Walk the dark path
Sleep with angels
Call the past for help
Touch me with your love
And reveal to me my true name
~ Nemo by Nightwish
I may not be one of those people who always knew they were in the wrong body, but there were a good number of clues throughout my lifetime. Things like preferring to climb trees and kick a ball around with my brother, not being too bothered with dolls – although I still liked some girls’ stuff. Then again, so did my brother. Both of us are definitely more in touch with our feminine sides than the average guy, which has both helped and hindered me through the years.
It all went downhill around junior school time. The bullying I endured wasn’t as severe as others have had it, but it was relentless. It lasted from when I was about nine years old, right up until I left sixth form college, and I could never understand why. Having a full mouth for someone of my age certainly started it, but they just kept finding more reason to torment me. The underwear I wore – which made me loathe communal changing rooms and become very self-conscious for a long time – my fascination with the early development of one or two of the other girls, other things that I wasn’t even aware of. When an English teacher in senior school finally dragged it out of a class, all I got was “She’s different.” This didn’t help me at all back then. How was I different? Why did it even matter?
Besides, at that time I had other problems; my parents had been arguing so much, my brother and I would go walking when we noticed the signs. We started to hope they’d hurry up and split. Because of the growing stress in the home, it was being taken out on each other, leading to growing resentment between Mum and me. The fighting became three-way, with the kids caught in the middle and bearing the brunt of Mum’s anguish, which continued long after they finally divorced.If there was any love to be seen, it was hidden well.
So I tried to compensate by other means. After my attempts to fit in at school failed/backfired, once I got out into the workplace I went a little nuts. I racked up debts through retail therapy, mostly – not the usual clothes etc., but technology and computers. I’ve always loved it, but that time I got ripped off in the high street still plagues my finances to this day.
Mentally and sexually, I was a late developer. I waited until I was eightteen before I lost my virginity, and it went downhill from there; relationships lasted about two to four months as I hoped that this time I’d experience real love. With each time my expectation of sex dropped that little bit more, but also became aware over time that something, somewhere, was very wrong. A few times I did enjoy it physically, but mentally I just couldn’t relax enough.
Eventually I discovered I was attracted to women, when I was in my early to mid twenties. It explained some of what I’d experienced while younger, but some things were still out of place. I spent that year wondering how I felt about men, and it took one particular guy to make me realise I did still find them attractive – four months later, however, I had ended the relationship after finally realising he’d been lying through his teeth about… pretty much everything. He completely destroyed my faith in people, and to further complicate matters, about a week later I discovered I was pregnant.
That news didn’t go down too well with my family at first. Mum tried to coax me into abortion, but I wanted to keep the baby. As the months went on, they grew accustomed to and even looked forward to the new arrival. Mum and I went shopping for maternity wear and baby equipment, and she often bought toys she’d found while out for herself. However, the pregnancy ended six weeks early in stillbirth, yet as I gave birth to a dead baby, I also witnessed my own death.
I eventually ended up on Fluoxetine (like Prozac) for a couple of months – it probably would have been longer if my body hadn’t already accustomed to it. As I lingered on the waiting list, I decided to try and make something of myself. I’d considered my options and abilities – I’ve been writing for a long time, I’m into computers, I like video games and had a play on this hobbyist game making program – and after working at an off-licence for over a year, I decided to apply for a University course in Leeds, which required me to move house. By the time I got to therapy, I was happy – I’d had an unconditional offer and felt I was finally doing something worthwhile.
Predictably, though, some time after being discharged and still awaiting the move to Leeds, I started to fall under again. This time I was aware of some kind of gender issue, brought on partly by feeling more conscious of excess body hair, broad shoulders and “boy’s hips” as Mum often described them. Thankfully my family is very open-minded, so I didn’t mind unloading to her when she invited me to. I was very confused and told her so; I can’t remember what exactly was discussed, but the question she asked that really sticks was “Are you happy to be female?” (Or words to that effect.)
I first discovered the true depth of gender problems when I had to prove my research for a game idea – our first project for Uni. The idea I had was one that had been around for years, and one of the characters was a man who’d rather be a woman. I’d read true life stories on the matter before, and real life is where most of my ideas come from. While researching, however, I’d come across the term androgyne, which can mean feeling either genderless or a good mixture of both. Another piece of the jigsaw slotted into place – I decided that must be what was going on and left it at that.
When Uni fell through years later (long story), it gave me more time to think. I started to fall under again, and began to wish more and more that I could press a button and become male. I kept clinging to the andro theory while seeking work – and sometimes relationships, although that only happened once – and by that time, I had been brought back to Jesus. I felt truly loved for the first time, I’d had powerful spiritual experiences in that short time while talking to an old online friend, who helped me to develop my faith. Once more the true nature of my gender problem was pushed aside as I sought to learn more about this new lifestyle.
Fortunately my church follows the saying “Practice what you preach”. I’ve never been around such loving people in my life. Now, nearly two years later, God has healed most of my old scars. As my relationship with Him grows, so I hear Him more and more. Now it is Lent, where we practice the discipline of a forty day fast – not necessarily from food, but anything we feel we indulge in too much. This year, I’ve chosen computer and video games, yet even as Lent approached I didn’t feel like playing. It was like He was already preparing me for this.
One night, I had a dream. I tend to be aware of my dreams, and they’re almost always personal in nature (unlike the whacked out kind my brother has). This particular night, I saw God looking down upon me with this sad but loving smile, saying “You’ve been trapped in here long enough”, and reaching towards me – to pull free the man from inside the female body. Over the past few days, He’s been explaining that He means to finish the job He started, and the implications this will have.
Through becoming what I now know is what I should have been in the first place, I will eventually know what it’s like to be fulfilled. I will also know that I will be persecuted, looked down upon, possibly betrayed by people I think now are friends. I’ve already been accused of leaving Jesus and following the Devil, saying I’ve turned away and can’t hear His voice, when I know the opposite is true. Ignoring this call now would be committing the sin, not “changing what God had made”. People don’t choose to be born with gender anomalies any more than they choose to be born with Asperger’s or Cerebral Palsy, and I’m pretty sure God hadn’t intended to make them that way.
I’ve seen my doctor about this now, and thankfully she was very understanding, even though I was pretty nervous. When a problem lies buried for long enough, you forget it’s there, so her asking me brief questions about my past was quite tricky. Typing this all up now will be helpful for me when I get to see whoever she’s referred me to – she has said she wasn’t sure who I needed to see, but that she’ll call me when she does know. All I can hope for now is that it doesn’t take too long, even though this is the NHS we’re talking about here.
~ The above was written back in 2010 (hence the publishing date). Since then, I’ve gone through fun and games with my hormone treatment, had chest surgery and have now recovered from what is now my final operation. As I have mentioned in my posts (imported from LiveJournal), I fail at regular updates, so there are a lot of gaps. Now I’m setting up a proper site that will also serve to provide resources for British trans* people, my main task will currently be to fill those gaps as best I can; part of that involves continuing the story I started here in 2010.