[CW: suicide, depression, dysphoria, rape]
To continue with the more personal leanings of some of these posts, this one is going to be about me, and how I came to the conclusion I was trans. I’ve been thinking about it the last couple of days after it came up in conversation, and it seems like a worthwhile thing to document.
This will likely be a bit scattered, as is my thinking, but hopefully it’ll make sense. This comes from a journal I have been keeping for myself, but I feel that occasionally it may be worth sharing.
It started off slow.
Suddenly gym class required changing rooms. Boys and girls separated when weeks before the classroom had been good enough.
Good enough even when there had been a year of shame that I was an early developer, bullied for having that extra item of clothing that would be so coveted a year from now.
Disgusted by my body long before I had a name for the feeling.
Still allowed to play rugby with the boys though, an asset to the front row by merit of having sprouted first. “You’ve got your dad’s shoulders, a natural prop” praise sang every week.
On that pitch, in the shirt and shorts like everyone else, my body was mine.
Teenager now, and suddenly “girls can’t play with boys”.
So much for being an asset.
Identity all over the place – sexuality the big picture, as we were never taught any different. Oscillating back and forth, gay, bisexual, always queer, no absolute answer.
Suggestion of pansexual, finally a label that fits. An identity that doesn’t make me want to slough my skin and hide from the world.
Using make-up to hide the face I had. Black eyeliner my new best friend. The face I wanted wasn’t the emo kid looking back at me, it belonged to the gender I was told I wasn’t. Fleeting memories of being 14 and jealous when my friends started growing facial hair.
“Tomboy” was the label thrown at me and my sister. Society trying to dictate that our tastes were…what? Wrong? Weird?
Hit uni, suddenly tomboy isn’t cute anymore. The emotional abuse kicks up a gear – 2nd year flatmates determined queer was perverted. Making like hell, the old cliche. 4 suicide attempts in 6 months. Wine for breakfast.
Still made it to class, still passed the year.
Close friends say it’ll all be fine, just turn to god and you will be saved. Works up until the moment they tell you you can’t be queer.
That is the one aspect of yourself you know.
Come out of uni to what? Dead end job and a lot of time to think. Several more suicide attempts, several more abusive relationships that tell you that if only you were more girly you’d fit in the world better.
A person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both or a combination of male and female genders.
A loose fit, like wearing a shirt a few sizes too big, but much more comfortable than the gender roles they have spent 20+ years trying to tailor to fit me. A freedom of sorts, even if it still doesn’t fit straight.
Not that straight was ever on the cards.
Keep going, new job, better friends. Therapy to open up and finally get so much of the hurt out. Like the child you rarely talk about.
That feels like the pivotal moment, someone violating you like that, forcing themselves upon you, and leaving you in a condition that everyone describes as female. A child that you couldn’t bring into the world because of the circumstances.
That you’re not female being the unspoken one.
Looking back it seems so obvious now, the frustration you are feeling is entirely justified. But now comes the trickiest bit: explaining to everyone else.
It takes you a year to be confident enough to tell the person who means most to you in the world, two months to works up the courage to actually tell him, and three days of crying afterwards because you knew there was never a doubt he’d accept you, and you beat yourself up anyway.
The reaction is the one you expected and craved so much: “So, he/his, right?”
The relief is electric, a surge of empowerment and knowing that this is it, you can finally be who you are meant to be.
Telling friends is easy now: you’re friends with them because they’re great after all.
Telling the family is a battle yet to be fought, but one day. One day.
So now you’re Theodore James Methven Graham, also know as Theo, TJ and Teddy.
Now you are you.