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 changes throughout, and see the status update at the bottom.
Let’s get started. I’m queer, transfeminine, and, I guess, a lesbian?
Yes, that’s right, I am identifying as transfeminine where my gender is concerned, with a little nonbinary thrown in. 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 (French for lazy?) 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 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. But I’m now pretty sure I’m female, maybe with a tiny scootch into the nonbinary. Right now I’m calling myself queer, and transfeminine.
This could 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 my beard (yes, that’s why I did that). I’ve been keeping my eyebrows trim. I shaved my shoulders once and can never go back. I’ve been keeping my nails longer. Nothing I’ve tried has 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?
Not at the moment. I spent 50 years as he/him, and I’m not ready
(ever?) for she/her. They/them, ze/zir don’t roll off my tongue. If I can’t do it, how can I expect you all to do it? I’ll answer to whatever, and won’t be offended.
That said, if you want to do something that helps you feel comfortable, you could use something nonbinary, like they/them, but I can’t guarantee I’ll answer to it.
But I think you should expect this to change.
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 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’m not there yet. I do envision, at some point, changing my name to something more fitting my identity. That’s actually okay, as my current name is both easy to convert, if I went that way, but also not too important to me, if I decide to change it completely.
The legal paperwork of the process gives me a headache though. I’ve been an adult for a long time and there’s a lot of stuff in my name. Ugh.
For now, just call me what you’ve been calling me.
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? (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, witness, last week I started gender affirming hormone treatments (commonly called HRT, for hormone replacement therapy).
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.
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 May 8, 2021 by admin