According to my mom, I was showing some signs of gender dysphoria as young as six or seven. I liked my hair short, I cut the hair off my dolls and Barbies and called some of them boys, and even insisted that I was a boy (along with a fairy, Peter Pan, a dog, etc.). I hated things and activities like dress-up or house that were associated with girls. While I didn’t like sports even back then, I liked the “cool” things on the boys’ end of the fun spectrum, things like cars with flame patterns, Power Rangers, and “Star Wars” toys.
I was told that I was a girl, so between that age and puberty, I adopted some girl traits. I grew my hair out and allowed myself to be called a girl, but that was before I realized just how big the gender gap was. When puberty hit, I realized that I hated being female. The monthly sickness (as I call it), the horrible hormones, these chest tumors that everyone called breasts…I really hated my body. I was dealt a bad hand in the genetic lottery (though honestly, it could have been a lot worse).
I knew I was not meant to be female, yet I did not quite identify as male at the time either. I still allowed myself to be called female, yet I secretly identified as androgynous on the inside. It felt better this way for some time.
When I was 19, I finally started having those 18+ fantasies that no one ever wants to mention around their parents. In those scenarios, it was always between men. It might be because I hated my female body, or it might be because I’m gay, but I never liked the female form, and as such, never imagined them. I started to wish that I could be with a man, as a man.
Around age 21-22, I found a counselor at my college campus to tell this all to. He brought up the possibility of me being transgender, and everything fell into place for me. It was a Eureka! moment. Of course, I was a man on the inside the whole time. My counselor encouraged me to pursue my male identity, and I did just that.
I came out to my family, and they were all accepting of it. We already had gay and lesbian family members, so they embraced my identity with open arms. Mom had a feeling the whole time and accepted it long ago; she was just waiting for me to realize myself on my own time. They have no problem calling me by my new name, though they still make pronoun mistakes.
I wore briefs and men’s clothing. I bought a chest binder and an FTM packer. I had never felt more comfortable with myself than when I started transitioning. However, because of my biology, the voice and the chest tumors that still showed through the binder, people still saw me as female. Being overweight didn’t help, either.
Months past turning 24, when I moved out on my own, I started eating gluten free and exercising. I was assured that losing fat and building muscle would help me out. Right now, the chest tumors are a smidge smaller and I have more arm muscle, giving my shoulders a bit more of a broad appearance. I wear a smaller binder that helps a bit more with my masculine appearance, yet not enough to pass.
So, I got the clothes, the binder, the packer, and am currently building muscle. What next?
I have yet to get my name changed legally. All the stuff behind it costs money and a lot of document changes. I really want to get it changed, but I feel that I need some support and time to devote to the actual process. That time has yet to come.
I use the unisex restrooms when I can. When I can’t, I use the women’s restroom. I know that my attempts at passing are not the best, so I don’t want to chance going into the men’s restroom unless the whole building is trans-friendly…and I have yet to find a place like that.
I would like to do hormone replacement therapy. I live in a state with trans-friendly doctors, yet the biggest issue is the price. I have looked up the price for monthly injections of testosterone, and they can be pricey. I’m looking for a doctor now, but odds are I won’t be able to afford it, and HRT isn’t covered by my insurance.
I would also like to have top and bottom surgery done. These chest tumors have been a curse to me since puberty, and I find myself sorely desiring to have the male anatomy, even if it isn’t perfect. Again, the issue is money. I make just above minimum wage and, unless I actually publish some writings and hit it big like J.K. Rowling, this wish won’t happen for decades.
For now, I do what I can to pass, even if it doesn’t work most of the time. I take each day one at a time and focus on more pressing matters: doing a good job at work, buying and eating healthy, exercising, and paying the bills so I can live a comfortable life.