Tag Archives: transgender

Invalidating stories of de-transition

I’ve read a number of articles about de-transition recently. My heart goes out to every person who has gone through this experience. It must have been an especially shattering and difficult experience. Your voice is important and I value it and respect it enormously.

Every transgender experience is different, difficult and uncertain. None of us can know how we will feel at the end of our transition or lived experience. We can only follow what our hearts and souls tell us is right. Sometimes we misread or even mislead ourselves.

We should always consider all outcomes when deciding on our own transition. That’s why the voices of people who have de-transitioned are so valuable.

But to use the example of transgender people who have decided to de-transition as an invalidation of all transgender transition is simply absurd. We could use the same argument to invalidate marriage.

As is always the case in almost anything, there will be a wide distribution of experiences felt by trans people going through transition. Ranging from very happy with transition right through to very unhappy.

The very unhappy people will most likely de-transition. But that doesn’t mean they determine the efficacy of transition for everyone else.

In my view, transition in whatever form works for you, does seem to be an effective way for many transgender people to find some peace and begin to live their lives.

People who detransition aren’t our enemies but equally they don’t speak for us or predict our outcomes.

We are beautiful unique individuals striving to find happiness. We are not all the same.

I wish she could have helped me

My six months of therapy led me to suspect that my Mum knew I was trans whilst I was growing up.

She used to let me grow my hair longer than most boys. She styled it in, what I can now see in old photos were feminine styles.

Growing up I was forever being mistaken as a girl when I was supposed to be being a boy. I used to find it embarrassing but also reassuring. It was next to impossible to use the Men’s bathroom without being stopped so I used to avoid it just to avoid the embarrassment.

My Mum also kept my older sister’s old clothes in the spare room in a wardrobe. I used to wear them whenever I could. I know lots of Mum’s did this with old clothes. But when I grew bigger than my sister, clothes and shoes appeared in the wardrobe that were larger than would ever fit her or my sister. They were amazing, beautiful grown up clothes. I adored them and with makeup I looked perfect in them. My heart aches just remembering the joy I used to feel. I could see with my own eyes that it wasn’t too late. I could still be me if only I could find someone to help me go through the changes I so desperately needed.

Ok so now I’m crying. It’s just so awful. I remember feeling totally alone and sure I was a vile disgusting freak. I remember the feeling of terror at what more puberty would do to me. I felt my time was running out. It was. There wasn’t going to be a miracle.

I am so glad children today face a more open and accepting society. Although there are still many bigots playing gender politics to mask their bigotry.

I always wince when I read people saying that trans kids don’t know what they want until they are older. I knew from almost my first memories. My feelings have stayed exactly the same my whole life. I believe gender identity is like sexual orientation, it is fixed and doesn’t change.

I just wish, if my Mum did know about me, that she would have found the courage to help and support me more. Maybe she helped me as much as she could at that time.

Let’s let our children be themselves, whatever that means and let’s not worry what other people think. As long as it’s not directly harmful to your child or others it’s fine just let it be. They will find their own path safe in the knowledge you love them and support them.

Taking the easy way

Suicide is never the answer to any problem we face. Impossibile problems and fears might fill our mind right now. They can drive us to the depths of despair, today, but that won’t always be the case. Problems don’t age well and they usually fade with time.

How you feel right now isn’t how you will always feel. There will come a time when what seems an insurmountable problem now will just be a memory later on.

Problems can also be agents of change. Sometimes the challenges we face are outside of our control. But sometimes they are in our control. If there are things you can do, steps you can take to improve, alleviate or even solve the problem then start taking those steps. No matter how small or individually insignificant they may seem. They are one step closer to solved or resolved.

“Worry only about those things you can change”

You are not the sole owner of you because you belong to all of us and especially to your friends and family who love you and need you to be there. Even if you have fallen out with some or all them.

“Every day is another chance to turn it all around”

Every hour, day, week, month is another opportunity to stop and turn it all around. So stop. Give it another day, and then another and keep doing that until the sun begins to rise again in your life. Because it will. It did for me.

I know how it feels. I know how the pain hurts and I know how comforting it is to think of it all going away.

But remember, we all get one chance at life on this earth. It’s a brief moment in time and then it’s over for eternity. We owe it most of all to ourselves to live a life that is true to us and to enjoy as much of it as is possible.

Transgender Suicide

Transgender people in particular are especially prone to feelings of depression and suicide. If you ever feel like this you must try to reach out to friends, family, therapists and to our community and talk through your feelings. We have a diverse, strongly opinioned but hugely knowledgeable community. There is a lot of advice and help to be sought and given. You are not alone.

I am also a hypocrite

I tried to take my own life when I was still a teenager. I had nowhere to turn, I felt I had reached the end and I wanted to be at peace. I am here now because I failed. I’m glad I failed because although my life has been as difficult and as challenging as I feared it has also been filled with moments of sheer joy, laughter and happiness. They may not have lasted that long but oh were they worth it. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world …

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, they will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

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.

I’m not exceptional

I’ve always been pretty average. Average intelligence, average academically, at sports. Same goes for drawing, painting, singing, dancing. The list goes on.

So why am I telling you this? It’s because I have always hated myself for not having the courage to transition. I talk the talk (in my head mostly) but … you can guess the rest.

I’ve realised something that I think kind of lets me off the hook. Transgender men and women who transition are exceptional people. They are not average Joes/Janes they are people of extraordinary courage, determination and fortitude. Whilst I admire and love them, as much as they inspire me, I remain average and sadly way below exceptional.

It got me thinking though. How many hidden transgender people are there out there lacking those exceptional qualities necessary to change their lives for the better?

A basic sense of self

I have come this far. I think I have worked through a lot of self hatred and denial. I can accept who I am. I think I even understand some of it.

Talking to some of the wonderful, beautiful people who have contacted me has helped me to realise that it’s possible for there to be a life without this awful dysphoria. I smile whenever I think of that. It makes me feel happy to know that many of you will get there. It may be a journey of a thousand miles with bumps along the way but you will, get there.

It’s important for you to know whenever you doubt. Your cause is just. Don’t delay, don’t wait. Summon your courage and pursue what your heart and mind tells you to be true.

What you seek is what everyone else takes for granted, a comfortable basic sense of self identity. We build our lives on this foundation and without it our lives become a maelstrom of doubt, fear and unhappiness.

Everyone has the right to be who they are, live an authentic life and seek happiness.

The right version of me

My gender identity starts with me. I am reminded of it anew every day as I wake in the morning. It’s an intimate personal relationship with myself. It’s a difficult relationship, one I have never come to terms with.

The person I see in the mirror and the physical body I inhabit are never easy to deal with. Mirrors are usually best avoided.

This first conflict, is the primary conflict I want to be resolved. I want my physical gender and how I feel inside to match.

The second conflict concerns how I present myself to the world. I want to remain an unremarkable anonymous person inhabiting the world. I would like to be perceived by others to be female.

But for me, at least, and I’m sure many others what I want and what is possible aren’t the same. I look like a man.

If I wore a dress I wouldn’t look the way I would want to and I could never do that because I would find it too upsetting.

Also, I would never want to present this, what for me would be an, incongruous image to the world.

I am not one of the many amazing brave  and strong trans women who have faced the same dilemma and not let it stop them. They have helped trans rights and issues to the forefront.

As the pathetic, weak, self absorbed and self conscious coward that I am I choose denial and misery.

But I would love to live in a world that allowed me to physically become the gender I feel I am inside without me having to go through some bizarre ritual humiliation as a test to prove myself.

To become the right version of myself.

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 … ?

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.

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 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.