I remember being very young and first saying aloud to friends after school that “I think I’m a boy.” More than that, I remember the fear I felt every time I was visited by my father, from my toddlerhood right up until I cut contact when I was eighteen. We’ll get to that.
Amidst much difficulty in my personal and home life during high school, I began to recognize my gender dysphoria. I didn’t know why, but identifying as a trans man felt “safer,” somehow.
I went to a children’s hospital with trans care specialists who looked at my case and decided almost immediately that I would be put on hormone blockers and testosterone. My mother’s side of the family was very supportive, but my father was adamant against allowing me to go through with treatment.
After I graduated, I had a mastectomy done and it was around that same time that I discovered a strange new distress in my body through a mindfulness class – something intrusive and dangerous. I didn’t know what to make of it and started to see a therapist. I later had a hysterectomy without removal of the ovaries so I could stop taking testosterone, and at that point I began to explore a non-binary identity. After many years in therapy, I began to put together the pieces of why I felt that invasive sensation, why I was so afraid of my father for all my life, and why I felt the need to transition in the first place.
Being a boy was safer than being a girl. It protected me from him; even with the comments, physical contact, and advances he’d make, he was more “cautious” after my transition. None of the social workers, doctors, or previous therapists I spoke to ever made the connection. They were happy to allow a teenager to change their body permanently without much more of a reason than “I want to.”
It took me a long time to accept myself as a woman again. I felt so much shame and anger and pain at what had happened to me because no adult thought to question "why" or look into my deeper emotional distress. I have since gotten a breast augmentation done and I’m feeling more like myself than I have all my life. I still fear people judging me as “not a real girl” because of my lower voice, but I know this is exactly what I needed for myself. If anything reassures me, it’s that I can share my story so we can build more detrans resources and so others like myself know that they’re not alone. That what happened wasn’t our fault. That we deserve love and acceptance and safety, and that we have always deserved it.
< Previous Next >