Three Old Posts from NoGoingBack
These are some old posts I made on NoGoingBack, a listserv for people who stopped their transition, stopped taking hormones and/or detransitioned. Most the people on that listserv still identified as some kind of trans or genderqueer even though they’d ceased medically transitioning. Most of them were females who had taken t but for one reason or another had chosen not to stay on it. I’ve always known of way more people who transitioned FtM and then stopped than those who transitioned MtF and stopped but always saw the latter get way more attention in the media.
I originally joined the listserv when I was nineteen or so, after I’d started living as a man but before I medically transitioned. I wanted to read about the experiences of people who’d physically transitioned and then stopped so I could use that information to help me decide whether to take t or not. After I physically transitioned, I would occasionally post on the listserv when I was having doubts or rethinking my identity. I posted on there a few times during the first time I stopped taking t.
These are the last three posts I made on NoGoingBack. I wrote them over the course of about a year, as I was gradually coming to recognize myself as a woman again and figuring out why I took testosterone and how transitioning had impacted my life in ways I hadn’t anticipated. By the time I wrote the last one, “feeling like i lost something”, the listserv was almost dead. Luckily for me, another detransitioned woman happened upon my post and asked me if I wanted to correspond.
where i’m at now
Mar 20, 2012
Hey, haven’t posted in a while but feel like i could use some support and contact with people who’ve gone through similar shit that i’ve gone through. i started t when i was twenty, was on it for about a year and eight months then stopped for over a year and then went back on for a bit over two years and just stopped again around six months ago this time for good i think. i liked how t changed me physically for the most part but not psychologically or socially.
i see myself as having both multiple genders and no gender at the same time. i feel like a woman and a man among other things and while i want my manhood recognized, over time i’ve realized that i don’t want to move through the world as a man. i used to see myself as a trans guy but don’t anymore and i’m feeling more and more like a genderfreaky butch dyke. i feel like my manhood is part of my womanhood, that my experience of being a woman is being a woman who can be a man, not only because i have enough traits traditionally ascribed to men to pass as one but also because i can feel like one and see myself as one. i know this might be hard to understand. i’m still figuring this shit out myself.
i’ve basically had to scrap nearly everything this culture has taught me about gender, about what women and men are in order to understand what i am and it’s taken years to get to the point i am now. i’ve had to realize that in my case, manhood and womanhood aren’t opposites, instead they’re so similar they blend into each other, they can be the same thing, i can be a woman and a man at once, though they can also be distinct as well.
a lot of my problems both in dealing with other people and dealing with my self has been that i don’t fit neatly into a single gender or sense of self. in the past i felt like i had to choose to be one thing, either a butch dyke or a man and so ended up mutilating myself in the process. in some ways i feel like i sacrificed my genderqueer/dyke self to my manhood because that part of me got way more respect and understanding from both the straight and queer worlds i moved through and because i knew i wanted to take t but had trouble conceiving of that as something a woman would want to do. i don’t really have any regrets about taking t, i think it helped me figure shit out about my self but i feel a lot of pain about how i repressed or hide aspects of myself.
apparently i make a very convincing man and i was passing as a guy long before i took t and i think that greatly influenced how i saw myself. i think i started to associate having my masculine attributes recognized and respected with passing as a guy. before taking t, people who knew i had a female-assigned body would more often than not assume that i must be trans because i’d changed my name to a “guy’s name” and looked and acted like what they thought men were like so i had to be one, right? People would use male pronouns for me without asking me if that was my preference. Looking back i can see how i received way more positive feedback from people when they saw me as a guy, trans or otherwise, than if they saw me as a dyke or gender ambiguous.
In my younger teenage years, i used to be into challenging ideas of what a woman could be. i saw myself as boydyke and liked being gender ambiguous. It was only when i got older that i felt more pressure to be one thing or another and my idea of what a woman could be became narrower. i’m now trying to go back and explore some of the ideas i had when i was younger.
i also think it’s significant that in the years when i was heavily questioning my gender there was other intense shit going on in my life. my mom was sinking deeper and deeper into depression and eventually killed herself when i was twenty. i started t a few months after her death. i’m still untangling how my relationship with my mother and her madness and suicide intersect with and influence my gender issues.
one of my ways of handling rough times in my life is not being able to remember those times. i still have trouble remembering my life when my mom was still alive because it can be so painful to realize what i’ve lost. i have trouble remembering a lot of my youth because other kids ostracized me and harassed me a lot and i felt a lot of hatred towards myself. i feel like some of my manhood is me, is something i’ve been living since i was a kid and some is a coping mechanism, something i’ve learned to be in order to survive in a world that doesn’t get me or want me all the time and i’m sorting out which is which. i think became a guy in order to try to start over, escape my past in some way. i kind of realized what i was doing at the time but not really why.
now i’m trying to go back and deal with my past experiences, trying to reclaim parts of life and self that i’ve repressed. i’m not surprised that reclaiming my dyke/genderfreaky self, seeing myself as a dyke/genderfreak again has brought back a lot of memories and emotions from my youth. Overall, it feels really good, like i’m more of myself, like i’m not trying to cut myself down anymore to fit into any stupid standards of what this or that kind of person has to be.
i’m realizing that a large part of my experience of being a woman is being one who isn’t what society thinks women are supposed to be. like i said earlier, for me being a woman is not being the opposite of a man, i’m a woman who has been and in some ways still is a man. i’m a woman who has a hard time relating to most other women i encounter but that doesn’t mean i’m not a woman, just that there are a whole lot of ways a woman can be.
i could write more but i’ve already written quite a bit and this isn’t something i can unload all at once anyways. i want to write a lot more, maybe start a blog or something to write about my thoughts and experiences because i’ve looked for people writing about these issues and they’re isn’t much out there. i really want to write more about how social factors and trauma can have an impact on one’s gender because i don’t think that gets talked about enough at all. it almost feels taboo in some communities. And talk about being someone who can’t really place themselves into a single gender because i know i’m not the only one who feels this way but it certainly seems like a lonely place to be much of the time.
thanks for reading, hope y’all are doing well in whatever life you find yourself in at present.
coming out again
Sep 24, 2012
so i’ve been off t for almost a year now but i still pass for a dude pretty much all the time and it’s starting to drive me crazy. i grow my beard out and my voice is deep, so i’m not shocked that people read me as male. i like my beard and my deep voice and all my other “mannish” features. i’m the most comfortable i’ve ever been with my body. it just feels wrong when i get seen as a man all the time. if it was just some of the time, like when i was younger i don’t think i’d mind it so much.
i’m thinking about telling friends and acquaintances to start referring to me with “she” and “her” pronouns in order to help have a social presence more in keeping with how i feel myself to be. these days i feel pretty genderweird/fluid but i also feel pretty strongly as a butch dyke and i want that part of me to be seen. i’m not sure if i’m moving towards a more female identification overall or if my female parts just need to assert themselves for a while after being hidden/suppressed for many years.
i feel pretty fucking anxious about coming out though. i’ve only told very few close friends, most of whom are genderqueer themselves, about how i currently see myself. i’m nervous about what to tell people because i’m still not really sure what i am and i’m afraid being a work in progress will make me seem less “real” to people. i’m also afraid people will misinterpret coming out female with coming out feminine. i guess i’m also afraid of being treated like i was before i took t, having to struggle to get taken seriously, being asked disrespectful questions, crap like that. it probably won’t be so bad once i start coming out to people. i have problems with anxiety in general. things often seem far worse in my head than they actually turn out to be in reality.
i suppose part of it is explaining how i got to this point. i’m still figuring that out and it seems fairly complicated. i know at least some of why i took t had to doing with trying to adapt to a hostile and ignorant society and also some dose of self-hatred and narrow ideas of gender that i internalized. at some point i went from trying to challenge what women are supposed to be to trying to fit in to male standards, to judge my own masculinity by how well i was passing as a man. well i pass pretty well as a man these days but more and more that doesn’t feel like what i am. sometimes i still do feel really male, which is confusing but even if i am man some of the time i don’t want that part of me to dominant all the others.
i’ve just been getting into the idea that there are all sorts of different masculinities and those exhibited by men are just some of what’s possible and it’s fucked up that they’re the only one’s taken seriously. it makes me angry too, observing how differently i’ve been treated being read as a guy versus being read as a butch dyke or gender ambiguous. i don’t really feel like i can tell my story without criticizing the current state of society.
i want to write a zine about my experience with trying to figure out my gender, living as different genders, going on and off hormones. i feel like it’d be good for my head and also maybe helpful for other people to read about. i know i like to read about other people’s complicated [sense] of gender so i’m sure somebody would be interested in reading my story.
feeling like i lost something
Mar 3, 2013
i’ve been wondering lately if taking t was a good idea in the long run or if i stayed on it for too long. i’ve been feeling like a butch dyke/woman pretty consistently and even when i feel like a man occasionally, i feel like some sort of female man, different from cis dudes and most trans dudes too. i’m getting tired of being seen a man all the time and more and more i feel like i want to be seen as a butch woman. i don’t want to be seen as guy for the rest of my life. some of the time is ok but not all the time. i want my queer visibility back. i want to recognizable as a dyke.
i’ve been wondering too about what my body would’ve been like if i’d never taken t. i liked how my body was before in many ways. it was already pretty masculine/gender ambiguous. i appreciate what i’ve learned from taking t but part of me wishes i had learned how to accept and appreciate my body as it was. i have a feeling now that i lost something, both in terms of my body and how i’m seen out in the world.
i feel pretty confused at the moment. i’m not totally sure what i am or how i got here. my sense of gender has changed several times in the past and i’m afraid of investing too much into being a dyke only to have it change again. though i recently read something i wrote on here almost a year ago [the post I wrote on 3/20/12, “where i’m at now”] that i can still relate to and i’ve also struggled for years with feeling like dyke/woman and not knowing how to express it, being afraid to go back on transitioning/being a man after all the work i had put into it.
something i think i’m still struggling with is internalized misogyny that tells me that identifying as a woman or female makes me less masculine or “radically gender transgressive.” i think i’ve gotten fucked up messages about gender from both mainstream and queer culture. like in queer culture, i think there’s a hierarchy of queer masculinities and some are seen as being cooler or more “radical” than others. after being told by so many people that i make “such a good man”, how i’m “so passable”, i’m afraid that telling people i’m not a man will somehow call my masculinity into question because my masculinity has been equated with “being a man” for so long. i’m afraid saying i’m a woman will mistakenly be taken as saying i’m not as masucline as a man.
i think i might be both genderfluid and a woman. i think i’ll still feel like a boy sometimes but coming from the place of being a boydyke. i can relate a lot to butches who say they feel like both a man and woman in some ways.
it’s been about a year and half since i quit t and my face has changed a lot, i look a lot more androgynous but i still pass as a guy all the time. i’ve been noticing what looks like dudes doing a double-take when they see me in the men’s room though, so maybe i’ve changed more than i think. still, i’m worried about not being able to be seen as a woman again. it’s surreal, actually, wanting to be seen as a woman so bad when for years i did everything i could to prevent that from happening. i’m hoping things will improve once it warms up some and i can wear less layers, show off the shape of my female body more. i’m so glad i didn’t get my tits cut off. i used to feel ambivalent about them and considered top surgery but now i love them in part because they help me express my femaleness and gender ambiguity.
can anyone here relate to anything i said? anyone have tips for being seen a woman while presenting as butch/masculine?