An ode to gender âš§

It seemed so easy at the time. Being born a female, I mean. Aside from a c-section birth due to me deciding to be upside down in the womb (even as a fetus I was rebelling against the man), the simple thing was obviously what gender I was. I had the boobs, I had the vagina, I had that sexy sexy uterus. Oviously (get it-ovulate?Ovius? I’ll go home) I was female! I was too, happily so, for a time. I had the kiddy make up kits, the pink glam outfits, those butterfly clips and plastic bobble hair elastics so in vogue in the 90’s, and a various assortment of BRATZ dolls. Not to mention an unearthly amount of stuffed animals.

I never really thought much about my female body, or the societal expectations put on me as a kid either. It was a simple time, where my biggest concern was playing Ratchet And Clank and finding the best broken branch to use as a bad-ass sword. There always was the whole “no boys/girls allowed” “only girls/boys can play this game” or the fantastic “boys/girls have CoOtIeS!” present, but thats the typical child gender stuff I think everyone experiences. It might be different in 2019, I think there are a few drag queens who are like 10 or 11 now…drag princesses? Drag babies? Anywho, my point is, gender was not anywhere on my mind at the time. There was sort of a cognitive dissonance when my parents wouldnt let me run around shirtless all of the time, but I was lucky in that they didnt buy me girl specific toys. I had the bionicles, the k’nex (a cooler version of LEGO) and even…NINJA ACTION FIGURES. So while my unability to be a nudist was an annoyance, it wasn’t like I was drowning in gender stereotypes at home. I do know some parents seem to be very dead set on gender specific toys -which confuses me- but I was lucky that my parents were more open minded in that sense. Needless to say, being a girl was the least of my worries…

That is until the dreaded SEX EDUCATION CLASS in 5th or 6th grade. I remember this entire scenario so vividly. We were seperated into two rooms by gender, and each got our own ‘special’ videos to watch, videos that would…explain…everything? My fellow classmates and I watched on in a state of awe and horror, as we learned about the beauty of puberty. After the video ended we (the girls) got these little pink bags with free ‘fun’ gifts inside! Deodorant, pads and panty liners, and an entire booklet telling us about the joys of menstruation. I don’t know what else I was expecting, but I was very disappointed at the lack of toys inside. After that, we had QUESTION TIME. I giggled at my friends question (is it okay if my boobs are uneven?) and if you ever happen to be reading this (you know who you are) thank you for lightening up a very terrifying experience. Your boob question was not in vain my friend! Anyway, after recalling that traumatic, yet necessary experience, I think its time to move on. Basically, it was like getting a gift I never wanted to receive.

So with the now present threat of ‘becoming a woman’ looming over my young head, I started having a different view of gender, sexuality and my now feared body. Fast forward a couple years, to young me in high school. Freshman year. Let me repeat that. Freshman year. A time of great sorrow, a time of great confusion, and a time of great edginess. The year is 2010. Lady gaga is absolutely slaying it. Kesha is drinking a bottle of jack after brushing her teeth, and Obama is the newly crowned Queen of the USA. Emo kids roam the halls, perfecting their hair flip with every turn, and rubber bracelets proclaiming their love of BOOBIES are on the wrists of every popular kid in school. I was a pretty innocent little sunflower, and I was also a pretty unpopular lil sunflower. The two combined created one of the weirdest years of my life. I went from a goofy kid running like Naruto to an edgy ball of pent up rage and sexual frustration. It was during this most edge inducing time that I started to really question who I was, and my role in society. I was always a misfit, but this was a different kind of different. The kind of different that said “Hey, uhh, we kind of might not be a girl after all…even you know, with that whole having a vagina thing? Yeah…”

I didn’t know what a trans person was. If it weren’t for Queer Eye, I don’t think I would’ve known what a gay person was. The only trans person I had ever heard of before was Chaz Bono, and I explicitly remember feeling extremely indifferent to his existence at the time. So when these questions about gender identity and sex started popping into my head, I was mortified. At first I ignored it,figured it would go away. Instead, I started getting into a little something called….the FURRY community. Yes. That furry community. I also was identifying as a therian at the time -a human with an animal spirit. I think this was my way of coping with my gender woes -I later found out that this was very common amongst trans kids. Why worry about gender at all when you can be a wolf? Come on. My body dysphoria had to of been something, and I happened to think it was because in my previous life I was a wolf. I would wear a tail and collar to school, and started construction on my very first fursuit. And you better believe I have pictures. (I also got into a band called Furries In A Blender: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpxV9UBM-FU )


Yet even after dabbling in the art of human-creature hybrid, the problem still persisted. I still felt strange in my body, odd in how being a girl seemed so foreign. I became increasingly aware of the pain it caused me to wear female clothes -especially having boobs, to identify as female, and dont even get me started on SHARK WEEK. I felt so ashamed of who I was, but when I finally admitted to myself that this was more than just a phase or me being a bad ass anthropomorphic werewolf man. This was really who I was. I wasn’t a girl, I wasn’t a wolf, and I finally found the courage to admit that to myself. It was around 2011 or 2012 I think, that I finally got the guts to look up the question “feeling like a boy when I’m a girl” on google. Thats when I found many amazing websites like https://www.susans.org/ and http://www.ftmguide.org/ and also a slew of youtubers who were also FTM (female to male transsexual.) This feeling of not belonging gifted me with a trip to the mental hospital, and it was in the childrens psych ward that I came out as “wanting to be a boy.” I was diagnosed with depression and GID, or Gender Identity Disorder. It amazes me how far we’ve come progress wise, because the diagnosis is rarely used these days. I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was even retired from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Illnesses.)

I don’t want to get too much into how my family reacted, mostly because I got lucky. My parents werent happy but they were accepting to a degree at first. It was termed by my mom as me “wanting a mustache.” I was lucky in that my parents didn’t kick me out, and they eventually budged and let me start wearing boy clothes. I remember being so so excited after getting my first package of boxers. Who knew undies could make a guy so happy? I experimented with chest binding, and used ace bandages and tape to bind my chest. It was super uncomfortable, and my boobs are still a major dysphoria thing. DO NOT bind with ace bandages. They can deform your chest and ribs, and constrict your breathing. There are many great companies out there who sell binders, and if you are closeted or unable to get a binder, try using a couple sports bras, or check out some trans communities online, some do binder giveaways! I think at this point I was 15 or 16, and I was getting a firm-ish grasp on who I was. The relief I felt at this point was monumental. It was so freeing to finally just BE. Finally exist as the person I was. The person I was becoming. It was honestly one of the happiest times of my life, being able to experience that. It’s terrifying to come out of the closet, something so life changing, so integral to feeling that much closer to who I was. I am grateful that I was able to come out publicly, and not hide anymore. My condolences to anyone unable to come out, it gets better and you will find your people. I love you for who you are. Coming out is hard, but after you do, that feeling of freedom is just…amazing. Indescribable. Like when you finally open a stubborn jar! RELEASE! Finding the transgender & transsexual community and the LGBT+ community, was like coming home after a long trip to a foreign place. I felt welcomed, safe, loved for who I was. It was beautiful.

I started hormone replacement therapy a few years after -after graduation, and started taking testosterone, by patches and later, injection. The patches are definitely the easier route, but they are more costly than the injection. I recommend patches if you have a needle phobia, but the changes that come with patches are MUCH slower than with T injections. And no, these are not the steroids that athletes take to get big and beefy! I was so afraid of puberty when I was younger, but the irony really hit me when I realized I was having a second puberty. One of the biggest things that gave me dysphoria was my voice, and finally, finally my voice dropped. When that happened it was like God -or whatever you believe :)- came down and gave me a hug. I was finally feeling good in my own body, at home with who I was. I can proudly say, that my voice is now one of my favorite features of me. Oh! I forgot about the name changing portion of transition! Theres just so much life packed into those 4 years in high school that I can’t help but leave stuff out. This wasn’t really even supposed to be a post about my transition, but this is kind of what it turned into. So I guess I’ll stick with it! Back to the name change thing! The middle to end of junior year I started going by Marshall, because with my middle name, I would be Marshall Lee, like the boy version of Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time. But, my parents weren’t too thrilled with that name so I decided on Trey instead -although you shouldn’t let anyone tell you what your name should or shouldn’t be, its your name after all! The name changing process was fairly easy here in Washington as well, being one of the few states with protection for trans/gender non-conforming individuals.

That is not where my gender journey ends though. I know, what else can a guy be? Let’s see…girl? Check. Wolf? Check. Boy? Also check. Giant furry purple bird? Also check. I’ve been Trey for a few years now, about 3 or 4 years I think? I am currently not taking hormones, as I’ve gotten the desired effects and I feel pretty happy with my body, aside from chest dysphoria. I will probably be getting top surgery, but honestly my biggest concern at this point is moving out of my parents house. I feel comfortable with male pronouns and I do still go by Trey, but I don’t think I’m a boy either. Well, I think I am…but I might be a girl too? I might be both. I might be neither. And thats what I really want to talk about. There is a lot of stigma surrounding de-transitioning, or the process of transitioning from one gender to the other, and then transitioning from that gender back to the gender you were before. Yes, a big huge mouthful. I don’t even know how I wrote that out. I understand why the stigma is there, but at the same time I feel like we should be accepting of folks who choose to de-transition just as much as we are supportive of those who transition in the first place. I also feel as though gender is such a fluid, moving, changing thing and that being a human is just as fluid, that the stigma should be…not there. We should have understanding instead. But de-transitioning is not my point here, I just thought I would bring that up. And I myself havent de-transitioned, I guess I’ve just kind of grown into who I really am. I don’t regret transitioning in the first place either, at all. I would’nt be who I am now if it wasnt for my transition, I wouldnt be comfortable in my body without transitioning or taking hormones.

My identity hasnt been de-anythinged, its just grown with me. I feel so comfortable with myself now that I can finally feel comfortable saying that I am not male or female. I am not this or that. I am both. And neither. And everything else. My identity hasnt really changed, its just gotten bigger. Its grown with me. I’ve grown into this. I’m ready to accept who I truly am. I know this is a BIG post, but it’s nice to share my adventures in who I am with others. If this has helped anyone with their gender identity, then it was worth the post! I love yall. Being transgender is a big crazy amazing magical journey. Being nonbinary/genderfluid is also a big crazy amazing magical journey. Being me is a big crazy amazing magical journey. It’s okay to change, and its okay to grow. You need to do what is right for you, and live your authentic life, whether that means transitioning, de-transitioning, being a million genders in one, being an attack helicopter, being a furry, whatever. As long as you are being authentic and not hurting yourself or anyone else, you deserve to be who you are and live with pride. No matter what! I’m proud of who I am, and you should be too.

Also thanks for reading to the end, if you’ve made it this far, you deserve an adorable picture. Thanks again for stopping by! Be sure to comment with your gender adventures as well! I would love to hear your story.

photo from unsplash.com

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