I just came back from the 2015 Philadelphia Trans-Heatlh Conference. I’d gone there once before, in 2012, when I didn’t know what to do except that I needed to do something. I had a funny feeling that I didn’t want to transition directly to Male with a capital M.
In 2012 I was a lurker. I hadn’t changed my name. I hadn’t started to blog, I didn’t know any trans men, and I didn’t know anyone at the conference. I day-tripped from New York so I could go to a workshop on non-binary transition (given by Micah of Neutrois Nonsense). I didn’t talk to anyone, I just gawked. I didn’t feel like I belonged. I felt like a wanna be. Except that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be.
I was envious of the middle-aged guys who transitioned ten years ago. I was envious of the guys who high-fived their long-lost friends and seemed to know everyone at the conference. I went home from the 2012 conference thinking that I wasn’t going to transition, I was just going to do a few things to make myself feel more comfortable. I decided to start by legally changing my name. Continue reading →
Getting a haircut always lifts my mood. I like getting shampooed and having my scalp rubbed. I like the “gotcha” sound of the scissors; the buzz of the razor on my neck. I like the moment when the loose hair is brushed from my shoulders, the cape is whisked off, and I put my glasses on to see how I look. Haircuts make me feel butch. Haircuts make me feel like a boy. Continue reading →
Donna and I were at a dinner party at a friend’s house. We were talking about how we see ourselves; how as we get older we “photoshop” our own image in the mirror. We all saw ourselves as younger than our chronological age. For Donna, the magic number was 37. I was embarrassed to say that mine was 12. Pre-everything. I did not add that the 12 year-old is a boy.
When I am asked why I haven’t transitioned, I usually joke back that the last thing the world needs is another schlubby, short, bald, un-athletic, middle-aged, nerdy, straight, Jewish, white guy. It is a completely uncool image. It is not whom I want to be.
The more accurate answer is that I can picture myself as a boy but not as a man. The truth is, I do not picture myself as an adult of either sex. When I picture myself as a child or as an adolescent, I only see myself as a boy. WIthout breasts. Sometimes I think about top surgery. Mostly I try to look at myself from the shoulders up.
What happens to tomboys when they age out? When being a jock or a nerd no longer protects you? When the pressure to conform mounts? When you find yourself becoming marginalized in settings where you used to fit in? How much do you bend, how much do you give in? Continue reading →