To Physically Transition or Not…
My friend read my mind (and unfortunately made me cry, but in a good way).
I have been thinking constantly about physical transition. Part of me feels I already have transitioned because I accept myself, and know this is who I am. That is NO small step and in many ways I feel it is enough. At least I feel that should be in an ideal world. Yet unfortunately this is not the world we live in. If I want to be treated like a man, I feel I must prove my commitment through physical transition. If I want the men I am interested in to like me for the man I see myself to be, I better conform to the gay male body standard, who would like me if I put my “female body” in their face and proud and still demand to be accepted as a man. Even more though. If I want to be happy, I might have to do this.
At this point I feel I am already the man I am to be on the inside. The rest is surface based – at least in public space. The inner space, cares about that surface too though and for my own health and stability I am considering physical transition (specifically Testosterone and chest surgery). Here are some of my reasons to do it:
- I want my clothes to fit as South Carolina Boy talks about.
- I want to work out without being reminded of my female body – bouncing breasts.
- I want to wake up in the morning to a lighter chest.
- I want to walk around (in front of people!) without my shirt on (although one could argue that female bodied people not being able to do this is kind of messed anyway).
- I want to be recognized as a man and to have people take me seriously (but part of this is b/c people don’t respect women as consistently).
- I want to take a shower without having to be in the dark.
- I want the next person I have a sexual relationship to feel (and help me feel) my body as only magic allows. I want to be able to do this with myself when I masturbate, except it’s really the feelings of impotence (b/c I don’t have a dick) that bothers me there.
- I like and am proud of my scars. So the idea of having a flat chest and large scars excites me 🙂
- I want a very fuzzy beard!! Really I DO!
I have many concerns and reasons why I don’t want to:
- Visibility as a “trans-man” lets me claim female and male experiences and identities publicly. Although most may still see me as a masculine woman, a tomboy, and someone attracted to women.
- I want kids. This is big. I know I might adopt (and not just for identity related reasons), but I want the option! I know T can mess with the female body ability to have a baby.
- T increases risk of cancer. Also the prescribed treatment is to have the uterus removed (this feeds into the previous point). Invasive and I want to beat my grandmother who lived to 101 yrs old.
- T gives me facial hair (for myself) and a deeper voice (more so I can fit in and pass), BUT I feel I CAN embrace myself as a man without it (at least for the moment). I don’t like messing with chemistry – and I’m a chemistry major!
- I respect and like my body. As uncomfortable as I am, it has taken us time to get here and changing it feels like a betrayal.
- I don’t want to do it so I can fit into a binary I don’t agree with, nor fully identify with.
- Fear of people’s judgment. As my sister told me. “I’m just telling you what other people are thinking.” I don’t want to worry about the whispers.
- Fear that Visibility also could make me a target for harassment and make things like travel very difficult and in some cases inaccessible. (big concern if I get chest surgery and do not go on T).
Ultimately the question is can I cope with the day to day without it? The man in this article gives me hope that no matter what physical transition I choose – I can still embrace these parts of me. These pieces I obsess about DO matter, and there are people out there finding solutions and living fully. Ultimately, I might still be able to have a kid with the man of my dreams 🙂 and still be the man of his.
On the flip side, this tells me that no matter what I choose I lose something. It’s not a win win situation, and that makes me sad. I hope for the future but I worry about the things I might have to give up to get there.