 and in my life, I have chosen a side when it comes to how I represent my gender.
That kinda sounds like i’m giving up, doesn’t it? First, Non-binary people are great and valid and awesome, I’ve always supported our NB friends because I feel we share the same understanding, just not the same application in our lives. Second, I know many trans people don’t suffer from dysphoria, and feel like there’s a huge conversation to be had about medical need vs. other aspects of transitioning, dysphoria vs. identity etc, it’s a hot topic right now. Like many things I’m somewhere in the middle, not interested in nailing down any “right way” to do this, because we’re all just trying to figure this out and we’re all coming from different places. I feel like I’ve been saying that often lately…
In an attempt to explain my understanding of all this. Let’s goto the charts ~
This is a VAST oversimplification, and we’re talking sex not gender here, but this is how I understand all this. When people are developing pre-natal they get Male/Female aspects, we all start as a female fetus then hormones and genetics start having an effect. Above would be a crude illustration of the “normal” development of a male. Every male gets a little female bits, some more than others, I.E. men with larger hips, less hair etc, things that are effected by hormones. You could flip the chart and apply this to most women, they get a lionshare of F with some M thrown in, it varying drastically from person to person, especially in the case of Intersex or Klinefelter people.
Now this is how I see me. Life rained down just enough M that I developed male genitalia and the means to pump out testosterone, and things just kept getting more male from there. That over abundance of F is what led me to a fairly late puberty in which I started growing breasts, possibly I could be described as Klinefelters, but I never did enough tests to know for sure or don’t remember. It’s also always made me feel awkward in my body and with my genitals, incongruities between my brain and body, and even with my personality and peers at a young age. Young boys and girls were expected to act a specific way based off preconceptions of masculinity and femininity. I always felt like a kitten in a dog pound and the other boys knew, I’m sure longtime readers know about the violence against me in the boys locker room, specifically the incident with my broken wrists.
Despite all the genetic/hormonal/medical issues, I choose to represent myself as a woman to the world, because that’s my choice. I’m a girl because that’s who I am, and even though i’m a non-conventional girl who likes dress shirts as much as frilly dresses, I’m still a girl. Even if I have scruff, I’m a girl. If someone says “pardon me sir” to me, I’m still a girl. I don’t identify as a girl because girls are one way and boys are the other, I’m a girl because that’s the role I choose in my community, in society. Nobody gets to make that decision for me, not the doctor who took one look at my genitals and put M, not the cashier who calls me Sir, and not the gender critical people who want to argue against my existence.
When I say “choose” it’s not like deciding what hat to wear or any sort of frivolous thing, it’s me choosing to say “I am a woman” as opposed to choosing the path of least resistance and still identifying as a male, the identity that society has forced on me. I didn’t just wake up and choose to be a woman one day, I woke up and chose to be my real self to the world. I remember I made this same point on my strange addiction but the follow-up got lost in the editing, luckily I have a chance to make that clear here.
If it was 2364 I may choose to represent myself a different way, but it wouldn’t change how I feel about myself, or my desire to medically transition. I’m not taking hormones or getting a vagina for anyone but myself, whereas identifying specifically as a female has to do more with how I fit into society. I’m tired of being a “?” to myself and others, it’s my choice to answer “female” when asked and to dress and act in a way that affirms my female gender identity, and it’s my struggle to determine how much my dysphoria, my medical need, will lead to transitioning medically.
Like so many things in life, your experience may vary. This is my disclaimer that all identities are valid, and while I feel that medical intervention in transitioning is core to my experience, it’s not universal, being trans or NB does not mean you have the same issues I have about identity vs. representation vs. medical need. If you want to learn more about Non-Binary people, listen to those who identify that way. I can’t speak for other people, all I can do is listen and empathize.
I have my own view of gender, one which i’ve tried to express here in the least scientific manner possible. I suffer from dysphoria, and I feel the need to do things to remedy that, first up is Laser Hair Removal. I’ve never been dysphoric about my “attractiveness”, like I don’t fear being ugly or old (beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that), I just don’t need the daily reminder that when it rained down on my sex pyramid, I got just enough Male to grow a penis and subsequently lots of hair. I’m incredibly hairy, and i’m pretty damn tired of it. And even though I’ve had a ton of fun with my genitals over the years, that doesn’t mean I’m happy with them, they’re more of just a means to an end. This is all so complicated…
So I went and got laser on my face yesterday. I went through a few treatments a long time ago then life happened and I haven’t pursued it since. Now that Winter is coming, I had a little money and a little time to myself, so I happily got that miserable, painful procedure again. I’m tuff! I’m going to conquer the seemingly insurmountable wall of quitting smoking cigarettes, I will sail valiantly through the emotional ups and downs of hormones, and eventually slay the dragon which is “the surgery”.
I have been on this road for years, and stopped taking hormones about 5 years ago. I plan on taking them again very soon, and am finally starting my transition in a way that I know I may finish. It’s sad for me to watch old videos of optimistic young me saying these same things over 10 years ago. I still have intrusive thoughts that it’s all BS and I’m just crazy etc, the self-doubts all transitioning people feel, but I have the tools to manage those issues as well as other things. I don’t have any plans to fall into any holes, if my parents or friends pass, I can deal with it, if my life turns upside down, I can handle it, if the negative forces (stalkers, TERFs, Evangelicals etc) come after me again, I can handle it.
What I couldn’t handle was living a life devoid of self-actualization. I’m tired of being scruffy. I’m tired of getting “sir’d”. I’m tired of not being as successful and vibrant as I know I can be. I miss helping others feel better about themselves, instead of spending life managing my own pain.
So here I am, improving myself, sharing myself with the world, hoping that the world will open their arms to me. This little girl has a lot of love to give, and I hope you’ll follow me again on both the journey of life and the journey of transition. We’ve come a long way, and for the first time in a long, long time, I feel like this story is going to have a happy ending.
Thanks for reading. More stuff soon ❤