I know that I did not choose to be the way I am. I’m writing this after reading an article where the author calls transsexuals (those who seek to change their sex to the gender with which they identify) perverts. His argument is that eroticism causes transgender ‘desires’ as he calls them. It’s all about ‘getting off’ and is supposedly psychological in origin.
Well, I’ll be the first to tell you there is nothing erotic in my need to look and be perceived as male. I’m not doing this to get my rocks off. I’m transitioning because the outside of me (my physical appearance) doesn’t match what is inside of me (my psyche — my mental, social, etc. identity — all of which view me as male). I see myself as male inside and outside, so I want my appearance outside to reflect that.
It’s a big step to transition. You have to go through lifelong hormone treatments (mainly injections — though eventually patches become a valid option once the injections have made necessary bodily changes take effect). I will be going through at least 10 different operations, years of therapy, and other lifelong adjustments. This isn’t anything to take lightly. It isn’t anything that would get anyone horny, either. I don’t know about you, but thinking about surgery is the least erotic thought in my mind.
Since I know I’m not a pervert (ok, at least not when it comes to my gender identity), there has to be some explanation for why I am the way I am. My belief lies in science. Scientists studying minds like my own have discovered biological alterations in those who identify as transsexual. One of the explanations actually fits well with stories of my birth and time in the womb. First, lets discuss the life of a fetus, because that is when I believe the biological bloop occurred.
Prior to my birth, the womb where I stayed had a miscarriage. It was believed that the child would have been a boy. The child was due April of 1980. I was born December of 1980. During the 12th to 14th week of gestation, hormones wash over the brain of the fetus. This creates a mental sex imprint. Stress or perhaps a mix up due to the last pregnancy (i.e. the body was still responding to the miscarried child’s fetus’ activity) caused more testosterone to wash over my brain. This did more than just imprint my brain with the sense that I was male, though my body didn’t show that physically.
Going further, the ob/gyn who was supposed to deliver me had been a doctor for several years. I’ve been told she was seldom wrong in guessing the biological sex of the children she was to deliver. She was certain I was male. I was being carried in a masculine way. Everything she saw from the pregnancy made her believe I was to be a male, which I believe further points to the fact that I was developing inside the womb the way a male should. I just had the wrong anatomical parts. Needless to say, she was shocked when I was born.
Moving on, as a baby, I could be wearing the most feminine outfit and everyone would say what a beautiful little boy I was. I wore my hair short for years, and as long as I was wearing gender neutral clothing I looked like a boy. As a baby, people thought my brother and I were brothers. It just seems funny that over and over, even when I was put in dresses, I was constantly viewed as male. Eventually it got to the point where my anatomy took over, though I was never, ever comfortable in dresses or feminine clothing (I just wore them because I had to, to be on television).
Looking back at pictures of me, when I was little brings remarks (from family and friends) of, “You sit like a guy. Look at you in a dress, sitting in a chair, slumped with your legs wide open. Chillin’!” or “Did you dress yourself? You look more comfortable in your brother’s hand me downs then in that dress.” At that point, I really didn’t understand what gender identity was. I just knew I was supposed to act one way, and I didn’t always want to act that way.
I remember my first crush. It was on a movie star. I didn’t know what gay or transgender was. I didn’t know that my crush was of the ‘wrong gender’ from what I was supposed to like. It was a celebrity crush. I was in love with Kim Cattrall. I remember thinking how beautiful she was and not really feeling anything for any males. Sure, I liked male actors for their acting and I would play along when a friend was like, oh he’s so cute, but I didn’t get it.
As I grew older, I realized there were socially acceptable ways to act, so I played the game as to not arouse suspicion or be told I was weird. I was struggling with that enough due to my disability. I never believed I was gay. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender identity. Many people confuse this, and even I did, because socially I didn’t even know variants in gender identity existed. Even when I could no longer deny my attraction to females, I never felt I was gay/lesbian. I just didn’t have any other word for what I felt. So, I went with the only terms I knew or understood.
By that point, I’d left behind Kim and was in love with Renee O’Connor from Xena. Oddly enough, I never felt any attraction to any of my peers. It was as though my brain had told me it was okay to admire from afar, until I worked out what/who I was in my personal life. I think it also helps that many of my peers weren’t always kind to me. You can’t like people who aren’t nice to you! In a strange way, I’m kind of grateful for that!
In college, after watching a documentary about a man who was transsexual,the pieces finally clicked together. I knew right away that all this time I was always supposed to be male. My sexual orientation was and always has involved being attracted to women. I was meant to be male who loves women not a lesbian. In some ways, I felt slightly cheated for all the time I’d lost, trying to figure out how/why I was different. When all the parts come together, from fetus to how I am today, everything makes sense. I have no doubt that what happened to me was just one of those biological flukes that occur and I hope that this helps people to understand why I am the way I am today.
It’s not an easy road to travel down, being transgender. It’s lonely, especially when friends and family reject you…not understanding this is who you are. This happens a lot. However, I know that all the surgery, hormones and everything else I will and have endured will be worth it when my outer appearance finally reflects how I already see, feel and view myself in my mind and in my soul.
[tags]transgender, hormone wash, transsexual, testosterone, Dominick Evans, personal view, who I am[/tags]