reflectin' & dissectin', thoughts on "detransitioning"

Tag: Transition

Journal Entry from 12/8/12

I wrote these notes near the end of my twenty-sixth year, a few months before I started corresponding with another detransitioned woman I met online. I had already worked out quite a lot on my own. I was still living as a man when I wrote this. A few close and trusted friends knew I was questioning what I was again and that I was starting to think of myself as a woman/dyke more and more.  I’ve added a few notes for clarification. I’m not sure why I put quotes around word transition.

things i think contributed to my decision to “transition”
living in a patriarchal society:
-getting a lot of shit for being a “masculine” woman
-getting treated better when i passed as a dude
-making more sense to people when seen as a trans dude rather than a girl
-internalizing standards of male masculinity [As opposed to “female masculinity”, which was still a concept I used at the time. I was referring to how I tried to fit in with men, those born male and raised to be masculine. How I measured myself against the men in my life and depictions of men in culture and media.]
-people didn’t know what i was and would remark on it, assume i was a hermaphrodite, that i had a dick, etc
-not wanting to be treated like most women are in this society
-wanting to be respected by men and treated like “one of the guys”
-not having many cultural or media references depicting women like myself
-not having many butch women as mentors or role models
-identifying with cultural depictions of men, specifically queer men because i could relate to them a lot better than depictions of women
-feeling like dyke sex wasn’t as real as hetero sex [For example believing that what two women do together isn’t real sex or isn’t as real as sex between a woman and a man. I remember kids I went to high school telling me this, that lesbian sex isn’t real. Having sex with women who mainly had sex with men was a big deal to me because it “proved” I was as good as a man sexually.]
-threats of rape from men
-feeling invisible in this society, like people like me don’t exist

Psychological factors:
-self-hatred and depression
-became a coping mechanism and obsession
-using t as anti-depressant
-looking for meaningful, transformative experience
-wanting to separate myself from my mom and her illness
-dissociate from the past and a self i despised
-discomfort with my body
-curiosity and self-exploration
-obsessed with idea of body modification
-anxiety, wanted to become more real, felt my masculinity wasn’t substantial enough
-trying to become a new person/kill off an unsatisfying sense of self

trans/queer culture:
-trans issues were hip and cool, talked about a lot in academic scene i was in
-queers expressed discomfort with my gender ambiguity, wasn’t sure what i was, rumors at my queer group that i had tits and a dick [the queer group mentioned was one of two that I attended in high school]
-queers and others assumed i was trans because of my name, appearance and presentation, used he/him pronouns for me without asking my preference
-many trans dudes at the time hostile to genderqueerness [At the time of writing I still identified as genderqueer. The hostility I encountered towards genderqueers pushed me to more strongly identify as male and transition to prove my “realness”.]
-most dykes i met didn’t like being mistaken for a dude [In contrast, I found it intriguing and generally liked passing for male. I concluded that this made me something different from these women.]
-gender crossing, transsexuality fetishized in academia, trans people as holders of secret knowledge from changing social genders and hormones, body
-being trans friendly, to trans guys at least, was hip so i got treated well as a trans guy, though also tokenized and “othered” too

-society teaches people to be dissatisfied by their selves/bodies
-sells idea that if you buy shit, undergo procedures you can have a “perfect” body or one closer to it at least
-sells technology as solution for unhappiness
-promotes the idea of changing the person over changing society


Women Transition

Women transition.

Women transition because we feel, see and experience ourselves as men, as genderqueer, as transmasculine, as non-binary, as not female in some way. Women transition because we’ve felt male our whole lives, because when we were kids we expected to grow up into a male body, because we couldn’t imagine growing up to be a woman or growing old as one. Women transition because we never felt like we fit in with other girls, because we felt like something else, because we always got along better with boys and men and felt like one of them. Women transition because we met a trans person or read about trans experiences and so much of our lives suddenly made sense. Women transition because we talk to trans people and find our lives reflected in their words, go to trans support groups and meet other people struggling with feelings and problems we have too. Women transition because being seen as female feels wrong, because being called “she” stings, because passing as male or genderqueer and being called “he” or “they” feels right. Read the rest of this entry »

Passing Women are Quite Common

Women transition for a lot of reasons but one of the main ones is being treated like all women are treated, disrespectfully, violently, subject to many limitations, as well as getting punished specifically for being a woman out of line with the male-created ideal.

Women aren’t allowed to just exist as we please. We are encouraged and trained, starting when we are very young, to please others. If someone sexually abused us as children then we likely absorbed the message that our very bodies exist to be used for others’ pleasure.  We are taught to please men especially since they have more power, including the power to dominate whomever happens to fall beneath them in the social hierarchy. Men are more likely to sexually abuse us, teach us our bodies are there to fulfill their desires. Men, white men most of all, still hold most positions of power in industry, in the professions, media, politics and religion, they still make more money and have much greater access to resources. Dominant men use their power and influence to create a culture that centers their world views and blots out or distorts the perspectives of women and less powerful men. Virtually all women are in a position where they have to please men in order to get some or all of their basic needs met. A lot of men and not a few women in this society don’t like independent powerful women. They fear and despise such women and punish those who do not bend to male expectations or work to satisfy male desires.
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More Writing from My Past and Some Thoughts on Dysphoria

I dug up some more old writing, both from when I went off t the first time and was starting to feel dysphoric again and from when I went back on it. During these times, I thought I could have a biological condition that produced my unease with my body.

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Some Old Writing From Just Before I First Quit T

Below is an excerpt from an email I sent to a friend back in 2007, right around the first time I stopped t.

“I think I’m going to stop T in the near future. I’ve been rethinking gender over the last few months and am definitely coming to a new understanding of it. I don’t like how much my access to hormones is regulated by doctors and psychiatrists and the larger medical industry. I feel like being a consumer of such an industry is at odds with my attempts to live an autonomous, sustainable life. I’m also starting to question why what type of body I have is so important. Why do I have to change my body and follow certain behavioral and cultural rules in order to been seen as a man?  I’m tried of all the assimilationism and worship of normality I see in many transsexual communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Suburban to “Subversive”

When I was heavy into queer theory and gender studies, I was into the whole concept of “transsexual as radical sex-changing self-creating mutant gender warrior”, ideas dreamed up by mostly non-trans academics and a handful of trans people, many of them theory-heads and performance artists. I looked at what I was doing as some sort of subversive magick or alchemy. Now, looking back from a more politically and socially mature perspective, what I did seems more like a insecure kid desperate to find some way to distinguish myself in the world by becoming a “gender outlaw” (even though in many ways I was more of one before I transitioned), trying to make myself more interesting than the other white middle-class kids who grew up in the suburbs.
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Becoming a Dude: Part Two-Continuing My Gender Studies

I received a lot of different messages about my gender. Like that I made a cute boy but an ugly woman. I made more sense to people if they saw me as a boy but seemed to confuse or disturb people if they read me as female or couldn’t figure out what the fuck I was. Physically and behaviorally I was so out of line of what people thought a woman should be that my femaleness itself was questioned. Once during high school, this girl hostilely asked me “Are you a dyke? Do you have a dick?” Rumors circulated round my school that I’d had a “sex change” and at one of my lgbt youth groups I found out that some people thought I had “tits and a dick”. I got plenty of messages that as a woman/female I was a freak, not what I was supposed to be and that some people couldn’t figure out what I was and got weirded out and disgusted as a result. I didn’t get that type of shit when I passed as guy because then I didn’t upset people’s preconceived notions of gender.

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Hello Internets

I’m a genderweird woman who took t and spent several years living as a man before deciding I wasn’t male and didn’t want to be seen as one. I quit t over a year and half ago and I’m gradually attempting to come out and live according to how I presently feel. I started t when I was twenty then stopped for a while before deciding to go on it again for a couple more years before quitting this last time. I was on it for a total of about four years.

I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about why I made the choices I did and how those choices have effected me. I learned a lot from my time taking t and living as a man but I also wonder if I’d be happier now if I hadn’t altered my body. In some ways I miss my old body and how other people used to read it. I pass almost exclusively as male in public and that often grates against me and makes me feel invisible.

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