Friday, January 12, 2018

Surprise! I'm a dude!

Some of you already know this, and to some this will be a surprise. Today, on my 33rd birthday, I am officially coming out as transgender.

When I was very young, perhaps four, I garnered a lot of mocking when I told my female cousin E, that she couldn't play with my male cousin S and I, because the game was 'only for boys'. S still likes to bring this up, laughing that I thought I was a boy.

I still have to quietly swallow the words: "I am."

I remember asking to wear boy's uniforms at school. Often. Only to be rebuked by the principals. I remember their faint confusion and my resentment. I remember being ordered by teachers to take off the shorts I always wore under the skirts and dresses and viciously refusing, thankfully to be backed up by my mother.

I remember a childhood resistant to dresses, but plenty of sharks, dinosaurs, mud, trees, frogs, creeks and sci fi adventures. I was shorts, t-shirts, short hair and bare feet. And I was blessed to have a mother who just let me be, even though most of the time I was trying very hard to be a dinosaur. Every time I played pretend with my friends, I was a boy. And I was very happy then. I'm sure to a certain friend of the time, Stormy, this announcement is not news.

I remember the aborted attempt to transition when I was 17-18, when everyone knew me as Frankie. I was terrified by the effort I thought it would take to pass and I remember my confusion when my friends at the time mocked me for wearing makeup or skirts. (To those friends, I forgive you, I love you.) I couldn't find a place in either role. Then I finally resigned myself to the feminine. Then I got very fat, because I was depressed.

In the same way closeted queers sometimes pretend their partner is someone else in order to follow through with intimacy, I needed to pretend I was someone else. And a sincere and heartfelt nod to all my exes who went along with that.

I have never been a woman when I dream. I am always male. Ever since I was a child, and still, to this day.

For years, I struggled to look a certain way. I chose Nigella Lawson as my fashion role model and tried to match her hair, her clothes, her figure. And the closer I got, the more I hated myself. I couldn't walk past a mirror without feeling sick. The sight of my own reflection was like medusa or basilisk. A horror fit to turn me to stone. I always expected to see the man I am when I dream, and the person in the mirror always a stranger.

I, very unfairly, pushed my femininity onto the object of my unrequited affections. I told myself if I could be feminine enough they were attracted to me, I would stop hating myself. I punished them for my failure, and I lost a friend who is still owed an apology. You did not deserve a confused man in a dress burdening you with his self-worth, I'm sorry. (You don't owe me shit, but the olive branch is still extended if you want your bro back.)

I met the amazing Miranda Sparks who one day said something like: "You don't have to be out to be trans, if you feel you aren't the gender you were born with, that's enough." One casual facebook post saved me.

It was, stupidly, the first time I realised what my problem might be. I brought a terrible men's wig and a binder and went to Rivers to buy men's clothes. I was so scared someone would challenge me going into the changing rooms I was nauseous. I went to my first trans meet up and told other friends it was a cosplay group.

Most of you have seen my hair slowly getting shorter. Some of you know I donated most of my femme clothes and have been rebuilding my wardrobe with new style icons (Kelly Turnbull and G-Dragon, if you must know).

A few of you even know my preferred pronouns are masculine. But now I am making it official. Dude, guy, bro, he, him, his, dad, uncle, nephew, Mr, prince, king, boyfriend, brother, son.

I am not going to insist you use my correct pronouns if you don't want to. You can be an ass if you like, just don't expect me to use your correct pronouns either.

I'm also not going to be mad if you get it wrong accidentally. 33 years is a long habit to break for me too.

For those of you who are wondering what to call me now, since Talitha literally means 'little girl', a lot of friends already call me Tag. Family calls me Tee or TJ already, and I am leaning toward 'Jake' as a full time masculine name, since that is what people tend to call me in dreams.

Also, I know you may have some questions about what comes next for me, transition wise, but in most cases the answer is: "Unless I intend to sleep with you, it's none of your fucking business." And pro tip, I don't intend to sleep with you.

If you are a man and you are wondering if being attracted to me makes you gay, the answer is no, you might be a little bit bi—however I'm not into you anyway, so you can get on with your life. Same goes for lesbians.

If you are going to tell me it’s a shame, or that I look better as a woman, just unfriend me now. I'll see you again when I piss on your grave after your funeral with my giant, manly dick.

That said, everyone so far has been fantastic. I have had nothing but support from my friends and family so far. A special shout out to Alanna, James, Miranda and Meg for giving me extra support when I needed it and the confidence to keep moving forward with this process.


(If you're not sure how to react right now, please read my earlier blog post on how to react when someone you love comes out as transgender.)

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