Monday, May 24, 2010

My trans life

I must have been around 5-ish or so when I first had "The Dream", at least that I remember, and yes that's how I have always thought of it.  My dreams have always been very vivid, but soon after awaking they fade away, but many of The Dream's have remained in my mind, clear and bright even years later.

In this first dream I remember playing and riding my bike, a skill newly learned that summer, and somewhere along the dream I realize that while it's me, I'm in fact a boy.  My dream self is running and jumping into puddles happy as can be.  I awoke with an urgent need to pee, and ran to the bathroom as fast as possible.  Slamming the bathroom door shut, pulling down my pj's bottoms, I stood in front of the toilet and was confused thinking, "Where is my penis?"  But the need to pee over rode much thought, and quickly turned around and sat down to pee.  All day long I felt off kilter, and was confused every time I went to the bathroom.  I have had these dreams ever since, when I was younger they were much more frequent, and as I have aged my dream boy self has aged along with me.

I have always been told to stand like a girl, sit like a girl, act like a  girl, talk like a girl, which always confused me to the point of not knowing how to act in any given situation.

While I was taught to do all the normal girl stuff, cooking and sewing and the like, every minute possible was spent outside running around, normally with my trusty iron steed, my bike.  I was forever falling off stuff, over stuff, out of things, up things, and more normally down stuff.  I loved burning ants with a magnifying glass, catching bees in a jar and shaking it to see them get all angry.  Yeah, I never claimed to be very smart….., and yeah I did let them out on occasion getting stung every single time, again me being a kid.  We lived in apartment complexes and while there were girls around, to be honest I only really ever played with the boys.  Football was my favorite sport.  It combined several of my most loved activities, running, knocking people down, and mud, mud, mud!  If I could still see the color of what I had on, it wasn't a good game for me.  I never wanted to control the ball, nah that was boring.  I was fearless and no matter the size of the boy I would run at them full tilt, rarely failing to ground them.

Now I had a cousin that I was very close too, he was 15 months younger than me, but he was always bigger and taller than me.  Time has passed and I'm around 12 now, and my crazy mom has dumped me off on my aunt and uncle for the summer, which was fine by me!  And one fine day, the cousin and I were out with a gang of boys, and Cuz said something that angered me, quicker than quick he was on the ground with me sitting on his chest slapping his face.  Well, needless to say that caused him to lose face among the neighborhood boys, he was so furious with me that we didn't speak for a few days.  Each day I'm getting madder and madder at him, because the local boys are siding with my Cuz and I'm left alone with nothing to do.  One afternoon I over hear them planning a cow pie fight, which was one of my favorite things ever!  So, I decide to swallow my pride and apologize, grovel if need be, anything that will allow me to be included in the fun.

I know if the apology is in front of everyone it will been seen as having learned my lesson, so I swallow that humble pie and out I go to grovel and be allowed back in their good graces.  I go out.  I laid it on thick, and deep.  Made him the good guy.  I was the villain.  He just looked at me and said, "You just don't get it.  You are a girl.  Go do girl stuff, I'm tired of you hanging around."  After sputtering around for a bit, he repeated himself to me in no uncertain terms, "You.  Are.  A.  Girl.  Go away."

I was hurt and devastated to say the least.  Things did improve between us before the summer was over, but I had to be invited along, no longer was it just accepted that I could tag along.  And I was often left at home.

School would be starting soon, and so it was back home to live again.  One day I woke up and felt rather odd and icky, but went to school anyway.  As the day progressed I couldn't figure out why I felt so weird, but shrugged it off and continued on.  By the time school ended I had an upset stomach and felt just icky.  I go to the bathroom and there is blood… at first I thought I was dying.  And then I remembered the school nurse taking the girls aside and telling them the facts of life.  While she was explaining things to them I wondered why I was in there with them.  This had nothing to do with me, so why was I included?

And then it dawned on me, my Cuz was right, I am a girl, and my life tilted completely out of balance.  Massive amounts of tears, and large scale grief, and dark black days of depression.  I had no frame of reference, nothing to hang on to. I was a girl, a girl?  How on earth did that happen, and when?  I pulled away from the kids at school and started skipping a lot of days, my life was adrift on a sea of uncertainty.  It seemed that month by month my body was changing, and there was no way to stop it, and I hated every single change.  Boys wouldn't let me play with them any longer, and I had nothing in common with the girls, they lived in a alternate world without a guide book.

I'm now 15 and my home life has completely spun out of control.  My mother is going through a very long, unbroken spell of crazy.  She is beating me a great deal and the mental abuse is crushing. I have somehow become the parent/adult in the house.  Its my job to take the $8.00 and go and by food for the week.  My job to cook, clean, wash and iron, check the mail, and remind her to pay the bills.  And at night many times after her losing complete control of her anger and beating me, she pleads from her bedroom for me to come in a tuck her in….and don't forget to turn on the nightlight…

This is also the year that I realize that I have something that boys want, my body.  Still not reconciled to being a girl, it's a rather nice feeling to have someone want that part of me.  I work on the weekends as a busboy, my mom was a waitress at the private club.  Now one of the cooks sees how my mom treats me in front of everyone, and he is very sweet to me, and I'm desperate for a kind word, a nice gesture.  One thing leads to another, and the innocent that I was, he got my clothes off me, praised my beauty and starting having sex with me.  I panicked and tried to get him to quit.  Stop!  So, my first time was forced, what a lovely way to lose ones virginity, huh?  He came back several times, and I was conflicted about it.  I loved being held, and being told I was pretty, and being touched that didn't involve pain.  But the sex I really didn't want, and didn't like, and I always tried to make him stop, and he never would.

The sex, the abuse from my mom, the girl body became more than I could bear, and it opened up a dark well inside of me.  I started drinking, and hanging around older guys, and if they would get me drunk or high I would have sex with them.  It wasn't me they were having sex with, it was my body, which wasn't me at all.  I stopped eating and at one point weighted around 86 pounds.  I truly didn't care if I lived or died.  I had nothing to live for.  And then one day I woke up in the next town, with people I didn't know, naked.  I called my Angel Uncle and he came and got me, no questions asked.  From that day on, I started cleaning up my life.  I had decided that living for me, was enough to live for.

And I started trying to be more girlish, and started wearing much more feminine clothing and trying out makeup.  I have made it out of the house only a few times in my entire life with lipstick on.  I apply it, and then at the last moment run and wipe it off, for whatever reason that is just one thing I can't manage to reconcile myself to wearing.

The only time I have really enjoyed and loved my girl body is when I was building babies.  But those years were very short lived, and it was back to hating my body.  To explain the extreme disconnect between me and my body, I looked in the mirror as little as possible.  I was often surprised when reflections from oddly placed mirrors in stores and businesses turned out to be me.  It always took me a few minutes to recognize that reflection as myself, well it still does.  I've stopped avoiding mirrors lately, but am still surprised by what I see, but at least I understand why I have these feelings.

Since my coming out birthday in January, I have done a great deal of soul searching, and have made a few discoveries.  If I could, I would transition, no doubt about it.  Hormones, top surgery, and metoidioplasty.  However, I can see no way at all of doing so without losing what I have worked so hard at building, a family.  They might accept my status as transgendered, but I sincerely know they would never accept me in a male form.  And my husband has made it very clear, that changing the girl package is not something he would accept.  So, keep the girl body, keep my husband and my adult sons, and lose myself.  Or gain myself by transitioning, and lose husband and sons….

So the disconnect between what I am and what I see will continue forever, or until I just can't stand it any longer.  Right now I'm really having issues with the realization that there is no way for me to transition.  And every single time I'm perceived as female, it hurts.  I'm ok with having to live this way one moment and then crashingly despondent with the knowledge this is who I will be forever.  I will never have a chance to be the real and true me.  My image will never reflect who I really am, and that is hard for me to cope with.

Here I stand, on a fence, the grass is greener on both sides, and sides are filled with grief.  No matter what I chose, I lose.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Alphabet Wars

I know that as a group the LGBT are not the most cohesive group ever. We only have a few things that truly bind us together, the lack of civil rights, the need for civil rights, and a banding together for protection. And while it makes sense that we don't see eye to eye on many topics, there is one topic that we all should agree on. If you self identify as any of the letters in LGBT then you are family, we have your back and you have ours.

However, there is grief afoot in rainbow land. The fight to get ENDA passed has many of the LGB community throwing T under the bus. They are so eager to have protection under the law, and really who can blame them, that they are willing to start pushing people off of the life raft to get what they want, civil rights. A discussion on ENDA at The Bilerico Project on April 29, 2010 brought one person to say this in the comments.

I have contacted my representative and 2 senators to make clear that I and the gay constituents I know all support passage of ENDA with or without protections for so-called "gender identity".

I (hopefully) made clear that the inclusion of this extraneous category was the product of political maneuvering among certain gay groups, but that it had no resonance with the vast majority of gay voters. If legislators are wary of creating a federal right to sue employers over "gendered" bathroom access and workplace cross-dressing, then the answer is to cut that out of the bill and consider it separately.

That is what I told my reps. As to the folks on this blog, I can only ask why you are so insistent on driving a wedge in our community by insisting that ENDA go down to defeat rather than remove gender identity. Very divisive, IMO.

Suze | April 29, 2010 2:09 PM

Ok, so "Suze" shot a few holes in the life raft. It seems as though she doesn't believe in gender identity, and wants HER civil rights even if it means denying someone else theirs.

And unfortunately there are many in the LGB who don't believe that T should be a part of the family. They claim that with LGB its all about sexual orientation, and that T is about gender orientation. Hmm, well could be, could be, but then look at it this way. "Leaf" is born male, but Leaf's gender is female. Leaf's orientation before transitioning is "straight" as Leaf is interested sexually in women. Leaf has SRS, and yes Leaf is still sexually attracted to women, and now not only has Leaf's body transitioned, but her sexual orientation has as well, Leaf is now a lesbian. Or in my case I'm androgyne, which means my gender is both, and I lean more on the male side of the scale. So.... I guess that I am both straight and gay? My female side enjoys men, as does my male side.

If any of you read AJ, then I'm sure that you read his post on Bisexual softball players having to fight to be included in the Gay World Series. If you haven't heard of this, click here to catch up.

How many times have you heard someone say that Bi is only a station stop on the way to admitting that they are in fact gay. Ok, in our society, yes it can be a much easier step to think of one's self as bisexual rather than gay. For many teens labeling themselves as bi is a much easier for them to handle. If you stop and remember your teen years, do you remember the raging hormones? The silliest things that could set you off? Yeah, a puff of wind blows by 3 counties over and your ready! And for many, these raging hormones confuse the whole orientation question, because if anything turns you on, how can you see clearly who you are truly attracted to?

Yes there are actually bisexual people out there, lurking in our alphabet world. They take a great deal of hate from both gays and straights. It must be hard to be hated by so many, and to be understood by so few.

The other day I read something that caused me to pause and re-read, and read yet again. Yes, this person actually said if you were LG and had only had sex with a same sex person, you were a "pure" gay. Pure? Alrighty then! And on this very blog was a discussion of hatred towards effeminate gays. I see it all the time, men describing themselves as "masculine" "manly", as opposed to "girly" or "fem". I wonder if part of this is indeed masked sexism, I don't know.

What I do know is this, we are a minority in our country who are deprived of our civil rights, and every step forward seems paired with a step back. Attitudes are changing in our country towards more acceptance and more support for civil rights being at long last bestowed on LGBT. It is slow and often glacial movement, when by rights our civil rights were already granted in the laws of our nation, but were taken away with unconstitutional laws. It's time we stopped this inner bickering, this judging each other on our worthiness, asking if "they" should really be allowed to join the club, and unlike the parable, put all of our eggs in one basket and push for rights. Even if you don't plan on getting married, have no interest in serving in the military, and your sex and gender match so using a public restroom is easy peasy.

I watched this video over at today, and this young man says it better than I have ever heard before. Enjoy!