You have questions. I will endeavor to answer them. But feel free to ask more questions if I haven’t, or you can’t find the answers below. I’m very open about this, I just like to be sure how much the person I’m talking to wants to hear. This document will be revised as the answers change. Expect that, I guess.
There have been some more changes throughout, and see the status update at the bottom.
Let’s get started. I’m queer: nonbinary and transfeminine.
Yes, that’s right, I am identifying as transfeminine where my gender is concerned, which is an aspect of being nonbinary. It’s a big thing, as things go, I agree. Still me, though. But more so.
Background for folks who don’t know me
Quick catch up: When I was born I was assigned male, and lived that way for about fifty years. I had all the boy stuff: beard, bald spot, gut, laissez-faire attitude. Then this. And now you’re up to date!
How… I mean, when… I mean, what… happened?
Yeah. I wish I had a really concrete answer to this. It happened in June of 2020, and was something of an epiphany. I’ll probably write about it at some point. The gist is that there wasn’t a point where I made any kind of decision. Rather, it was a cascade of discovery, once it had occurred to me to ask the question. There was a suddenness to it that took my breath away.
And yet, also, it feels like it was a long time coming. I keep thinking of events, or feelings, or memories where I say to myself, “Oh! I see now…“
I don’t have a lot of answers, there’s a lot going on in my head, a lot I still don’t quite understand, but I’m giving myself the grace to be a bit of a mess right now.
Through it all, though, I’ve never wavered in my certainty that this is me.
So, what’s your gender identity, then?
I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. I do know for certain that I don’t identify as male.
When I first discovered this, I thought I might be nonbinary, with a feminine bent, and that’s what this FAQ answer used to say. Then I thought maybe I was a woman, with a tiny scootch of nonbinary. Now, that’s shifted back again towards the nonbinary!
What you should get out of this is: I don’t know, exactly. But right now I’m calling myself queer, and transfeminine.
This will continue to change as I continue to explore, imagine, and identify what the fuck is going on with me. 🙂
What does your gender expression look like now?
This is also part of a process at the moment. Since starting to explore my gender identity, I’ve also been exploring how I might express that. I’ve had an earring for decades, and been shaving my underarms for about as long. For this, though, I started by shaving off my beard of thirty years (yes, that’s why I did that). I began keeping my eyebrows trim. I shaved my shoulders once and can never go back. I grew my fingernails out. Nothing I tried felt wrong.
I tried growing my beard back and that felt really wrong. I lasted a week.
I think my gender expression is likely to be “confused/confusing” for a while. Some days I feel more feminine. Some days I don’t. Some days I want to paint my nails and shave my legs. Some days I want to be tall and strong. Those aren’t incompatible! But it’s a process.
All that said, it is important to note that gender identity and gender expression are not required, by you, me, or anyone, to match up in some standard algorithm. Women (trans or otherwise) do not owe us femininity. Men do not owe us masculinity. Nonbinary people do not owe us androgyny.
Are you changing pronouns? Yes!
Yes. I’d love it if you would refer to me as she/they.
It took me a little more than a year, but I’m finally at the point where I feel unhappy being referred to with male gendered words. I spent 50 years as he/him, and it’s been hard to extricate myself, but the last month or so it’s made me feel uncomfortable being called Dad, or father, or him.
Of course, being referred to as she/they makes me uncomfortable, too! Ha! But other trans people say it starts out hard and gets easier as you get used to using new pronouns and hearing others use them.
I know that she/they is kinda weird, but it just means that I’m kinda nonbinary, and don’t mind either set of she/her or they/them.
What’s your sexual orientation now?
Still like women. Can’t see that ever changing. I have no interest (less even than before?) in man parts playing any part in my relationships, my romance, or my sexy sex.
I guess that makes me a lesbian.
This is a big change!
That said, to me it feels more like recognizing a reality that has always been there, rather than a wholesale change. Still, I see how it might seem like a big change to you all, and I do want to acknowledge that.
For me, it’s been a long process of exploration with not a few setbacks. Over the past year+ I’ve visited with a therapist, a psychiatrist, two psychologists, and an obgyn. I’ve had long, heartfelt talks with my journal. I’ve had longer, emotional but warm and mutually affirming talks with my wife-partner-best friend. As of this writing, it’s only been
eight eleven fourteen months, but it feels like a lifetime (that could be the pandemic speaking).
This FAQ, and other things I plan to do, will hopefully help my friends and family ease into it. Just as writing, planning, and thinking about it (just about every waking moment) has helped me ease into it.
How worried are you?
In the past, when I entertained thoughts of what I would think/do if my children came out to me as some variety of non-cishet, my number one concern was always for their happiness. How would they navigate a society that still (fuck it all) doesn’t accept people regardless of who they are?
It seems a little out-of-body to think about myself that way. I’ve spent 50 years on easy mode, as Scalzi puts it. I find it hard to wrap my head around my life being different than that.
I’m not worried. That may be naive.
What’s your name, now?
I’d love it if you would call me Dani.
Picking your own name is a really personal project, and it’s been a long process for me. I’ve tried out a lot of names in my head, and one or two online and in a support group. I’ve even reserved a few domain names I won’t be using now!
In the end, all the people who love me already call me this, and it’s lovely and fits me. They just have to spell it differently now.
I’m not at the point where I’m changing my name legally though. The paperwork of that process gives me a headache. I’ve been an adult for a long time and there’s a lot of stuff in that guy’s name. Ugh.
Why are you doing this?
That’s a legitimate question, and it really deserves a longer answer. Let me just say that I have spent a long time being mostly unhappy, and mostly unaware of that fact, and that since I came to this realization, I am excited to be me.
I have a lot of responsibilities, to my wife, my children, my family and friends, and to myself. I am doing my best to live up to those responsibilities by being empathetic, careful, and loving as we negotiate these changes together.
I can see where someone might argue that living up to those responsibilities means not doing this. To put it succinctly, that’s bullshit. I’m a better person when I am being me, a better parent, a better partner, a better friend.
Why are you doing this?
A friend asked me why I was being so… public about this. The short answer is, I don’t want this to be a secret.
I’m putting this in a FAQ because I want people to know what is happening to me. I don’t want to hide it. I don’t want to suddenly appear in their lives as a different person (because I’m not a different person). And, frankly, I don’t want myself, or my family, to go through it alone. We need our community.
So then, why the anonymity? Why isn’t my name on this? Because as much privilege as I have, this is not just my journey. What I am doing affects the people I love. We are navigating it together, and this is one of the decisions we’ve made.
How’s it going? (Updates here!)
May 8, 2021
It’s going pretty well. I’ve come out to most of the people in my circles, and have yet to have a bad reaction. I’ve got some internal stuff I’m working through, but it’s not about my gender identity. Last week I started gender affirming hormone treatments (commonly called hormone replacement therapy, or HRT).
You might have noticed above where I mentioned I had an obgyn? Yeah, she’s part of a whole team at a hospital here who make up a gender diversity clinic. She’s the one prescribing these hormone drugs.
In short, I’m taking something to block testosterone, and I’m adding estrogen to my body. You can learn more about it here (and if you want to read some of the other stuff there that’s cool, too).
This is… well it’s a step you take when you’re sure, because several of the changes are not reversible. I’m sure.
July 29, 2021
Big step this week, deciding on a name and pronouns that fit me. My name’s Dani, and I’d love it if you referred to me as she/they.
It’s taken me over a year to get to this point, and I freely admit I’m not 100% used to it, but I also won’t get used to it if I never start. It almost feels bigger than coming out.
I have more questions!
Completely expected, so do I! If you already know how to get a hold of me, then I’m very likely to want to answer your questions. Let’s chat!
If you’re a stranger, well-meaning or otherwise, I’m not taking questions or comments at this time.
Last Updated on July 30, 2021 by admin