Walking In Their Shoes

In case you haven’t figured out from a previous blog post: I am a man. I am a trans man, if you count the pre-qualifier.

I’ve been asked how I knew I was (I am) trans many times. The answer isn’t that I always knew I was trans but that I always knew I was a man. Well, maybe. I always knew I wasn’t like other girls. I say that more easily now that I have become so much more comfortable with myself. But can I really say that I was a girl?

The trans handbook says things like:

I have always been a man/woman. I was never really a woman/man. My outsides never matched my insides. I was always a man/woman on the inside or in my head and heart and soul.

If I have always been a man or boy, can I really say that I was a woman or a little girl? Well, I was certainly raised as one and lived as one. Was I just pretending?

If you’re looking for the answers to these questions I don’t really have them. From my lens of perspective, I think it is a little bit of both.

I have always been a boy. I was raised as a little girl so that made it really hard for me but I think I can confidently say I know what it is like to be a little girl. Even if I was only going through the motions because it was how I was being raised. But gender is fairly meaningless to children until they are taught otherwise. I don’t think I was a boy pretending to be a girl. I was a kid pretending to be an astronaut.

I have always been a man. That made puberty and early adulthood even harder. I don’t know that I can really say that I was a woman. I have had female experiences but I didn’t think in the same head space that women do. I’m not generalizing that all women are the same so I’m hoping that you’re sticking with my thought process and not critiquing every statement. I know that I didn’t quite think or feel the way a woman does. I did experience the same fears a woman can feel for safety reasons, but to be fair a male identity doesn’t really stop a trans man from living with some of those same fears.

Sidebar: Socially, there is a lot of discussion about men not understanding the constant fear that many women live in. I understand where those statements come from having lived as a physical female. That said, I think there is another side to these arguments: men can experience emotions, such as fear, too. Men are taught and conditioned to bury and hide those feelings to the point that it becomes too easy to forget that they have them at all. Ironically, it’s gender stereotyping on both sides that is perpetuating the issues. There are so many powerful, public speeches coming out about the gender inequality that is good for creating a dialogue for change but not when it turns into an attack on men that are being accused of being beyond understanding. Unless you are a sociopath, we all have the ability to emphasize and learn so no one is beyond understanding if we come from a place of education and not accusation.

Back on topic….

By the time I was old enough to be physically considered a ‘woman’ my head and my heart and my soul finally knew I was a man. I lived as an out lesbian for so long that I know what it is to be a lesbian but I don’t know what it is to be a woman, not really. It would even feel strange to say, ‘I was a woman.’ But I was a little girl… and a little boy.

Maybe I can at least say that I have walked in a woman’s shoes (literally, heels suck). I know that my ‘past life’ as a female made me the man I am today. Maybe that’s why I had an easier time with my transition than others. Yes, it was awkward (sooo awkward) but I wouldn’t be who I am now without that time. It’s not easy being a woman and not many men can know what that feels like but maybe a few of us can at least empathize on a deeper level.

Life gets better for all of us when we try to understand other lenses of perspective. That’s why I share all of this. Maybe by sharing I can help someone else understand a different lens from their own without them having to walk in some awful heels. At the very least I think I will make a great father to my as-of-yet unborn little girl because I can empathize with her more than she will realize.

Making of this Non-profit

I did not plan to make a non-profit organization. As it is, I post on this site completely anonymously for the protection of myself and my family. However, I have been very blessed or just plain lucky throughout my transition and have always felt the need to pass on that blessing by offering mentorship or educational resources whenever I can.

ABOUT ME

First disclosure: I am a transgender man (female-to-male) and I have lived fully transitioned for 5 years.

Second disclosure: I have been on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for 5 years and had top surgery (bilateral mastectomy) 4 years ago. I have not chosen to have bottom surgery (more on that later).

Third disclosure: I live in Texas so most of the resources I am referencing are specific to my state but that does not mean that they are not applicable elsewhere. I hope that with time I will be able to offer the same resources about other states as well.

MY STORY

I did not start my transition until I was in college. Before I transitioned, I lived as an out lesbian. I come from a conservative family who had been loving and supportive of my sexuality even when there were times of struggle. This is just one of the many reasons I say that I am very blessed. Though I had long felt the need to transition, I pushed those feelings aside and wouldn’t allow myself to consider the possibility that I might be transgender because I felt like I had already put my family through enough. It wasn’t until I was dating the woman who would later become my Wife that I was finally able to truly accept myself. I have never been more comfortable or confident with myself than I was until I transitioned to become the man I am today.

As a further blessing, my family was even more supportive and were the encouragement behind starting How To Trans. Whether or not it grows to be more than a resource website at least it will be my contribution. I was able to journey through my transition from a place of education and it made all the difference. I hope I can offer that to you.

NOTE TO PARENTS AND OTHERS

These resources are not only for transgender people. I will include many posts and pages for allies, people who are unsure how they feel about trans issues, and yes — Parents. I’m specifically making a note for parents because:

A) I wouldn’t be anywhere without mine. They are a dependable constant in my life. I know that isn’t the same experience for everyone but I can only speak from my own experiences. I wish others had the kind of parents that I do but you can’t have mine — because they’re mine.

B) It isn’t always easy to be a parent to a transgender child, no matter their age. Scratch that, it isn’t easy to be a parent at all but sometimes transitioning can be or seem to be a self-involved process and people forget that parents and loved ones are transitioning as well. Parents, I promise I won’t forget about you.

I will be sharing resources that helped my parents and loved ones over the years. Again, I hope they help you as much as they did us.

Disclaimer: I am not now, nor will I ever be, speaking for anyone but myself and through my lens of perspective. I am not the transgender poster child, nor do I intend to be. There are probably many things I will say or points that I will make that are from my opinion, based on my experiences. While I do not mean to provoke or trigger anyone, I have in the past offended other transgender people (seriously, one misunderstood text conversation and you’d think I was a transphobic tranny) – case in point, I use the word ‘tranny’ comfortably while others find it extremely offensive. I am not a representative of all transgender or LGBT(I’m not typing the whole alphabet, it’s confusing) people. I am not politically correct. I am human and my lens of perspective is that many LGBT are overly sensitive and unsympathetic for others who don’t oppose or oppress but still struggle with aspects of humanity, such as the LGBT, that they have not had the exposure or education to better understand (which is a major focal point for providing these resources). If you don’t like or agree with something I have said or shared feel free to tell your best friend, but don’t tell me or ask me to change it or tell me to ‘check my privilege’. I find it offensive and it triggers me in my ‘safe space’ of free speech. That is my truth and I’m living it the best I can.

Anonymously.

On the interweb.

Signed,

HTT