Home > Introduction > Something I Didn’t Do

Something I Didn’t Do

Something you may not know about me is that I decided to come out to my parents as trans when I was 17.  I guess I realized yesterday that it was probably an important story to tell here, after I told one of my best friends and she was shocked.  Not because she didn’t think that I had any gender issues, but more likely because she has been an instrumental resource in my gender journey and the fact that I had never mentioned this event seemed strange.  I have mentioned it to my girlfriend, and to one of my other best friends, when he was coming out to me as trans.  Both of them were like, “Why haven’t you ever told me this?”

I don’t actually know why I don’t mention it.  The fact that I almost came out as trans isn’t the driving force in my gender narrative, it’s the fact that something felt dysphoric enough for me to do so.  So I mention it casually in conversation and shock my best friends.  Well, here, for the record: When I was 17, I selected a date and time to come out to my mother as a transman.

See, the thing was that I recognized what was happening in my head.  When I came out to myself as gay (or perhaps, for the purposes of this exercise I should refer to myself as gynephilic), I had to mount a campaign to myself that was full of evidence.  While some of the evidence was rooted in sex/crushes, I was 13 years old.  I didn’t really recognize sexual feelings fully yet.  I knew that I liked girls, that girls made me speechless and blush, that I didn’t like my boyfriend.  But that wasn’t ultimately what swayed me.  What made me know that I was gay was that I had short hair when I was a kid, that people mistook me for a boy, that I liked riding bikes and getting dirty, and that I played softball.  In short, that I was like a boy, not a girl.  That’s how I decided I was gay when I was 13.

I was an enlightened kid.  I knew that that stuff didn’t mean I was a lesbian, it just meant that I was a tomboy, and that that wasn’t a bad thing.  Something that is interesting to me is that my coming out headspace may have differed from others I have read about.  I’ve heard people say things like, “I knew when I was 5.” and I’ve heard people say things like, “I knew something was different, I just didn’t have the vocabulary forit.”  Well, I started to know when I was 11, and I always had the vocabulary for it.  My parents had gay friends.  I don’t know who they were, as they never came over for dinner, but my parents told me what gay was, what it meant, and that it wasn’t bad.

Similarly, I knew what “trans” was. I knew there were people who changed their sex, that it was because they felt like they were always different from the sex they were born as, and that it wasn’t bad.  I’ve wondered how my increased vocabulary has affected my ability to come out to myself.  I know when I was coming out as gay, I always thought: “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay…it’s just not for me.  I can’t be that, can I?”  That is something I’ve heard people say before.

As I said, I started to recognize my crushes when I was 11.  For two years – before I came out as bi to a friend – I would go through these cycles, where I’d feel a certain way towards a certain girl, and then I would realize what it meant, and it would make me sick, and anxious, and depressed.  And I’d lay awake at night – yeah, after my nightly masturbation session – and say, “Why was that what made me come?” And I’d know.  And I’d hate myself.  The first time it cycled, I obsessed over it for 3 days, and it didn’t come back for a month.  And then, I obsessed over it for a week, and it came back in two weeks.  My anxiety would come back more frequently, and for longer, until I was 14, and I realized I knew what this was and I was gay.  Then my anxiety was built around how I was going to tell my parents.  I told them when I was 15.

My questioning of my gender has happened in a way very similar to this.  Cycles of anxiety.  What a horrible feeling.  And so, when I was 17, I thought to myself: I know what is happening. I have been here before.  I know what this is, and realizing that I’m trans will be just like realizing that I’m gay.  These cycles will happen more and more frequently, until I’m so depressed and scared that I can’t live my life, just like when I was gay.  I should just come out, because it is inevitable.  Even if I don’t want it to be true, this same pattern means it is inevitable.

So I set the time and date out a month in advance.  And when I was supposed to do it, I took a deep breath, said, “Mom, I -” and stopped talking. I don’t know why.  I’m glad I didn’t. I wasn’t ready.

This post isn’t intended to read as if I am coming out as trans.  I hesitate to say “I’m not trans”, because I still struggle with the idea that I might be.  But I’m not trans, for now.  I’m just talking about a storyline in my butch narrative, a time when I was gender dysphoric when I identified “simply” as female.  I’ve said before that I hesitate to look back from my vantage point now and say, “Aha! This is the way it’s always been.”  But stories like this are reminders that I am growing into the person I am because of where I’ve been.

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Categories: Introduction
  1. May 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    This is fantastic. I don’t have much to say that’s intelligent other than: wow, gender is so fucking complicated.

  1. June 2, 2010 at 11:02 am

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