So I am transgender. Some of you know this and many of you don't, but I feel the urge to put down some thoughts I've been having regarding my gender identity, gender expression, and gender perception. This is me as of October 8, 2016:
For those of you that aren't aware of the process, I and other trans-individuals transition medically from male to female or female to male. This process is called Hormone Replacement Therapy and requires months of professional therapy beforehand to begin. Nearly 20 years ago, I was assigned "male" at birth by my parents on the basis of my external genitalia. Typically, psychologists identify who is transgender and who is not by the presence or absence of Gender Dysphoria, which is a feeling of intense anxiety or depression caused by one's biological sex. I have always been emotionally detached, possibly as a way of protecting myself, and as a result I did not experience the sorts of anxiety or depression usually associated with Gender Dysphoria. While this was the case, I was very
aware that something was wrong. Imagine looking in the mirror one day and seeing a face that wasn't yours. Imagine waking up one morning living the life of a stranger. Imagine opening your mouth to speak and hearing a voice that wasn't familiar to you. Now imagine experiencing all of these for as long as you can remember. That, without any exaggeration, was me. While I found all of this strange and a tad disorienting, it was not something that I felt I could control and so I moved on expecting it to eventually go away. After all, I had a pretty good childhood and adolescence. Loving parents, a big house, and a strong mind. Whoever this person was whose life I was experiencing first-hand, at least he was comfortable, capable, and intelligent. It didn't go away and it didn't get better. I didn't last one year in college before I was overwhelmed with aimlessness and withdrew. I wasn't anxious or depressed, but there was no happiness.
Up until a couple years ago, I hadn't so much as heard of being Transgender or Transsexual. I grew up in northeast Texas in a conservative Christian household. Even once I'd heard the term and learned the basic concept, it seemed outlandish to me. The phrase "a woman trapped in a man's body" sounded as ridiculous to me as it does to many of you. But then I started reading blogs and watching videos made by trans-people talking about their lives. They didn't say things like "I am a woman trapped in a man's body" or "I am a man trapped in a woman's body". No, they didn't say that. Instead, they explained how they knew they were trans and their stories struck a cord. Although not every trans-person's experience is the same, enough mirrored my own that it finally dawned on me that this
might be the cause of my physical estrangement. Having withdrawn from college and given up on life, I told my conservative Christian parents how I felt, what I thought might be the cause, and how I might find happiness. They didn't understand, but they loved me enough to support me and educate themselves on the matter. Since then, I have completed my psychological evaluation, been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for 6 months, and I've started at a more liberal college in a more liberal city. My family is awesome, my friends are awesome, and life, while stressful, is pretty freakin' awesome.
This is what I wanted to put down "on paper" for future reference. I am transgender insofar as I don't identify with the biological sex I was assigned at birth, but just because I don't identify as "male", that doesn't mean that I automatically identify as "female". There are many Non-binary gender identities that are not located on either side of the gender binary. Over the past year or so, I have actively
identified as a woman, Non-binary, Genderqueer, and a couple others. The reason for this inconsistency is not my own willingness to take on new identities and labels, but rather the opposite. I take how I label myself very seriously and strive to always tell it "like it is". Every time I took on a new label I did so with the notion that I'd found the right one, only to then abandon it soon after. At this point, I have no idea how I identify. In all honestly, I feel that I and the vast majority of other human beings do not experience their gender identity on a conscious level. Our gender simply is
. In contrast, many people, regardless of gender, do experience their gender identities on a conscious level. Because I am not one of them, I have no way of knowing how it is that I subconsciously identify. I have since accepted the fact that my gender identity is uncertain, but it is important to note that my gender expression is not. I express myself femininely and androgynously, and the Hormone Replacement Therapy is changing my body in such a way as to be perceived by society as female. For that reason, I choose to use she/her pronouns and to be legally recognized as female for the sake of convenience. Western society is not currently designed to accommodate me and others like me, and I don't expect it to.
For those of you who are disappointed that I haven't made a map in ages, just know that I have been very busy with my transition, school, and social life. I still love alternate history and I do occasionally start maps, but I don't have enough free time at this stage in my life to complete them. This won't always be the case, but for at least the next few years there is really no way around it.