Category Archives: childhood

You don't have to hate me

You don’t have to hate me. Because I am not trying to stand on any ground you claim as yours.

You don’t have to hate me because I have always been taught to hate myself. I can take it from here. Ever since I was four I felt I was somehow wrong and when I expressed that in words that made sense to me I was punished.

As I got older my body and my mind didn’t fit with each other. I didn’t know why. I wanted them to, I prayed to God and asked God to change my body. I wished on every star and birthday cake too.

I asked my parents for help but was ridiculed and endured a punishment and re-education programs. I learned to shut up and conform. I knew I was a freak. I was sure I should hate myself. I didn’t know why this was happening to me and I felt so confused and scared. I hoped it would go away when I got bigger so that I could be like how everyone else seemed to be. Accepting of their own skin. How I longed to have that.

I learned to be what I needed to be. To say the right things, to behave the right way. But it never did go away and puberty started changing my body, making it even more wrong, ever more disgusting. My desperation grew and my desire to go on living ebbed away. At nineteen I tried to end it. Alone and gently weeping in a student dorm room I wrote my farewells to my family and swallowed pills.

I woke to the reality that I hadn’t died and spent the next day waiting to see what happened next. I read the letters I had left and realised the devastation my death would bring. I didn’t want to die anymore. I chose to try to build a life that put my feelings to one side if that was possible. I chose life.

I lived the life I was supposed to live. I became the man they wanted to see. I learned exactly what to say and how to behave.

Over time it slowly became easier for transgender people to come out and transition. I regularly re-assessed my position but always felt that it was not possible for me. I knew my family would never be accepting. I knew society was still basically intolerant and I knew as I got older my chances of transitioning succesfully diminished.

That’s why I am no threat to you. That’s why you don’t need to hate me. I will live out the rest of my life as this mediocre, forgettable man and never attempt to encroach onto your territory. Your restrooms and changing rooms are safe from me, I have no interest in them.

Every space you believe is sacred is safe from me. Just like the stigmatised and abused gay men of the 50s,60, 70s and 80s who were accused of being child molestors and paedophiles, I am not a sexual deviant or predator and neither are my transgender brothers and sisters.

We are a marginalised and vulnerable minority. We are the targets of violence and intimidation not the perpetrators. We ask to be given rights to protect us from those who hate. We ask that those rights are not taken away just because a criminal element have sought to exploit our status for their own advantage.

If we allowed governments to remove our rights just because some criminal elements had exploited them we would have no rights at all.

A society is judged by the compassion it shows to its minority communities.

and History is watching.

Birth Gender

I’ve never accepted my birth gender. From my first memories at four years old to right now.

Early on my requests to dress as a girl and play with girl’s toys were angrily rejected by my parents leaving me bewildered.

I stopped believing in a benevolent god when I was very young because my desperate nightly prayers were ignored.

I discovered birthday cake wishes never came true and never had the courage to ask Santa what I really wanted for Christmas.

The one thing I could control was my personal identity. They could call me boy, they could make me look like a boy, but couldn’t make me join in. I knew I could resist joining male groups or supporting male causes.

In the absence of any other control even now I will resist the pressure to join the boy’s team.

I never use restrooms unless I am desperate and men’s locker rooms disgust me. Change before and shower at home is my motto.

When a social group fragments by gender I excuse myself.

This is how I rail against my dysphoria. Quiet, under the radar, discreet.

Transgender children

When I was four I knew how I felt. I still felt the same way at eight and nine. At thirteen my feelings hadn’t changed but I was beginning to feel the pressure as puberty meant time was running out for me.

By sixteen I was distraught and stopped dressing because I hated my appearance and by nineteen I attempted suicide. Realising the hurt I would have caused my family I have buried my feelings ever since.

My life has since been painful and it’s been difficult to really take pleasure in anything. It’s now too late for me and I hope to get through what’s left of  it with as little trauma as possible.

If I was a child now though and my parents were of a different generation I am sure my future happiness could have been saved.

I would have jumped at the chance at socially transitioning at 4 and taken blockers when appropriate and estrogen as soon as I could. I would have signed anything to have surgery at sixteen.

My life could have been different. I could have spent it being who I felt I was inside. I could have looked in the mirror and smiled back at myself. I could have related to the world as a different person. I would have had at least a chance at happiness.

Saying transgender children are too young to know what they want is just wrong. I knew at four and I feel the same today as I did then.

I agree it’s difficult and there is a spectrum but we do need to get better at identifying the transgender children and helping their parents make informed choices.

We also need to stop attacking amazing Moms and Dads dealing with very difficult issues they don’t really understand in a desperate attempt to rescue the childhood of their amazing children.

Best friends with Jenny

When I was nine years old I spent one idyllic summer in North Wales with my Mum’s friend and her son James. He was an only child and they owned a cottage in the countryside (a lot of the time we were actually looked after by his Nanny)

During our six week vacation we became friends with the two girls who lived on the farm down the road. Mary was eleven and Jenny was the same age as me. It didn’t take long for Jenny and I to become firm friends. We just seemed to click and would spend every daylight hour together.

We walked and ran through fields, built houses and boats for teddies, wrote funny stories, played schools, farms, hospitals, vets you name it we did it.

Jenny also liked playing football, cricket and was always climbing trees and getting her clothes dusty. She was also embarrassed that her wardrobe had dresses inside it and told me her mum bought them and made her wear them for church. Everybody described her as a tomboy.

I thought she was amazing and she could make me laugh until tears ran down my face.

She would often say things like being a girl was boring and that they can’t play football or be vets or drive tractors. I pointed out that she was better at football than I was and there was a girl called Anne in my class at school who was cleverer than all of the boys put together and she could definitely be a vet.

It upset me that she felt so down about being a girl. To me she had everything. She was pretty, kind, funny and even seemed better at doing boy stuff than me! I would have switched places with her in a heartbeat. It didn’t occur to me that a girl might feel about herself  the way I felt about being a boy.

I don’t know if she was trans but she was unhappy with the limitations and expectations she felt were placed on her.

One day, when we were playing by the stream, I told her I thought being a girl was just as good as being a boy and they can do everything boys can. This broke the “boy code” and I had to motivate myself to say it out loud. I was worried somehow everyone would find out and guess my secret by me saying it.

She just smiled at me.

The rest of the summer was filled with lots of fun activities interspersed with midnight feasts, ghost stories in the fields at 2am and amazing talent shows.

When it was time to go home I was devastated. She was the perfect friend I had always wanted. I could be myself around her in a way I had never been able before. I wish I had told her more about how I felt about myself.

It took a long time to get over losing her.

I do hope Jenny was able to find herself and be happy with who she was. I wouldn’t wish dysphoria on anybody.

I will never forget her.

I would have been Elizabeth

If  things had turned out differently I would have been born as a girl called Elizabeth (or Beth for short). That’s what my Mum would have called me.

I mourn the loss of that childhood. I feel sad that I couldn’t grow up without the stifling weight of dysphoria upon me.

I feel sad about the friends I would have made and experiences we would have shared.

I wonder how it might have been to fall in love with a man, to marry him and bear his children.

How I wish I could have been somebody’s Mother, to carry them, give birth to them, raise them and love them like only a Mother can.

I ache for that life that never was. All part of the pain and suffering you get for free with gender dysphoria.

Whether you view it as delusional, mental illness or accident of birth the pain and regret you feel in your mind and in your heart is real.

It stops you ever feeling good about yourself, your achievements or anything really. A life in limbo.

For most of my life I have tried to put these feelings to one side, work hard and be who I am supposed to be. I have always tried to be a good person and treat others as I would want to be treated.

I hoped to get to the end of my life without having to deal with my issues further. But for reasons I can’t really explain over the last 6 months the dysphoria has become increasingly unbearable. I’m not sure how best to deal with it.

That’s why I decided to talk things through with a therapist and write this blog.

The Suit

There are two moments in my life I will always remember. When I was four I knew I felt like and wanted to be a girl. I also knew that for some reason this made my parents angry. But it wan’t until I was eight that I realised I had a big problem.

The Wedding

When I was eight I had to attend a family wedding. Everyone had to have a new outfit and for me they bought a blue suit.

I can still see that blue suit hanging from the top of my Mum’s wardrobe door. It was like a grown up suit just like all the men would wear.

I hated it instantly. It even had a waistcoat. I didn’t want to try it on, I certainly didn’t want to wear it in public. I didn’t want to be just like all of the men wearing this suit or one like it.

I wasn’t even asking to wear a dress instead. I was so far from that expectation that it wasn’t worth even thinking about. Neutrality would have been nice.

I think I knew the clothes were irrelevant but heavily symbolic. I knew wearing a dress for a day wasn’t the answer. I needed their acceptance. I needed them to accept me as their daughter, sister, grand-daughter, cousin and niece.

I felt sick and upset as my Mum got me ready. I somehow avoided wearing the waistcoat but when I was dressed she made me look in the mirror and my heart just sank. I wanted to scream.

But the thing I realised was, this gender thing was going to be a big problem in my life and it wasn’t going to go away. I knew it would hurt me again and again in the future. I was helpless and powerless and alone.

When the time came I walked out of the house into the world, defeated, and I wore that suit.

It happens every day

I hate the thought that every day transgendered children have to endure this treatment imposed by insenitive cis gendered people who just don’t take the time to understand and are scared. They personally wouldn’t accept being cross dressed and paraded in public to their own humiliation and despair. I know they must know how that would feel.

More understanding please …

Can we all try and be kinder, gentler and more accepting of our children. Who cares if they don’t or do want to wear dresses, trousers, football jerseys, flowers, beads or lipstick etc. Let them be who they are. Let them find themselves. Let it be a problem for other people to deal with if they have bigoted views.

Children know. I knew at four and my feelings then are exactly the same now. Just don’t crush them or their identity.