Just wanted to say Hello to everyone!

  • July 1, 2016 12:10 AM BST

    Hello! My name is Dana, and I've recently decided to start reaching out a little bit as I've always kept my innate and intense compulsion to being trans. I live in Maryland, but will soon be in South Carolina when the summer is over. I've been planning on looking into hormone replacement therapy and speaking to a professional I am familiar with in the near future. In the meantime, I’ve wanted to try to finally meet some friends who I can develop a true understanding and empathetic relationship with as trans people are very rare to meet. I used to feel apprehensive about talking with anyone about this. In terms of speaking to a professional, I was afraid of stereotyping both gender roles in my attempt at explaining why I am the way I am. I’ve taken a handful of “gender tests” online that you can take which ineffectively place you on some level of a spectrum. A lot of my friends tell me that trans people don’t bother them, but with the way we are perceived in the news, it makes you wonder. Over the last few years, I’ve observed a continuous coverage of the transgender topic. First, they wouldn’t stop talking about the wisdom of parents who treat their own transgendered children. Then, for a little while, Jenner kept the topic hot in the news and still seems to be on fire with her show and inherent fame. Now, the main focus is still upon the bathroom dilemma. I’m surprised that it’s been in the news for as long as it has. Considering how small of a minority we are, I feel like news organizations stay up to date on the topic simply because it is controversial and makes people tune in. I wish I knew more about how other truly trans people felt about how they are perceived in the news. I feel that some might feel that greater awareness of our existence is a good thing while others might feel that the topic is treated frivolously and is trivialized, nothing more than bait for viewers who are somehow tired of the infinity of other news topics available beyond death, terrorism, and politics.
    There are a lot of things that I’d love to talk with everyone about as I’ve had little to no external input on these matters beyond my own inner reflections. I try to be as objective as I can and have a tendency to contemplate these things heavily. Hopefully, I’ll meet some good friends on here and expand my horizons even further.



    • 1652 posts
    July 1, 2016 10:04 AM BST

    Hi Dana and welcome.

    Thanks for posting a bit about yourself, it's always nice to meet someone new.

    I can't really comment on the US news situation, although I am aware there is a lot of TG issue coverage I don't know how we are "portrayed" in the news over there. In the UK news I don't really think we are portrayed in any particular way. But we have the Gender Recognition Act and we really don't have newsworthy issues any more. Hopefully it will go that way for you eventually.

    I see that the US has just lifted the ban on trans people joining the forces, another step towards full integration. Now, if they can just sort those bathrooms out...

    There's no doubt that the general situation is improving both here and there, and I'm sure that's why numbers of people transitioning are increasing.

    There are many experienced individuals here, and many who are just starting out or just considering it. The forums here are a huge resource, so please post away if you have any thoughts or questions.

    Good luck in your journey!


  • July 1, 2016 10:22 PM BST

    I am very happy that you read my post Lucy, and it is a pleasure to speak with you and anyone else who is willing to post replies. I think the motivation behind the news situation is depressing since news is based more on profit today than anything including integrity and authenticity. I was at a local news station when I heard about the ban on trans soldiers too and during the same broadcast, they talked about another trans bathroom high school incident that apparently had some consequences for the student. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the full broadcast, but I’m pretty sure I can fill in the blanks myself. But, wow, two trans stories in one broadcast. For a minority that is less than one percent, I think we’re getting a serious amount of attention these days.

    Way before I signed up here, I had to start thinking to myself about what it exactly it was that distinguishes someone as trans. I kept thinking to myself, “Is it just the physical desire to have a body of the opposite gender and express one’s self as that gender, or has it more to do with an innate inclination toward traits that exemplify the gender role of the opposite gender?” While I was at a used bookstore before I moved about two years ago, I found a book that was written by a doctor who performed some of the earliest research on this very topic. He was an excellent technical writer, but his lack of grammatical structure made most of his sentences run-on and ultimately nonsensical or mixed in their meaning. I think it was before the 60s, and he mentioned early in the book that there were no references available related to the kind of counseling he would provide, so he found himself, fortunately or otherwise, breaking new ground. He even had to classify his patients based on their motivation. Throughout the course of his research, he found that the motivation behind why people as well as many children who exhibited strong signs of transsexualism engaged in this type of behavior. In several instances, children would wear their mother’s clothing and be sexually stimulated by it. He considered this a fetish. There were other adults and children who did the same thing or were found applying makeup because they literally thought they were girls regardless of their anatomy. Then, of course, there were a handful of cases regarding children playing with the wrong toys, wearing costumes of the opposite gender, girls who like playing sports, boys with feminine inflections/traits, etc., which were all phases the patients grew out of. Although it seemed interesting, I felt like I had learned little from the book because it didn’t help me understand myself any better. It didn’t address daily habits, emotional states of mind, and impulses that might be indicative of transsexualism. In other words, they seemed to be rather extreme cases whereas I felt my own case was a little less severe or sort of snuck up on me.

    I’ve lived with some questionable habits and thoughts which I generally kept to myself for years or justified in various “reasonable” ways. Before I was 13, I think I was as normal as they come. A girlfriend of mine who knew me a few years before that said that she was attracted to me when I was very young because she perceived that I was not a very masculine boy. I was very short, petite, but very active. I’m not sure if she’s a very credible source because she told me years later that she battled dysphoria all her life not being a totally feminine woman herself, even though she was quite beautiful regardless. Anyway, I considered myself normal until about that time. Afterwards, my body started changing, and I think it frightened me. By the time I was 15, I stopped wearing shorts and really didn’t swim all that often either. I didn’t like the changes in my body, and started hiding by wearing pants and long sleeve shirts all the time. At the time, I thought it was just the style that I wanted. I started getting so much taller, but I wasn’t getting bigger. And, of course, the body hair started coming in a lot. Also, when I’d look in the mirror, I always felt like my hair was too short for some reason and had it grow way down my back. I felt like my nose grew too big and dreamed of changing that as well. Facial hair wasn’t much of an issue although I tried to keep myself as shaven as possible, but I was very strongly tempted to shave my entire body when I was about 18, which I did. It felt amazing, and I felt like I could open myself back up to the world, but what if everyone knew what I did to myself? What would they think of me? Sadly, shaving everything wasn’t without consequences, and I found myself covering everything up again. I tried to find a way deal with that, but it seemed to be no use. As a result, I kept building upon my cover.

    I didn’t like men’s clothing at all either. I hardly ever fit into them. I never wore jeans specifically, something a family member would continuously remind me of. I grew up to nearly six feet, but I was very thin and had small feet. I almost needed a belt to fit into the smallest men’s size pants available, and most of the “small” shirts that I wore were just too baggy. I used to think, “Why can’t men have the same stylistic choices that women seem to have?” After all, in the malls, there were more clothing stores solely for women, and even where I used to buy all my clothes, (JC Penny) the men’s department was rather small compared to the women’s. I wasn’t into athletic wear even though I grew up playing a lot of sports. I generally tried to go for a casual/formal look. I used to wear dress shoes all the time. That was also tough to shop for sometimes because my feet were at the lower end of the spectrum too! A size 7.5-8! Anything larger would flop off my feet easily. Nevertheless, I went along with this style for a while, got into vinyl for a bit, and then stumbled into vintage clothing. In the past, men used wear tighter fitting clothes and bells which I fell in love with because they matched my shape and style perfectly. Some flare out like mad, others are form-fitting around the thighs, most ride all the way up to the hips and feature wonderful colors, the shirts had brilliant textures and fabrics, etc. My outward expression went through the roof then as anything seemed to go. If it was okay back then, it’s okay now, right? It was just a style that went out of fashion and doesn’t mean anything in particular about myself, does it? I became this super chic, stylish, and loud trendsetter, and it started gaining me a lot of attention. Strangers would give me the best compliments and ask where I shopped way more often that I was ready for. However, some of the attention was not so good.

    With my hair the way it was, I looked like I could’ve come out of the seventies, which I didn’t mind as it is one of my favorite eras of music. Opinions about the style of that era are divided. I met a girlfriend around this time and started seeing her a lot. We’d bum around the area, having all sorts of random fun, and she even moved with me when I moved out of state. We eventually started dating, and she once told me that when I’m not looking, some people would give me strange looks or sort of chuckle. When we would shop, we would invariably split up, and people wouldn’t assume that we were together. She said that on numerous occasions, she heard people comment that I was most likely gay. Sadly, I was aware of the judgments before I started hanging with her. I used to go to the mall alone sometimes, and I could hear people saying things as I passed them or laughing. Malls have a tendency to attract people who are shamefully trendy, and I felt like I had more character than them. I didn’t care. I tried to build an immunity to such nonsense by thinking that I was just supremely unique although I never understood how I got to that point. I realized, somewhere along the line, that it was because of my defiance toward the choices of clothing that men have today. I felt that they were just too casual, conforming, dull, and tasteless. It's a one-size-should-fit-all mentality instead of having clothes that fit well. I didn’t like them and was attracted to something more feminine in nature using trends from the past the justify my style. My family was mostly okay with it except the one family member who never let me forget about jeans also never let me forget about how abnormal I’d become. When I was with my girlfriend, I stumbled upon some information about hair removal technology. I thought it would be so great to have no facial or body hair at all. It seemed exciting, but I never had the money or time to seriously devote to that. Not yet anyway.

    As all good things eventually come to end, my girlfriend and I were fast approaching our end as I was moving out of town to continue pursuing a degree in school. We couldn’t agree upon a solution in regard to my inevitable transfer, and we split about a half a year before I left. While things were still going well, I found a note in our apartment when I came home from school one evening. She subscribed to Cosmo and wanted me to read an article about someone who came out as transgender. About a year prior during a difficult time where I had to leave home for nearly a year, I had already started doing my own research into transgender living because I found myself fantasizing regularly about being a woman instead of the queer, effeminate male that I was by birth. For a long time, I felt like I was a good balance of both, but the truth of that matter was that I embodied more feminine traits than masculine by far both biologically and emotionally, as my girlfriend used to tell me often. I thought that if I built my body up really well, I could develop a more masculine physique and style that could outweigh that other side of me. I studied exercise science and dieting and was building myself up pretty well. I worked on developing strength first and then was going to change the routine to develop my mass. I got so strong lifting 250-300lbs at a shot and my body was changing, but… I didn’t truly want to get any larger. I had gained about 30lbs, and I could just never force myself to go through with it. We had to move around this time and as a result, we broke down our equipment and had to stop for a while. I got back into it for a short time, but I wasn’t focused on bulking up. When I started school, I had to quit altogether due to the lack of opportunity. Now, I’m back to the tall, lithe, and petite figure I’ve always been. In the end, I felt that it would’ve just been another way of hiding or neglecting an inevitable part of myself. For a while, I just thought that I was eccentric and had a strange desire for things that I had been taught to not want or were wrong. Only over the last year or so have I realized that these eccentricities seemed to fit a stereotype. Now, I am trying to further my understanding.

    I never felt like I could relate to some of the stories that I’ve heard about people coming out as transgender in the midst of living full lives. People have been successful with cultivating families, having a wife/husband, having children, owning a house, and having important jobs. Although I dated one girlfriend for a short time, I’ve never had other love interests that might’ve even made things like a marriage or family a possibility or choice for me. Not a chance. I always thought I had a relatively masculine visage while looking into the mirror, but upon seeing some pictures of myself with my family, I started to feel differently. I looked remarkably feminine and wondered what my mother must’ve thought before showing framing it. I am often mistaken for a woman in public as well, mainly from behind which is always odd. I do seem to have a queer ambience about myself and thought that anyone who might’ve been potentially trans should have the same problem. I didn’t consider people who could get as far as having children as truly trans people until I understood that gender is more internal than external. And honestly, I’ve become exhausted by living within the limbo of gender and would rather embody the elements of one instead of both.

    I never knew if everything I had experienced was enough to justify my suspicion. I feared that if I talked to someone, I could potentially be labeled as a pseudo trans-person. It’s not like it was a choice, and that’s an important thing. People always repeat vauge cliches about life and love like, “Oh, you’ll find someone someday” and “You do whatever makes you happy” with the assumption that life circumstances or dilemmas always seem to eventually come to an end, generally a happy end. For me, there has been no end. The lingering thought that there was something terribly wrong with how I was living my life has never been solved, but there is always hope. Clarity may be right over this horizon if I ask the right questions, have some dynamic support, and see the right people. I have always looked forward to that time and am hoping that it is fast approaching!



    This post was edited by Former Member at July 3, 2016 2:56 AM BST
  • July 3, 2016 1:36 PM BST

    Excellent self diagnosis and heartwarming post.   Welcome to GS.   Regardless of age, there is always the point of self confirmation of ones needs to be happy and contented.