when did u first realize u were a girl?
May 21, 2016
I saw a doctor last thursday to talk about starting teh hormones. Yes, yes, I know I’ve said for years that this is not something I planned on doing but… Much like getting ‘top surgery’ I’m honestly just curious to see what its like. Which, um, really isn’t a great perspective for me to have brought to the doctor’s appointment, as I was – god knows why – unprepared for the slate of Transgender Narrative(tm) questions. I suppose I’m glad he didn’t go, “um, u don’t get hormones bc ur a fake trans”.
I really have no fucking clue why I was so caught off-guard when he started asking questions like, “when did u realize u were a girl?” and similar. I should’ve scripted some answers in advance bc I really didn’t give him satisfactory answers.
First, I was like “um… I started wearing girl clothes and makeup when I was like 14 or something?”
Then he went, “but what about earlier than that?”
It was at this point I realized that he was searching for evidence of the Official Transgender Narrative(tm). You know which one I’m talking about… The one where I tell him that I played with barbies at age 5 (which, now that I think about it, I probably did). That I always felt unease with my body… like I was born in the wrong kind of body. So and so forth.
I, of course, had no such tale to tell him. I’ve spoken many times in the past about how my personal narrative deviates from the Official Transgender Narrative(tm). What I told him about me as a young child was that I didn’t ‘think about it that way’. And I really, really didn’t.
For a little while, I was going to identify as agender or some such. Tbh, I don’t really know what most people mean by ‘feeling’ like a man or woman. I’m not sure if this is because I have no gender feels or, which is highly likely, my alexythemia makes it very difficult for me to express/understand what gender feels I do have. It didn’t help that my gender wasn’t heavily policed in the way that I know a lot of other girly-boys’s was.
I can’t remember anyone in my direct personal life ever saying something like ‘boys don’t play with barbies’ or ‘boys don’t wear makeup’. This isn’t to say that I didn’t receive such socialization from society in general, but these messages were distant and abstract without anyone directly enforcing them on me. Again, I have no fucking clue if what I’m saying is ‘true’ or if, as is also super possible, my autism just… idk, made me miss a lot of the unspoken, gender policing.
I think the times I can first remember having a ‘feeling’ about my gender in any way was when in my teens at some point. Maybe late teens? Idk. I can’t pinpoint the exact year, but I remember at one point my mom telling me something like, “its time for you to be a man” and my immediate reaction was one of “ew, wtf, no”. So I knew that I didn’t want to be (and thankfully wasn’t actually) a man.
The next time I can remember having some feelings about it one way or another, was… maybe a conversation I was having with another femme gay guy? And I said something like, “yeah, i’m more of a girly-boy”. And some fleeting, vague passing thoughts about whether or not my femme presentation made me a woman (the internal answer was always a ‘no’).
To a great extent, you can see how I was trapped by the white, colonial binary. I knew I wasn’t a man but I didn’t also feel like this made me a woman.
All throught this entire period of my life, I consistently wore women’s clothing, makeup, did my nails, etc. I wore these things in public. At my jobs. At university. Everywhere. But I did it within a ‘gay’/homosexual framework. This is how I understood myself. Even so… I’d literally sit with people and tell them that my Stern Asian Dad had no problems with my ‘sexuality’ because I was ‘gay’ in a way that was culturally coherent to him.
Referring, of course, to bakla back ‘home’. Honestly? I’m trying to even think of where I got the notion that ‘gay = femme homo man’ from and why I thought this was ‘coherent’ to my dad. But this is always how I explained it to people, when telling them stories about how I got my job in high school to allow me to wear makeup and got my catholic high school to allow the same. The latter was only possible with my dad’s support (literally one of the few good things he did for me at that age).
I remember growing up and having cousins call me ‘bakla’, which always translated to ‘gay’….
I am what I’ve always been.
But how to convey this to a doctor expecting me to talk about how I hate this body (I don’t or the things I hate have nothing to do with my gender). How to talk about how its literally only in the past five years or so that I’ve been able to properly articulate the intuitive sense of self I’ve always had. How to say, “i’m really only interested in hormones for the emotional/psychological impacts”. How to fit all of this into a sanitized, medical context in way that won’t preclude me from accessing the healthcare I want…
I need to make sure I figure this out before my appointment with CAMH.
Pretty sure the only thing that saved me, re: being able to access HRT, was the fact that I’ve been living ‘full-time’ as a ‘woman’ for the past 2-3 years. That I’ve changed my name and gender marker and have the Real Life Experience(tm) that the wpath standards require for my identity to be legitimate enough to warrant healthcare.