M's Story

These were my truths as a child: I am a tomboy. I love girls. Therefore, I am a failed girl.

When I discovered what trans was, around 14, I had spent my childhood and tween years as weird and asocial. But, I tried to fit in with others. Despite hating the way skirts and blouses felt, the way my hair fell to my ribcage, the way my body looked in my dance uniform, I tried to convince myself that with a little more discipline, I could be normal. The right kind of girl. But increasingly, I couldn't deny my masculinity and homosexuality, and that in itself was too frightening to look at in the face.

After I first saw the word trans, I knew that was my answer. It was an indisputable truth. I was never a tomboy, I never loved girls as a girl. I had failed at girlhood because I wasn't a girl at all. That simple. At 15, I took on the trans boy label. It was thrilling. I was a step closer to being myself, but more importantly, being free. But all it caused was more pain.

I wasn't treated as a boy, but a lesbian, even more now that I was dressing in mens clothes. I was subject to girls' jeering; an unassuming locker room became a hell of disgusted looks. I could never be one with the boys, either. If I wasn't looked at with revulsion, I was flat out ignored, like a ghost.

Then, I went from the only visible LGBT person to a campus full of people like me. Or so I thought. Everyone was trans and queer, and though I didn't notice it until my desisting, I couldn't find someone who proudly was a nonconforming woman, or a lesbian. In fact, I never knew anyone who was a lesbian. In the sea of queer safe spaces, I tried to fulfill a role as a trans guy. It quickly became disingenuous, because I was no longer a trans guy wrongfully interpreted as a lesbian. I was living as a "valid and seen" trans guy now. It was my thing: a trans guy first, an idealized version of me, but not me, all the same.

When I was 22, we were 2 years into COVID. Living in isolation where no one could see me, I developed quite a bit of identity and personality issues, but the quiet gave me the space to consider why I felt the need to place importance in outward acceptance. I considered my childhood and my homosexuality that I only labeled as queer or vaguely bisexual. I considered the fact I never felt like I fit in anywhere. It was troubling, at least a year's worth of turmoil. But in the end I have gotten to embrace the tomboy I was, once again. It just took me a while to be kind to her again.

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