Bending Gender (till it breaks)
Okay, so -- throughout my transition I kept a blog where I poured out my agonies, uncertainties, and the collection of bizarre and hilarious experiences that happen when you're living-as-trans, and when I moved from LJ to my own webspace I archived my greatest hits here -- the best of times and the worst of times both. I had it linked from the main page for a while, then took it down when the haters found me because, well... a lot of this is very intense and very personal, and I was profoundly uncomfortable knowing that people who hated the fuck out of me had read this stuff, that they knew these things about me.
And then I decided I needed to grow a thicker skin.
Because I'd also gotten emails from people writing in tears to say that until they found my blog, they'd never read anyone else's trans experience that resonated with their own. That all their lives, they'd been second-guessing themselves and their identity because it seemed like people like them weren't people who became trans -- which was exactly what I'd been feeling, when I was a wee young proto-transsexual, which was part of what drove me to write this and to make it available in the first place. To these people, I was the website that I wished had existed when I was in their shoes, the one that validated their experience and said, This is also a way to be trans. If sharing my experiences helped them, at all, then it was worth putting myself out there, and fuck a lot of haters.
That said, I think it's also worth emphasizing that these entries are, by and large, many years old. These are not memoirs, composed long after the fact, viewing history through a long lens and smoothing over the warts of my past with the wisdom of age. They were written in real-time, when I couldn't see the forest for the trees, when I was in the middle of an agonizing struggle about my own identity and the decision of whether or not to transition. They reflect the thoughts and fears that were chief in my mind at the time, and, in retrospect, they reveal some rather breathtaking blind spots.
They're not what I would write if I were writing now. Many of the fears I had when I was pre-transition turned out to be baseless; some of my opinions and beliefs have evolved since then, and I don't agree with everything that past-me says. Certain things that bothered me then don't bother me now -- and vice versa. I wasn't particularly sensitive to the nuances of language, and how certain words can subtly invalidate or undermine trans identities; I've since been schooled out of using the word "trannie," but for past-me, that was my default self-identifier.
But I'm not going to go back and "fix" any of it, for one very important reason: transitioning is a process, and we all need to be reminded of that sometimes. That's all too easy to forget, because whoever you meet, whenever you meet them, you are meeting them at one specific moment in time, yet our instinct is always to treat that as static, to regard that as their forever-self. When you're young and confused and desperately uncertain of your identity, and you meet a late-transition person who's passing, who's reached their zen place on the other side, it's hard to see anything of yourself and your struggle in them. But the truth is that we all went through that stage of being desperate and confused and miserable. Yes, I have come out on the other side -- but the confidence, comfort, and happiness that I enjoy today was hard-won. It didn't come easier for me than it does for anyone else.
So these are snapshots of the past, freeze-frames of what I went through to get where I am today. They are, as it were, the historical record of me.
Some background info and navel-gazing:
The Trannie Thing: How I Got Here
Born This Way (?)
Excerpts from the life, roughly chronological:
The IDKE Story
Adventures with a Tokyo Headshrinker
The Only White Guy Not Getting Laid in Japan
Guilt, Guilt, Guilt
The Most Uncomfortable Conversation You Will Ever Have, Bar None
I Haz a Hormone
O, Brave New World
Needle in a Haystack
The beautiful Yuuto (or, Gaybrul Tries Dating Again)
Part I: The Lead-Up
Part II: The Morning After
Part III: The Post-Game Analysis
Back in the States
Letter to my Senator
The Long Slog to Surgery, Part 1
A Ridiculous Interlude
Some Thoughts, Shortly Post-Op
The Surgery Story, Part 2
Rounding it out:
A Comprehensive Survey on FTMs
The Guide :: The Story of Me :: Articles & Essays :: Talk to Me