How do you know if transitioning is right?

One person I feel a deep connection with, athough I have never met him, is Matt Kailey. His book Just add hormones made a huge impact and I am forever thankful. I missed gay transmale idols and humour, and he filled that gap. On Mondays he posts answers to questions from his readers. There is always a lot of food for thought there, and I really recommend reading his blog. The quotes here are from his post Ask Matt Monday: Is This Enough Reason to Want to Transition?

I subscribe to the philosophy that transition is a necessity, and that if you need to transition, you will, and that if it is right for you, you will know.

I tried for years to define male and female, gender and sex, thinking that I needed to know what these were before I could do anything about how I felt. No one has ever been able to define these concepts in simple ways without excluding several groups of people or their experiences. And neither could I. This made me more and more depressed. When I finally decided to follow my gut feeling instead of my head, I felt extremely relieved. Les videre

Madonna and me

Here I would insert the non-existing picture of me and the pop star.

Years ago, before I started my transition, I wrote a blog post in Norwegian with this same title. I had just heard Madonna state that she was a gay man in a woman’s body. I had also heard Annie Lennox statement about being reincarnated in her next life with a penis.

Both these statements by well known musicians made an overwhelming impact on me. At the time I knew I was gay and that my body felt weired, but I had not yet taken any steps to transition. I felt very alone, very depressed. I thought I was the only one feeling this way about gender and sexuality. All the transmen I’d heard of was very masculine and straight. Les videre

"Passing" too much? (Son of a preacher man)

It is kind of funny, but I guess I have a strange sense of humour.

I recently got a letter from the GID clinic explaining that they have done nothing wrong in denying me diagnosis and treatment. They still won’t accept me as a man. As expected, but still a bad christmas gift.

I am visiting my parents’ and today I went to church with them. My father is a reverend out in the countryside. After church, a woman came up to me and said «You must be the reverend’s son. You look so much like him» and introduced herself.

Later, while I was outside smoking, a man walking his dog stopped and started talking to me. I soon realised that he was mistaking me for my father, but had only seen him at a distance.

I feel like I am at a turning point. It is still more important to me to be seen as male, than vanity regarding my age. But I feel that it is about to change. I know I look a lot like my father, but I am not happy to be mistaken for him. After all he is 24 years older. I guess the man didn’t know that. At least I hope so.

(I am not very fond of  the word passing and usually use it in an ironic sense.)

First week on T and my fellow T-mates

I noticed some changes today. I think it is happening really fast. I experienced increased acne few days after I started. My voice is pretty low to begin with, but today I noticed that I was unable to reach the higher tunes without a great deal of stress on my voice. I experienced a lowering of the voice during the first half of 2006. I did’t get my hormone levels checked, as I thought it was just a ever lasting cold. But now I wonder if that may have been some sort of high testo or just a mental effect of coming to terms with my gender identity. It might even be that when I allowed myself to be the man that I am for the first time, it sparked some weired changes in my hormone levels. I guess I’ll never find out for sure.

I also thought I noticed some increase in the hair growth on my stomack, where I apply the testogel, but that seems to be just imagination. Otherwise I would end up in fur before the end of summer. But the skin in my face is really changing, and not only because of acne. All my pores seems bigger.

Today I also got my first experience of what a male sex-drive might be like. Very strange. I’ve concidered myself as male in that respect for a long time, but today was different. I felt my whatever-you’d-like-to-call-it getting hard and everything happened faster than I’m used to. It has also grown a little bit, I think, but I’m not sure.

We are four transmen at WordPress starting T roughly at the same time:

Jacky started T may 26. Today he writes of his changes, including the sex-drive.

Ryan started T may 29.

Gender Outlaw started T april 2.

And me, june 5.

It’s kind of a similar feeling as I got the first time I met someone born the same day as me. Way cool!

We have different doses and brands. I believe I’m the only one on gel?

I’m 30 y.o., Gender Outlaw is 34, Jacky is 35 and Ryan is 22.

Ryan lives in Australia, I live in Norway, Jacky in Canada and so does Gender Outlaw.

Bilder – Dag 1 på testo

Det gror faktisk noen hår på brystkassa mi, men de er umulige å se på bildet.

What if I was born with a male body?

Cheerful Megalomaniac wrote earlier today: «I have to be honest, I wish with all my heart that I could have just been a normal guy, but I know that if I had been a normal guy, I probably would have been an entirely different person… and I kinda like me how I am.»

That reminded me of some things people have told me, like jokes, but serious deep down:

  • «If you had a penis, you’d be at home wanking all day long», my ex-boyfriend used to say – yeah, I guess. In stead I’m involving myself in queer politics, writing and a lot of other more productive activities.
  • «You know that you can get away with that just because you’re a girl? If I did that, people would think I was a misogynist macho-prick», a friend of mine said. – I’m afraid it’s true. I do a lot of things that are considered cool for a woman to do or say, but a sign of less intelligence if a man does it. And now I have to re-think some of my habits and ways of expression. If I’d been born a boy physically, I guess I’d never had to think about this stuff, and I would probably be really unconcious towards sexism.
  • I also have some typically male flaws that get balanced by my female upbringing.

I actually don’t think I would have been a very nice person if my body matched my soul and mind from the start. As I’m getting older, I’m beginning to like who I am. After I started my new life as a man, I feel more secure, happier and more social. I’ve gotten new friends who I love, and my few old friends have gotten closer. There’s also many things that I would never fully apreciated, things I would have taken for granted, if my body had been right from the start.

After all, I’m not really sure if I would have been born any other way. I would have been a very different person. Being male in a female body is quite a big part of what makes me into me. And I am learning to like the person I’ve become. Sometimes I’m actually happy.

Reasons I once had not to transition (warning: sexist etc.)

1. A woman is a woman is a woman. The notion that your sex is your destiny. Biology is everything.

2. All women want to be men. Feminism is just a way to cover this up. Those who transition is just weak. All female femininity is just an act. We all have penis-envy.

Of course, this was true for me, but not everyone else – far from it.

3. A femalebodied person who wants to be a man and have issues with her body is just a victim of the patriarchy and the beauty industry. Feminism will teach her how to achieve inner peace.

4. Transsexual men are all heterosexual (as in attracted to women). That means I’m not transsexual. They are also very macho and into cars and beer. I’m an intellectual with a taste for white wine and books.

5. Transsexuals don’t have kids. Transmen would never be penetrated by another man, and certainly not in their vagina. I’ve no problems with that, and got a child that way. So I couldn’t possibly be trans.

6. Transsexuals verify gender roles and sterotypes. Of course, that was not my cup of tea.

7. A gay transman would be of no interest sexually to other gay men because he lacks a penis.

Happily this is not the case. Especially bi-sexual men seem to be more open and able to percieve you as you do youself. And even some gay men won’tbe discouraged by your lack of penis, or later; the size of the one you have.

8. The first words of a transsexual boy is «I’m a boy, not a girl. And I don’t like to wear dresses».

That last one still bothers me a bit, mostly because it seems to bother my therapists…

The rest of the reasons turned out to be misperceptions and bullshit. I really want to be out in every setting possible to prevent anyone from believing those half-truths, like I did for many years. I was misinformed, also by other transpeople, and it caused me a great deal of pain. It takes some effort not to be bitter about this. I really try.

I’ve discovered that the only thing of importance is that I percieve myself as a man and wants to be one. Transmen come in a great variety.

Do women have a harder time accepting transsexualism? And why?

This turned out to be the subject of a discussion with one of my mates the other day. He stated that many of the women he knows have negative responses to me being trans and «changing sex». He found this strange, because it’s common to assume that women in general are more relaxed  towards gays and lesbians. So you would think that they would feel the same way about trans-issues. But according to him they don’t.

Instead they react with fear and hostility. (I must mention that the women he referred to all have higher education and often don’t come forward as traditional women, some are rather masculine.)

We tried to analyze this reaction to try to figure out what causes it. We have previously talked about the fact that women discovering their partner to be trans*, tend to end the relationship more often than men in the same situation do. We then concluded that most women base their relationships on trust and honesty. A partner coming out as trans would then signify an emotional betrayal, that is very hard for a woman.

My friend said that this would be the case also when there’s no intimate relationship involved. I disagreed. I think the reasons lie deeper and has to do with how women identify themselves.

First of all, women are used to being identified by their sex much more often than guys. The women we know are more likely to have had issues with that growing up. My guess is that they’ve all been through a process of accepting their femaleness and fight for their right to be the way they are and still be women. They identify as feminists. I’ve been through that myself, but without the happy ending.

For most women, and especially the ones we know, sex and gender are at the core of a person’s identity and personality. I think that’s why women partners of transpeople take it harder than the men.

Second, the idea that one can change one’s sex reviels the insecurities of these women. My guess is that «What if I too…» is one of the first thoughts that goes through their minds. And then they feel they have to distance themselves from it. That someone transition from female to male becomes a threat to their own identity.

At the same time most men don’t seem tho have these issues. Of course, they don’t identify with their sex at the same level and do not feel compelled to do it. I must say that feminism and women’s liberation might have contributed to women identifying so deeply with their sex with the focus on sisterhood. I really don’t see how having a female body and identifying as a woman should mean that you have much in common with half the world’s population and ought to treat them as sisters. But that might be part of my trans-issues.

Anyway; men don’t identify with other men the same way. In this context it comes out as trans-positive. They don’t feel treatened, even if the case is a male to female transition. In addition, men are more likely to accept what they see instead of what they feel. In other contexts that can be a problem, but in this one it leads to accepting transpeople, at least when we pass or express gender in a way they can recognize.

I think that men often are being portrayed unnecessarily negative by some feminists. There are so many nice men out there, gay and straight, and I think they deserve more credit.

When I think about it, the women’s day is maybe not the best time to post this reflection. I do it anyway.

My story in short

My transition from female to male started whith the realization that I’ve never been a woman. I’ve known that for many years without letting anyone know, and without realizing what it really meant for me to be «not a woman».

Two-three years ago i accepted that I am indeed a man. That makes me a transsexual man. I’ve never been a normal woman, and I’m not going to be a normal man. I’ve always needed to write and I like to stand out from the crowd.

The last one and a half year I’ve been to councelling at the «Gender Identity Disorder»-clinic to prove that I really am a man, so that they can give med the diagnose «transsexualism» and give me testosterone and surgery. I’m now awaiting my approval as a man, aka the diagnose.

To be continued…