Q&A on Being Transgender
Below is a Q&A I did for two students in Germany working on a research project involving transgenderism. If you'd like to help them on their project, info on how to get involved is at the bottom of the post.
Q1. When was the first time you realized that you're in the wrong body?
A1. I actually have a little issue with the phrase “in the wrong body”. I never really felt trapped in my body but rather not really connected to it. I didn’t put the pieces together that I was experiencing gender dysphoria until I was 28 years old. That is when I actually could put a name to it. I realized this when I was able to trace anxiety that I was experiencing daily to certain physical elements of my body and also feeling like I lived in my mind… not my body. I do have early memories as well though. My earliest is around 6 years old when I was outside in my overalls with nothing underneath them (no shirt). It hit me that I would soon no longer be able to do that and that showing my chest would be “inappropriate” because I was a “girl”. A deep sadness filled me in that moment and it was the first time I realized that my perceived gender would dictate my life.
Q2: How and when did your proccess began? Did you go to the doctor first or to whom did you talk to?
A2: My process started pretty quickly after I connected the dots at 28 years old. I was standing there is a mirror holding my boobs out of vision (my hands covering them and pulling them up). I realized that I did that all the time and it just clicked for me that it was because I’d always wanted a flat male chest. Instead of pushing the thoughts away, I started to explore my gender expression and do research on transmen. Pretty early in this process I knew without a doubt that I was trans and that I was going to need to transition if I wanted a better life experience. I held off pursuing hormones for one year and in that year did everything I could outside of hormones to feel more like myself… more masculine. I shaved my head, wore a binder, tried using a packer, expressed myself differently sexually, tested out names and pronouns, and (most importantly) worked out a lot to put on muscle. By the end of that year, I was desperately wanting to start the process of hormones. I had already been in therapy for quite some time and had my therapist write me a letter of recommendation. I then saw an Endocrinologist and once my blood work was cleared, I started testosterone.
Q3: How did your family/friends and the people around you react?
A3: I came out as trans before I started hormones to my wife first, then my therapist, followed by my mom, and then a few close friends. Their reactions were all positive overall. Mostly, they just wanted to offer support where and when they could. One of my friends reacted in a way that really surprised me. They pointed out all of my female features. I’ve also had people say “I’ve always known” which is not a way to respond to someone coming out… it really invalidates the conversation. The most tense part of coming out for me was when I came out to my entire business network and clients. I own my own business and had to eventually email all of them letting them know my name and pronoun change. That was nerve wracking but the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Q4: Did you had any surgery yet? Which one was the most significant for you?
A4: I had top surgery in December 2017. I was just over 9 months on T at that point. It has been life changing. I wanted it the second that I realized I was trans. It was the first thing with certainty that I knew needed to happen because my chest did not feel a part of me. When I woke up from top surgery, I could feel my chest under all those bandages and it felt like me. It was an incredible experience.
Q5: What was the most important aspect during your transformation?
A5: The most important part of my transition has been staying in tune with myself. I check into my feelings and thoughts consistently. Part of this is also keep my vision of my future self very clear. I know who I want that man to be inside and out, I’m working towards being that person. Part of that is also weight training. Bodybuilding has been such a huge part of my inner transformation. It is something that I’ve committed to and stuck with, it’s my way of showing myself that I am committed to loving and caring for myself. It all goes hand in hand, but the key to staying positive during my transition has been remembering to love myself.
Q6: Did you have any negative experience with people in Society who treated you different or even insulted you?
A6: I have been so fortunate to have no negative experiences in public. It honestly shocks me. I thought that I would go through that but haven’t and it taught me that we need to not live in that fear. If it comes, it comes. The only negativity I’ve experienced really has been being fetishized on social media by people who seek out transmen. That has been a weird experience to say the least, but it’s a form of sexual flirtation and advances that I see as negativity because those people are reducing me to one element of my identity/personality.
Q7: Do you think there is a possibility that these people could be more open and show more tolerance?
A7: In general, I always aim from the perspective of showing people honesty. I knew from the beginning that I would never try to hide who I really am. I felt safe enough to express it openly and so I did so in an attempt to show others that Trans people can be successful, happy, creative, business owners, friends, colleagues, etc, etc. They are human and normal. Once someone actually knows a trans person in person, it’s much more difficult to judge them from a place of ignorance.
If you'd like to submit interview questions to their project, please reach out to Aleyna and Ebrum on Instagram. Their account names are @aleynaedm and @ebrxlym. Just message them saying that you would like to participate in their Trans research paper. All trans identified people are welcome. 💘 Your information can be private, I chose to share my answers.