Tag Archives: dysphoria

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.

Over the Rainbow

We were having a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Just reading and listening to the family Spotify playlist. The beautiful Eva Cassidy’s version of Over the Rainbow came on.

I usually avoid listening to this song. The Judy Garland version meant so much to me as a child. It was my song of hope and I find myself getting upset when it plays now.

This time I thought I would see what happens. Has enough time past?

But I find the lyrics are still too sad and painful to listen to. It wasn’t long before tears were gently rolling down my face. The moment I had to sniffle my nose my wife looked to see if I was upset and she saw my tears.

Luckily she is a veteran of my reaction to this song and was straight over to offer comfort.

I don’t know what she must think.

What is it about this song? Did anyone else hold it dear to them growing up or was another song special to you?

To live a life free of bigots

I don’t choose to feel the way I do, to be the person I am. My gender dysphoria has always been there. This conflict, this pain, this sorrow has always been with me and remains with me every day from my first waking moments to my last thoughts at night.

I wish I could overcome, be free of it but sadly I never have and I fear now I never will.

Bad Old Days

I grew up at a time when bigotry and hatred of people like me was the common attitude in society. It was normal to deride, make fun of and exclude us. It was acceptable to lie about us and label us deviant or criminal. But slowly, over time, increasing numbers of good, kind compassionate people have taken the time to understand. There is still a long way to go.

To be “Normal”

For most people, their gender identity and their physical gender match and they never give it a second thought. But when that doesn’t happen, when a disconnect occurs it can and does devastate your life. I don’t know why it happens but I can tell you it does.

For those of us that feel this pain and suffer the consequences of this dysphoria we strive for the rest of our lives to overcome it and find peace.

Are we human?

We are not perverts or deviants. We don’t seek access to women’s spaces in the hope of easy access to a cheap thrill. These are just the hate filled exclusionary arguments of bigots with wider agendas to address. Just as with the homophobic bigots easy trasnphobic stereotypes are used to create hatred and exclusion. Remember when they used to perpetuate the lie that all gay men were child molesters. Now they say transgender women seek access to women’s spaces because they are sexual deviants and perverts. The bigots will find themselves on the wrong side of history again.

We, just want to live peaceful quiet, unnoticed, unremarkable lives. We don’t seek to harm others or cause distress.

We strive to live a life that feels true to us, to live in peace and in harmony with ourselves and the world. To be allowed to live in peace as who we truly are. To be accepted.

Acceptance

Only when society stops tolerating the bigoted anti transgender lobbies can our vulnerable and marginalised brothers and sisters hope to achieve acceptance.

My name is Beth

Hi. My name is Beth and I am a transgender woman. I didn’t choose to be transgender, I was born this way. I have lived my life so far pretending to be someone I’m not. I have always tried to be a good person but have never once felt comfortable as the man I appeared to be. My life has at times been very difficult to cope with and I have wanted it to end on a number of occasions.

With the help of my therapist and many amazing trans men and women online I now accept and am proud of who I am and I no longer hate myself for being transgender.

I long to free myself of my male life. I need to become the person I am inside. I need to begin my transition.

But where to start … ?

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.

Going nowhere

I don’t know how I can make things better. I don’t know how I can move forward. I really want to.

I know I don’t want to die. My family need me and I love them.

I can’t bear living as a man any longer I’m so tired and sick of having to do it every day. The anxiety and stress I am feeling overwhelms me at times. I long for a day when I don’t have to pretend anymore, when I can just be myself.

But how can I impose my transition on my family. I love them so much.

I love my wife and I want us to stay together. We truly are best friends, soul mates. We have been together 17 years and she still sends me “I luv u” texts almost every day”.

I want her to know me, the real me and that’s what would change, the person she thought I was. I feel no strong desire to present as female at the moment which I hope would take the pressure of a little.

But I know in my heart that transition is the only way forward for me. I have always known that even though I have often rejected it and run away from it.

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 never wear female clothes

The thing that causes me to doubt if I am really transgender more than anything else is I don’t wear female clothes. In fact I haven’t done that for many years.

When I was younger I used to wear female clothes a lot. I used to really enjoy it. I was lucky at the time because I was quite an effeminate looking boy and I made quite a passable girl.

It was only as I got older and bigger that things began to change. Puberty and growth made me look less and less passable. Eventually I hated the sight of myself dressed. It was no longer a positive, happy experience.

I suppose it was symbolic of my losing battle with testosterone. I knew my time was running out and the window was closing.

When it closed that was it for me. My goal was always to look as feminine as possible. I am sure if I wore female clothes now I would look awful. I don’t need that on top of everything else.

So there it is. Not sure what it means. If it means I’m not really a transgender person then that’s fine. My journey is to work through and resolve the issues I am having rather than find a label.

If I am really being honest I just want to get through this life with my “secret” kept just between us. My family can live in blissful ignorance. They are beautiful, loving, wonderful, kind people and deserve to be free of the burden.

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.

I don’t want to be transgender 

I’m really sorry if this offends anyone but I don’t want to be transgender. Maybe me saying that means I’m not?

I don’t have the courage or the steely determination that I can see the brave transgender men and women exhibit in countless YouTube videos and blogs. That probably means I don’t want it enough.

I hate feeling the way I do. I’ve had it since I was four years old. Enough!

I want it to go away. I want it to leave me alone. I want it to stop ruining my life.

Does Prozac work, what about other antidepressants? Any other drugs? Has anyone tried some alternatives? I just want to make it stop so I can go on being who I need to be for the people who need me. They have earned their immunity from dealing with this.
How can it be there is only one solution to this. What about the weak, feeble scared people like me.

To all the brave amazing transgender men and women who are or have transitioned you amaze me and inspire me but I don’t have your courage and I mean you no disrespect.

When I was 19

Talking to my therapist about my gender issues has made me relive many moments from my life I have pushed aside. Some of them are so sad that tears run down my cheeks when I recall them. The pain of it is sometimes unbearable.

There was a short space of time though, maybe just a few minutes, when I was totally free of this gender dysphoria. I was 19 years old sitting in my dorm in college. I had reached the end.

Up to this point I had been searching for information about transgender therapy or organisations that help or treat people with dysphoria. Then information was hard to find. But after much searching I found the address in London of an organisation, I think they are now called the Beaumont Society.

I wrote a letter to them describing how I felt and asking for help. I had high hopes that at last things may begin to change. But, after three weeks of waiting, I received a brown envelope containing my opened letter marked “Unknown at this Address” “Return to Sender”. The address I used must have been an old one or invalid.

I was devastated, all of my hopes just hit the floor. I couldn’t see any way forward and now just wanted an end to the torment. I decided I would commit suicide on the upcoming Friday night when every student in the dorm would be out. I bought 50 paracetamol/Tylenol and some Vodka.

On Friday evening I felt fine, calm, happy even. I had bought paper and envelopes and began to write individual letters to my parents, brother, sisters and some friends. I wanted them to know how amazing they were, how much they meant to me and how they were blameless. I also wanted them to know who I was inside.

These letters were both incredibly hard and incredibly easy to write at the same time. I cried constantly throughout and it was the most emotionally draining experience I have had. It was certainly an experience I will never forget.

When I had finished I sat on my bed and drank some vodka from the bottle which was horrible and decided to start taking the tablets.

I sat there crying and swallowing pills along with the vodka. When I had taken what I thought was a lot I sat back against the wall next to the bed and felt all of my pain, anxiety, dysphoria and worry just drain away. I felt totally free. It was a strange feeling of total serenity. No regret or remorse I honestly was relieved it was over.

Those few minutes were the calmest, happiest moments of my life. The dysphoria was gone. I can still remember how wonderful that felt.

After a couple more minutes an overwhelming feeling of tiredness/sleepiness hit me. It can’t have been the pills so quickly. Whatever it was I lay down and slept.

It turns out I’m about as good at committing suicide as I am dealing with gender dysphoria because I woke up the next day in the early afternoon.

When I counted the pills left in the container and did the math the truth is I took just 12! At the time it felt like I had taken 25 or 30.

I believe this was a serious attempt. You may believe something else. That’s fine. I certainly wanted it to be the end. I have never told anyone about it except my therapist recently and this blog.

I know I felt disappointed and also scared that I would now get really sick and die slowly and painfully.

After a while I opened the letter I wrote to my Mum and read it. It was a beautiful tear stained letter, beautiful and so sad. It would have crushed her. Only then did I understand the impact my suicide would have had on my family. I knew I didn’t have the right to do that to them. They certainly didn’t deserve to be treated like that or to have this tragedy impact their lives.

I needed to find another way. I think I decided to put all thoughts and feelings aside and focus only on things I could achieve. I chose denial.

Suicide is never the answer. It’s never just your own life you are ending. And remember no matter how bad you may feel now, it won’t always feel the same. There will be good times again.

Talk to someone, and give yourself at least another day and then another.

How does it feel

As I walked away from my first therapy session I felt very strange. It was liberating to tell someone out loud who I really am and how it feels every day to pretend to be someone else.

My whole life I have had to present this “expected person” to the world. He’s my greatest creation. But  it’s exhausting playing him every day. I’m so sick of it.

I just dream about one day not having to be “him” and just be me. I don’t know if that is possible anymore but as long as I am alive I know there is hope.

It’s only when I say it all out loud, articulate the words to another person, that I begin understand it. It unravels and I begin to see how it has affected my life and how painful it always feels.

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.

Starting Therapy

Well I started therapy. My therapist is really nice. She describes herself as gender fluid. That made me feel more comfortable to begin with. When I was searching for therapists so many of them seemed so unlike me. I wondered how they could begin to understand me.

My therapist, let’s call her Jen, as I suspected, just gets it and has no judgement or superior position. That’s probably the position of most therapists. Let’s hope so.

So what’s the story..

The truth is similar to all those other transgender stories you may have read before.

My truth is that from the age of at least four I’ve felt I should be female. That feeling has never left me and has badly affected my whole life.

One of the core fundamentals of our existence is our gender. If that feels wrong then nothing else ever fits properly into your life.

The worst thing though is that I’ve never done anything about it. My one brilliant strategy to cope has been “focus on something else, don’t think about it”. That’s really hard to do.

Talking with Jen

Talking to Jen was great. It felt good to tell someone who wasn’t affected by the truth. My truth just hurts people I love. She listened as all good therapists do and I guess she had heard similar experiences before. But it still meant a lot to say the words aloud.