I miss being a girl: trans guy rambles

I’ve touched on this topic before in my post called “Losing a queer identity” where I talked about how being a queer woman was a huge part of my identity. Transitioning means I lost that part of my identity and it makes me sad.

But I think my feelings and thoughts on losing that queer girl identity goes deeper than losing my place in an area of queer culture that I know and love (ok it is a lot about that but there’s more lol *issues by julia micheals starts playing*).

I think my main issue and reason why I miss being a girl is because I don’t like men. I have deep-rooted and internalized issues regarding men. Who doesn’t amirite?!~

I don’t trust men.

I feel uncomfortable around men. A lot of men are sexist and misogynistic. Men rape women. Our culture raises men to be violent and intimidating. Men take up space that is not theirs.

Men scare me.

And now suddenly I am presenting and feeling like I lean towards being a binary guy (I’m not binary but I present and appear as a man to most people). How can I suddenly be a part of this group of people who I generally feel anxiety towards? How can I be a guy if I generally fear and don’t like men?

But that’s where I’m at. I’ve become, I am, something that scares me. I’ve basically become a part of a group that I generally don’t like and that I generally fear.

I didn’t have any close, male friends until college. And even then, I found that I always held myself back. It was never the same type of friendship and camaraderie that I have with women. Perhaps that’s because male friendships are often coded and structured differently because of the patriarchal society we live in. But a big part of that must be that I don’t trust men, even men that I am close to.

The idea that I am seen and interacted with as a man makes me genuinely sad. That’s likely for a few reasons. First of all, I don’t identify as a binary man. Being seen and gendered as a guy definitely makes me more comfortable than when I was gendered as a woman, but my non-binary identity is seemingly erased by my masculine presentation and my physical transition.

But my discomfort with being viewed as a man doesn’t end with my own identity. It branches out into my relationships and my social interactions. Women, both who I know and don’t know, will likely feel the same things about me that I’ve felt about other men.

I likely make women feel uncomfortable, even as I am hyper-aware of my proximity and interactions with women. I remember even being in the same room as a man I didn’t know put me slightly on edge, even if he was being entirely respectful and not even speaking to me.

I could be, and probably am, that source of distrust and discomfort for women around me. And the thing is, I still feel like women and non-binary individuals are my people. Seeing a group of men doesn’t make me eager to join them and become ~one of the guys~ it makes me want to run for the fucking hills.

I miss that friendship you would make with random other girls when you go out and talk in the bathroom. I miss being a queer girl bonding with other queer girls about Hayley Kiyoko and Amy Ordman. I miss being one of the girls. There’s something magical about two women in a relationship (saying that now as a transmasc guy it kinda sounds creepy like those men who shout “hot” at two girls kissing in public) and I’ll never really experience that again as I’m not a girl with another girl.

Being a queer girl made me feel special. I was a part of this great, exclusive club complete with inside jokes and instant friends. Now, I’m just some boring guy. And I know that’s not really true, but on some level, I believe it.

And as much as I want to keep myself in the queer girl culture that I’ve loved for so long, I also don’t want to be that guy who encroaches on their wonderful space. It’s not something I should be a part of anymore, and while that sucks for me, it’s the truth. I don’t want to insert myself into a group that is not for me anymore no matter how much I miss it and wish I was still in it.

How can I miss being a girl so much, how can I really not like men, and still (kind of) be a guy? Let me know lol. Gender is a shit show sometimes.

Even though I’m happier and more comfortable than I’ve ever been, I’ve also never felt more lost. “Who am I” sounds like a stupid, existential question, but it is one that has been plaguing my mind for months. Without my identity as a queer woman, it feels like I am no longer who I was.

And that’s ok in a way.

But currently, I feel like my whole self has been flushed down the fucking toilet and all I’m left with is an internalized distrust and hatred for men, and thus, for myself.

 

 

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How I Didn’t Know I Was Trans

I think I’ve watched every “How I Knew I Was Trans” and “How to Know if You’re Trans” YouTube videos in existence.

 

A common theme throughout these videos is, “I feel like I’ve known for my whole life,” or, “I’ve always known something was different about me.” Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it seemed like almost every video I watched had some iteration of this.

 

Which kind of sucked, if I’m being honest. I mean, great for them. But not so great for a very confused and distraught me. Because I didn’t have that.

 

I didn’t know. I had no idea. No signs. No clues. No funny feeling. I just didn’t know. Until I did. And even when I knew, I wasn’t sure.

 

So, whether it was to validate myself, or to fit in, or to try and find a definitive “reason” of being trans, or a mixture of the three, I struggled to squeeze myself into that box of people who knew since they were kids or teenagers.

 

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This is me dressed as a guy for Halloween when I was 12. Lmk how I didn’t figure it out lol

 

I came up with the brilliant idea of making a list. I would look into my past for the “common signs” of being trans as a kid; DUH! Of course I knew all along!! I forced myself to think as I struggled to come up with the clues from my childhood.

 

Making a methodical, finite list of traits and qualities, likes and dislikes, seemed easier to me than accepting that there is no list of finite traits and qualities, likes and dislikes, that could ever tell me my gender. Only I could tell myself. And that shit is fucking terrifying.

 

So, I made a list instead.

 

  1. I never liked dresses. In order to convince me to wear one to a family event, my dad once told me that wearing a dress was the only way I would be comfortable during the car ride. I cried, but I did it. I told him I wanted to wear a tuxedo to my wedding. He said only boys could do that. I was upset, but not life-changing upset, you know?
  2. I only wanted to play baseball, not softball. Baseball always seemed cooler to me because that’s what the Red Sox played. I was forced to join softball when I was 10. I loved it.
  3. I cried one year on Christmas because my Nana gave me bras in front of everyone. I’m still salty about this.
  4. I insisted I only liked “boy” colors like green and blue in preschool. A boy told me I could only like pink and purple, which is why he stole my green marker. I told him he was being a butthead. I got put in time-out.
  5. I had mostly guy friends (until someone made fun of me and my best friend for having “guy-girl sleepovers.” Then, I didn’t have any guy friends).
  6. I was upset when I got my first period. Mostly because I thought that I was going to bleed out and die.
  7. I didn’t like “girl” toys. I got given a Bratz doll for Christmas one year. My friend and I spent the next few weeks putting it in my driveway and laughing when it would get run over by my neighbor’s truck.

 

I triumphantly stared at my list (‘7 whole signs!!’ I thought to myself) for a good minute.

 

All of the things on this list did happen and are true. But this list doesn’t mean jack-shit about my transness.

 

So what if I didn’t like dresses? You know who else doesn’t like dresses? A fuckton of people of all genders.

 

So what if I cried when I got bras for Christmas in front of my family? What 9-year-old wouldn’t get super embarrassed opening underwear in front of their Uncle and his nice, but overbearing, girlfriend? Does that make every embarrassed pre-teen person who receives bras on Christmas trans by my list-logic?

 

So what if I was upset when I got my period? You know who else is upset they got their period? A fuckton of people of all genders. Perhaps especially every person who ever bled through their pants in middle school and had to watch people laugh and point at the stain in the hallway. Are they all trans by my list-logic?

 

So what if I had mostly guy friends? So what if I only liked blue as a 5-year-old? My cis girl friend Jessie’s favorite color was blue as well. Does that make her trans? And what about people who had those markers you blow on that sprayed out a mixed color? What gender does that make them, by my own list-logic??

 

I stared at my list for a little while longer as I methodically refuted each and every clue I had thought of. Each “sign” from my childhood crumbled away until I was simply grasping at straws. I think I might’ve cried in the library (not an uncommon occurrence during college, to be honest).

 

I crumpled up the list and recycled it. (I know it would’ve been cooler and more dramatic if I’d thrown the list into the garbage, but climate change is a real fucker, you know?).

 

I didn’t know I was trans. Until I did. Gender is something no single list, word or experience can fully articulate. On some level, I wish it were that easy. That way I could’ve saved myself a lot of angst and a lot of time spent watching “How to Know if You’re Trans” videos on YouTube (literally would give me days of my life back).

 

There’s no list to check off. There’s no experience you have to have. There aren’t any trans prerequisites. Even if you don’t know like other people know. Even if you don’t know when other people know.

 

There’s just what you know. Even if you don’t know quite yet. You will.

Are You Twins??: Queer Couple Struggles

This is a ranty post that I didn’t really plan but has been on my mind lately.

This topic is familiar to every queer couple I’ve ever known, and it is fucking annoying as fuck. So often queer couples will be asked by random (mostly cis straight) people, “Are you two twins?? No?? Sisters at least, right?? Wow, you just look so similar!!!!!!”

First of all, fuck off. Even if we were twins, why do you feel the need to ask?? Twins exist… get over it. And people are so excited when they ask if a queer couple are siblings. WTF? Do you know how many siblings exist in the world? What’s the big fuckin deal and why does it matter so much to my middle-aged waitress?

Also, apparently having the same color hair and wearing glasses makes me and my girlfriend look identical to most people. Tight.

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But that’s not even the point. How often do straight couples get asked if they are siblings even if they have the same color hair or both have short haircuts or are the same ethnicity or both wear glasses? Probably close to never. Do you think their parents, friends, and acquaintances feel the need to comment how similar they look like it’s some sort of cool, funny observance?

It also hurts my feelings when people say this. And not just in a regular “that was a shitty thing to hear” kind of way, but in a dysphoria inducing, wallowing, deep-depression type way. Being compared to my girlfriend looks-wise is somewhat of an honor because of how gorgeous she is, but besides everything else I said that makes this a shitty thing to be told: I AM A GUY. How do you think it makes me feel to constantly hear that I look exactly like my GIRLfriend who is a WOMAN when I am a TRANS GUY who is a MAN?!

It’s offensive and annoying to hear constantly from strangers, friends, relatives, and acquaintances friends that I look like my girlfriend so much so that we are twins.The worst part about this is that OTHER QUEER PEOPLE SAY THIS SHIT TOO. It’s bullshit to “mix up” our names when talking to us: that’s not funny or cool it is hurtful and fucking annoying. It’s bullshit to tell a queer couple to their face, or at all, that they look like siblings/twins. LITERALLY, WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?? WHO DOES IT HELP?? WHAT IS THE POINT OF SAYING THAT?? If you wouldn’t say the same thing to a straight couple who both have red hair or who both have similar cheekbones, then why the fuck would you say it to a queer couple?

All it does is belittle the relationship and encourage people to see queer couples as no more than “oh they must be siblings or gal pals or brothers or something.” It isn’t a funny comment, it isn’t an interesting comment, it isn’t a comment that ever needs to be fucking said so just shut the fuck up and let queer couples be happy no matter what they look like.

Rant over.

 

Losing a Queer Identity

The title here is misleading because I am queer and will always be queer.

However, once I realized I was trans (transmasculine to be specific) I did experience a loss of part of my identity. While I gained happiness and confidence, I lost my “queer woman” identity, which has caused me to experience a wide range of confusing and upsetting emotions. (Let me know why that intro sounded like a shitty first draft to a persuasive essay you wrote in the 7th grade).

Throughout college, I was extremely unhappy. I had some amazing times, made amazing friends, and met the love of my life. But deep down, I constantly felt unattractive, unhappy, and unmotivated. Looking back now, I know it is because I am supposed to be a boy, but I was living as a girl.

But at the time, I had no clue. I began college as a straight girl, clinging to femininity thinking that it would make me happy to have men attracted to me as a feminine woman. While I know I was objectively good looking, and I know that men were attracted to me, I was still unhappy. I became almost self-destructive and made my whole self-worth based around my looks and whether men wanted me.

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Meet my past “straight girl” self (left) who wore crop tops to class and apparently fake leather shorts and sandals to frat parties.

Obviously that is unhealthy and that thought process was likely because of my upbringing as a woman in a patriarchal world.

So when I figured out I was bisexual as a sophomore, it was as though a whole new world opened up to me. My thought process went something like this: Men never made me feel good or like I was worth anything, so perhaps focusing on my attraction to women will make me feel good about myself.

And while this logic is still flawed as it uses other people to value myself as a person, it was kind of right. Discovering I was attracted to women as a woman made me the happiest I had ever been.

I was suddenly more confident in myself. I loved being gay (I’m using gay as an umbrella term here, I am bi, but I like the word gay for myself as well, let me live). I embraced my queerness to the extreme.

I wore exclusively tumblr lesbian clothes. I watched the L word on repeat. I posted selfies on tumblr on the reg. Snapbacks were a lifestyle. Softball 4 dayz. I even watched all of Carmilla (my fellow queer people, you know when you watch Carmilla that you are DEEP in queer culture). I embraced my already pretty gay walk. Queer lady YouTubers were my people.

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The peak of my gayness: Summer 2015. Peep the vans, the button up, and the sunnies.

I got to be the classic gay feminist constantly having gender and social justice discussions with my friends. Halsey and Fifth Harmony hypnotized me with their hotness. I had a sexy picture of Emma Watson in my room (to be fair, I had this up before I realized I was queer. lol at my past self thinking I was straight).

I walked around like I was hot shit. I wanted people to look at me and think “queer.” I flirted with girls and was with girls in a way that I had never been with or connected with men. I was actually loving myself for the first time. I was so proud to be a queer woman.

So why was I still unhappy, even when embracing my queer identity? I didn’t figure it out until the end of my senior year: I wasn’t a queer woman. I’m a queer guy.

Realizing that was a turning point for me. I am the happiest I’ve ever been right now living as a boy. I’m starting hormones soon, I’ve changed my name, and I’m in a much better place.

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I made my mom take this.

But being a man means that I am losing my place in the wlw, queer woman community. Being a queer woman brought me so much confidence and happiness during a time in my life when not much else made me happy or even made me want to get out of bed.

Not only that, but I am afraid of not appearing queer at all anymore, not just not appearing like a queer woman. Im not super masc or anything, but I’m afraid as I start passing that I will be straight/cis passing as well. I am so proud of my queer identity; I don’t want to lose it. I don’t want people in Provincetown to think I’m just some straight tourist. I don’t want to go to pride and have people upset that a straight appearing cis-looking guy is there.

Realizing my trans identity has given and is giving me so much. I’m just afraid about what it might be taking away.

It sounds dramatic, but I feel grief over the loss of this identity. But I’m also confused. I know that I’m a guy, but when I see queer lady stuff like Hayley Kiyoko’s new gay as fuck music (WHICH I AM LIVING FOR BTW) and Lauren and Halsey’s queer duet song and girls holding hands in public and other wlw stuff, I feel a kinship with it. I feel like, hey that’s just like me!

But it isn’t anymore. I feel cut off from that world that brought me happiness and confidence during a time where I almost always felt like shit. And when I feel like I’m a part of that wlw community still, I start to question my trans identity. How can I be a guy and still wish that I was a part of a wlw community? How can I look at my favorite queer lady YouTubers and feel so connected with them as though I am one of them if I’m really a guy?

Being a gay girl gave me things I desperately needed as a depressed 20 year old: community, confidence, and hope for happiness. Losing that is really hard for me to deal with. But as a guy who is sad about not being a gay girl anymore, it is a confusing loss. I know I’m moving forward and being who I really am as a boy. But being a gay girl was fucking fun, and I do miss it.

Hopefully that made some sense and can resonate with someone out there. You can be trans and miss parts of being your old self. You can be a trans guy and miss your experience as a queer girl. Being trans doesn’t have a rulebook or any requirements.

I’ll just keep telling myself these things until I really believe them.

I Do Horrible Drawings 5: Trans Ban Tweets

We all heard about the trans military ban Donald Trump tweeted out yesterday.

I have a couple of thoughts. I’d like to posit some serious questions and then move into something that can maybe bring people some happiness (I’m talking about my horrid drawings).

The support I have seen on social media from both queer and cis allies has been immense, and for that I am grateful.

But where is all of this support in day to day life? Trans people face this type of discrimination REGULARLY. Trans people are attacked each and every day. Trans people are killed each and every day for just leaving their house in the morning.

Allies should look themselves in the mirror each day and ask how they can support trans people. Not just on days when there is a mainstream report of discrimination, but on normal days. What can you do if you see discrimination in action? Can you try to identify any internalized hate you have towards queer and trans people? What can you do each and every day to support people instead of only tweeting your support when it’s a hot topic issue?

This goes for all issues of discrimination. Black lives still matter even when you aren’t getting mainstream coverage of discrimination. Trans lives still matter even when you don’t hear about violence against trans people in the news. Women’s lives matter. POC lives matter. LGBTQ+ lives matter. What can you do every day to show your support for marginalized groups? Be better, analyze your words and your actions, and stand up for those whose voices are silenced. Recognize your privilege and use it to help others who don’t have the privilege you do.

With that small rant out of the way, let’s get into some drawings.

I found some of my favorite tweets from yesterday’s response to the trans military ban and I thought they could use some illustrations. So enjoy.

First we have this tweet:

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This one just made me smile and think of trans people growing out of a garden, happily just living, surrounded by plants and the sun. So that’s what I tried to draw. But as I’m sure you know, my ideas for drawings and what I actually translate onto the paper are two very different things:

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This drawing was supposed to be cute and make you feel good. Instead, it looks like donuts got stuck in an abnormally large piece of broccoli and a creepy, demonic Arthur the Aardvark has decided to lean against a tree to examine his triangle leg.

For wanting to create something that gives off a “flourishing” vibe, I didn’t really put in many plants. There’s literally only two plants.

At least this was created with a nice sentiment in mind, right?

The next tweet was more of a funny one that I actually lol-ed at (forgive me for using “Lol-ed” unironically):

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It’s tweets like this that make me still fucking love twitter. That is some good shit.

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While this is a pretty literal interpretation of the tweet, I think it’s dope. I’m gonna give myself a pat on that back for drawing 3 people who actually look like people instead of my usually drawings that make people look like evil creatures from The Ring.

I think the bottom-right panel is particularly good. Not only is that unmistakably Donnie (peep the double chin and weird circular mouth with two tiny teeth showing), but also notice the great detail I put into Donnie’s hands and weird mullet hair. Let’s give a round of applause to the cartoon about to chuck him into that volcano. You’re doing amazing sweetie.

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This another tweet that I laughed at (ok laugh is a little bit exaggerated: I smiled at my phone, which counts as a laugh when it comes to twitter).

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There’s a lot to absorb with this piece. I haven’t yet come up with a way to draw Trump the same way in multiple different situations, so enjoy the random changes in his face and structure.

I thought I was pretty clever with this one (ex. Trump in bed with the Earth saying its hot. get it cuz like global warming?!?! it’s a hot globe!?? I guess it was funnier in my head). Enjoy looking at his Cheeto chest hairs and his creepy frog smile.

And finally, we have this tweet:

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I think that sums up my thoughts pretty well. Not much to elaborate on.

So, until next time: be better ever day.