What’s my gender, again? received a great comment (please read the initial comment and my response, then come back here!), which set me to thinking about my own transsexual journey.
When I began hormones seventeen years ago, I held a fierce commitment to the notion that somehow I was born in the wrong body. I felt so much internalized conviction that I was a man, I felt somehow something must be wrong with me. In the process of metabolizing hormones, I had to relearn how to hold my body, how to inflect my words, how to stand, how to laugh, how to gesture with my hands, everything had to change. I wanted to be read as a heterosexual man, so I needed to do a lot of work to be read as a man, but also to learn how to be comfortable as a heterosexual man.
All the while I struggled with continued hormone imbalances. I needed to ingest a tremendous amount of testosterone to suppress my menses. I broke in horrible acne, and always felt a little whacked by the peak and trough nature of injecting hormones (I now apply testosterone in a gel format, which I like much better). Then, I got lucky and Ms. H. said she wanted to marry me. This was after I got a job at UM, which had decent transsexual healthcare coverage. After she said yes, I needed to have bottom surgery to complete my birth certificate change. The doctor I worked with – and his staff and the nurses at the hospital – he was cool and so was everyone, else.
Once I had the hysterectomy and the oophorectomy, I felt a whole lot better, both physically and emotionally. But even so, I think I still struggled with a notion that somehow I was a failure. I suppose I could have had a phalloplasty but the whole procedure terrified me. Plus I’m lazy by nature and couldn’t work up the energy to even contemplate that one.
And yet, sometime recently, perhaps as a consequence of working out hard several days a week, I’ve come to the realization that my biology is, well, transsexual. A post-hysto middle-aged female bodied person on daily hormones is definitely transsexual in my book, though perhaps not yours. As I reflected on the comment from my post yesterday, I realize I’m really okay with my body and my genitals. They are mine. They have done everything I’ve asked of them, and then some.
And that is a-okay.
I am, after all, a transsexual. Things aren’t supposed to line up.