I’ve tried in vain thumbing through my archives the last couple days to find an essay I wrote for a writing class 14 years ago. It chronicled over half a dozen distinct moments when I’d questioned or confirmed my gender and/or sexuality. I read it out loud to my classmates, who were super accepting (Santa Cruz does get some things right). For the record, coming out shows up on privilege checklists – cishets never face coming out at all; I’ve done it a couple dozen times.
I have a very distinct memory (I think this is actually going to be more detailed than the account in my lost essay) from when I was five years old. I have very few distinct memories from that time, but this one’s stayed clear, over a quarter century later. I was at a pool party in El Centro (which is a hideously hot little town in the Imperial Valley) and I stepped away from all the playing kids and leaned against some kind of column. I started daydreaming. That I could push on the side of the column and step through into a place nobody else knew about. (this was long before Rowling introduced Platform 9 3/4)
The room I was led to was basically a hallway, with clothes of every type and style available. I would be able to drop my trunks in a hamper, gleefully browse a bin of girl’s suits, choose one, and put it on. Somehow, magically, walking through the center of the room would pass me through a shimmery forcefield curtain… and the suit would fit right. I was a girl.
Snap back to harsh reality. Boy trunks. With all the trimmings.
I would return to this fantasy dressing room countless times, but that’s the first time I remember super clearly. This may sound like a Fictionmania story, but was twelve years before that site even launched. So yeah… I’ve known since then. I was about 15 when I learned the word “transgender”. At the time, I would go into IRC channels as a feminine “alter-ego” – completely unironically and without trolling. Just… being me.
Even now, I’m still learning new things. Social media is incredible. I’m connecting with so many people who can actually act kinda like a mirror for me. This is… well, like I said before, stories are tremendously important. Sometimes you can’t know who you are until you see yourself reflected in others. Hearing current stories about parents who are helpful and supportive of their very young trans children? Remarkable.
And I’m still learning new things about myself. I called myself a non-binary cross-dreamer in my previous post. I think I’ve been hiding behind that for the last ten years. Well… nine years and nine months? -ish? Nope. Definitely all girl up here [taps forehead] Since my post last week, my dysphoria’s ramped up about 5,000% – not quite certain I can handle not transitioning now. Brains are weird.
I’m scared. I have massive insecurities about my voice, and my shoulders, and my feet, and my legs. Some of those would be mitigated by HRT… but… the effects of puberty will never go away. That’s why it’s so damn important to be supportive of kids. They know. Already. When there’s still time to make things relatively easy. I love my wife. I love our kid. Both with all my heart. I would never give up this family for anything. Just sometimes wonder what could have been.
Maybe it is time. We have our wonderful child now, with no plans for any more biological ones. In fact, I’ve been putting off getting a vasectomy – perhaps there was a subconscious thought along the lines of “why bother with that, when you could get an orchi instead?” I haven’t seen a doctor (other than immediate care) in over a decade. This is the impetus to change that.