What it Means To Be Transgender: One Gal's Story

What It Means to be Transgender: One Gal’s Story

Written by a Transwoman

When you are young and act as a girl, and tell people you are a girl, but have a boy’s body people get very upset with you. I believe they react this way for many reasons. Some of it is out of concern for you and some of it is out of concern for themselves and others. They see your behavior as abnormal and feel they have to fix you. You are told you are a boy and expected to act as a boy or there will be very, very bad things happen to you. You become confused about whom you are. Since it is only natural to resist not being yourself, the techniques that are used to “fix you” get progressively stronger until you outwardly abandon your identity. This is a very traumatic experience. This is the point that you first realize that you are unacceptable and unlovable and your lifelong quest to be so begins. You become literally “scared to death” to expose your true self. This fear combines with a strong desire to “do the right thing” these become your great motivators in you quest to be a boy. Your survival instincts kick in. You resolve to take the steps you feel you need to, to be a boy, so that you can become OK. The problem is you never feel OK, you always feel there is something wrong with you.

Unfortunately, this causes another problem. You’re a girl and don’t know how to be a boy, so you do two things. You learn to suppress your true feelings and identity and you set about learning how to be a boy. This is the beginning of living your life with your head and not your heart. It is the reason you find it extremely difficult to make emotional connections with people. It is impossible to feel connected to someone when you desperately feel you have to hide yourself from them to protect yourself.

So you begin to watch what boys do and because you are motivated and smart you eventually get very good at acting like a boy. But, this process is very painful and rocky. Early on, you’re not good at it and the other kids see you as odd and make fun of you, call you names and cause you pain in other ways. You can’t go to anyone for help, not your parents, your teachers, your siblings, or anyone else because to do so you have to reveal yourself, your failure, and as you see it, risk death. You learn that even your religion rejects you and instead of being a source of help and comfort it is just another tool people use as justification to hurt you and “fix you”. You don’t understand why GOD made you this way and why with all of your efforts you can’t change the fact that you are a girl. You desperately want to feel OK but you can’t. You get to the point that you feel even GOD won’t listen to you pleas for help and you wonder if even he can love and accept you. You find that even though you are with people all of the time you feel disconnected and all alone. But you get so good at hiding yourself, your pain, your feelings, and acting as a boy no one realizes what you are going through. You suffer in silence.

Living life like this robs you of your self confidence. How can anybody feel self confident if they believe there is something fundamentally wrong with them and they are unlovable, unacceptable and not OK?

Another thing that happens when learning to live as someone you’re not is that you lose your spontaneity. You can no longer allow yourself to act instinctively in any situation where gender is at issue. With every situation, you have to pause, mentally evaluate, and then make a calculated judgment on how to gender appropriately respond. This makes you appear unsure of yourself, aloof, makes it harder to make friends, and further under minds your self confidence. You begin to feel as an outsider. But some good comes of it, because you find out that if you can survive it all it makes you stronger and that strength helps to save your life later on. It also makes you lopsided. You find you overcompensate by doing male things that you don’t really want to do and avoiding female things you want to do. To make it worse, you do these things to the extreme in an effort to have an even denser shield between you and people to prevent them from seeing you. In a nutshell, you hide yourself even more deeply.

You get so good at interacting with the world as a boy that when you hit puberty you welcome it. You believe that finally this is the thing that will make you feel like a boy and not a girl. But it is just another painful disappointment and failure you have to endure. It doesn’t change who you are, other than making you look less like yourself and this depresses you further but, you continue to endure.

And, for all of your efforts hide yourself you continue to leak out. One way this shows up is as an uncontrollable desire to dress in woman’s clothes, act like a girl and allow yourself the brief freedom to feel yourself, but this too comes with costs. You experience extreme anxiety and stress at the prospect of being exposed; extreme guilt and failure at you inability to change or at least control yourself. In addition, your self confidence takes another hit. It is just repeated pain and suffering you have to endure because the leakage occurs over and over again.

You survival instinct is strong and you find an escape, in this case work, that you can pour all of the negative energy into. You also self medicate with food and drink. These things combine to slowly wreak havoc on your body and health. But you don’t care you are desperate to get rid of the pain. They help you survive now and more importantly when the going really gets tough later on.

You get to the point, after continued heroic efforts, your urges diminished and you believe you have overcome yourself. You meet someone and develop a relationship and get married.

Unfortunately, the urges to be yourself come back with a ferocity you never experienced before. The end result is divorce. Again you have to deal with the pain and guilt of yet another major failure and the fact that you unnecessarily hurt someone you cared about and didn’t deserve to be hurt. This time it nearly destroys you.

Your struggle with yourself gets overwhelming, your sense of failure, your guilt, your pain all conspire to lead you to giving up on life, but somehow you survive. You come to the conclusion that you have to be yourself. You find an organization to help you. You start your transition to becoming the woman you are. You get to the point in your transition where you tell your family. It does not go well. You begin to have doubts and second thoughts about what you are doing and about your ability to make a living. You decide to try again to overcome yourself. You go into years of intensive psychotherapy. You stop the psychotherapy at a point where you believe, once again, you have overcome the challenge GOD saddled you with. You go on with your life thinking you did it, you test yourself, and the feelings do not surface, more evidence that you have been cured. But, at the same time you can’t get rid of constant feelings of unhappiness and depression, but you attribute this to some physical condition.

And then it happens, events in your life collide and cause the feelings of who you truly are to come rushing back. You think again about becoming you and you experience unbelievable joy and happiness. This is your sign. You decide to begin to transition again, but this time for good. Your feelings of unhappiness and depression disappear. You’re elated and petrified at the same time. You find people to help you. You tell your family and significant other. You know they love you but you find you are supporting them more than they are supporting you, but this is OK, you don’t want to lose them. You find the process to be very tough. You wonder why you are doing this at this point in your life and you ask yourself if you are crazy, but you know you no longer have a choice. You have learned having an integrated identity is one of the most fundamental needs of a human being and since you’ve proven to yourself, through major trial and tribulation, that you can’t change your internal identity, you need to change your body to become whole.

The cat is out of the bag, the desire to be authentic has become overwhelming and you welcome it. As you proceed, you experience glimpses of the pure joy and happiness you felt not so long ago when you decided to finally be yourself and this sustains you. But, the toughest thing is yet to come. To be yourself in the world you have to face and overcome your greatest fear, that of literally dying, the “scared to death” feeling, that was instilled in you when you were a little girl. This is too important, with help from others, you become strong enough and you jump off of the cliff and expose your true self to the world. You don’t know if you will live or die. Finally, after a lifetime of struggle and pain you have laid all of your cards on the table and surprisingly you are still alive. You know much work remains, but the hard part is over. After a lifetime of hiding, suppressing, denying, trying to change who you are, and hurting people in the process, you are becoming whole. You finally get to experience what most people take for granted, you are you, and it is absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!