My connection to the GLBTIQ community:
I used to be really connected to the gay community and majority of my friends were gay men. Now these days it’s more the trans* community that I’m connected with. That all changed after I did a queer adaptive leadership program called Q&A.
During Q&A, I started remembering my childhood and had a massive breakdown. I wrote about five pages in my Q&A notebook that they gave us on the train home from class about my childhood in relation to my gender. There were countless examples about how I knew I was and behaved like a little boy but had that ignored by my family. Some of these things included me always fighting with my mum about wanting to wear boy’s clothes instead of girl’s clothes and only being able to make friends with boys. My very first memory of it all was in kindergarten when I would have been about 4 years old. I saw my friend pee standing up and I got really confused. I went home and asked my mother why I couldn’t pee standing up like my friend and she told me “It’s because he is a boy and has a penis and I can’t do that because I’m a girl and girls don’t have a penis. Girls have a vagina.” I got really mad at my mother and started yelling at her that I’m a boy. Then I put socks in my underwear and told her “See, I am a boy. I do have a penis!”
When I got to about 8 years old, my mother gave me the puberty talk. I was so scared of the fact that my body would grow breasts and I’d start to have periods. It felt so wrong for that to happen to me. My mother said I’d one day meet a man, get married and have babies. I didn’t want that either. I was so scared about my body changing that I convinced myself it wouldn’t happen. I started puberty later than most too. I used to wear 5 layers of shirts to hide the lumps on my chest because I was so ashamed of them. I even refused to wear a bra until the age of 15 when I started getting bullied about it. I used to wear baggy jeans so my hips wouldn’t look curvy. When I had my first period I freaked out. I thought I was dying because I didn’t think it would ever happen to me because I’m a boy in my mind. When people found out I liked girls I got bullied heaps. I couldn’t understand why it was okay for all the other boys to like girls and not get teased about it. Eventually at 15 I started cutting my arms because I didn’t know what else to do. I hung myself in a psych ward but didn’t die because the curtain holder was held up by magnets. I drank paint stripper and battery acid all with intent to die but it didn’t work and thankfully I’m here today to tell the story.
In 2008, I saw three psychiatrists from the Gender Dysphoria Clinic about it who all diagnosed me with ‘Gender Identity Disorder’. Even though I was approved to start testosterone I chose at that time not to start testosterone due to it not being the right time and I hoped it would go away and fix on it’s own. During Q&A in 2010 I started to question myself and my life again and opened up those wounds. After writing those 5 or so pages I had a two week brake down of being depressed, frustrated and crying heaps. I finally realised it was the right time to address this and to not bury it because it wasn’t going away or getting any better. I told my doctor and we talked options. He said he was more than happy to give me testosterone because I had been approved by the Gender Dysphoria Clinic and had waited two years to make the decision.
Now I’m almost a year and a half on testosterone and I haven’t looked back. Since starting it my voice has broken, I’ve lost a lost of fat from my face, hips and thighs and gained lots of muscle on my shoulders, arms and back, I get hungry heaps and eat a lot more, I have urethra growth so I can pee standing up, my sweat smells stronger, I have more body hair on my stomach, legs, arms and I’m starting to grow little fluffs on my face. The emotional changes have been crying less often and getting angry instead, not letting anyone walk all over me, being more clear about my needs, I’m more confident, I’ve become more impatient and at times irritable. But all in all I would never go back.
I feel so much better using the male toilets rather then feeling uncomfortable using the female ones and having girls tell me I’m in the wrong ones! It’s nice to be out in public and not have people stare at me trying to work out if I’m a girl or boy. It feels really good having letters addressed to Mr and getting called Sir. It feels so good when strangers refer to me as he. Every time people treat me as the gender I am in my brain, it makes me feel more complete each time. My chest surgery is a month and a half away. I’m so excited! I’ve wanted this since I was 14 and now it’s finally happening. I am living proof that things get better if you hang in there.
My advice to anyone feeling the same way is to not ignore it or be ashamed of it because that will make things worse. Instead talk about it honestly. The more you talk about it, the more things will work out and get so much better. It’s not the easiest thing to do but for me, it was easier to transition to male then to not. If you’re ever considering taking your life away remember if you hang in there, I promise you it will be worth it. Things got better for me and they will get better for you too.