Yes, I know, it’s been a year – over a year, since I wrote here, since I said that I’d “keep fucking blogging.” I’m looking back on my 2012 reflection. And to be honest with you, nothing has really changed.
In 2013, I saw Dr Seal at GenderCare. Then I saw Dr Curtis at Trans Health. Twice. I saw my GP and a nurse. And then I had four vials of Sustanon 250mg in my hand. Testosterone. The most expensive medicine I’d ever purchased.
It’s 2014, and those four vials are in a drawer somewhere. Intact. Sealed. Unbroken. I was so ready, I was so scared, still I was ready. But then I got my blood and hormone levels checked. I got that prescription in my hand. I was told I was ready. I got those four vials in a pharmacy carrier bag. I looked like I was ready. And then, that bag, just stayed. My conscience, unscathed. I don’t really know what happened. Why everything just ‘stopped.’ Because the truth is, it didn’t, everything kept going, life ran as fast as ever, and I was soaring.
I’m looking back on 2013, and the first Trans Pride Brighton has happened. It was indescribable. I was a part of that and it’s been incredible. I made that happen and that’s unbelievable. Reclaim the Night took the streets of Brighton once more, and hands less shaky, I spoke out about violence against the transgender community. And on 20th November, I cried out, on the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Truth is, I’m happy. I’m trans, happy and proud. This year has made me. The communities I’m a part of, the people I’m passionate about, my friends who I look up to, have all made me. And now I’m making ‘me.’ At the end of last year, just before the winter holidays, Dr Yelland received my referral for chest surgery. At the beginning of this month, I unknowingly started counting down the days.
Happy New Queer! Fuck, I still feel so rough. New Year’s Eve, what a night! What a mess… Got to get healthy before surgery, no smoking, no drinking – just as well, I’m never partying again.
I’m thinking about partying, going out and having fun. Last year was the last summer I’d be binding. I won’t have to think about wearing vests, keeping cool or passing out. I can go camping, I can go sunbathing, and I can go swimming. This is going to be so alien.
This is going to feel so unfamiliar. It’s been years since I felt cotton on my chest, since I haven’t felt a restriction around my ribs, since I felt my own hands on my chest. Since I felt anyone else’s… What is it going to feel like? A sudden absence, so close to my heart, will I feel sad? Should I? It’s no doubt, things will feel noticeably different. Sleeping on my front, sleeping on my side, embracing myself and others… It’s going to feel noticeable different. I’ll look down and see a stomach, where a protruding mass of my female chest should be. A mass I despise so much, but a void I fear.
I am scared. I’m scaring of disappearing. I’m scared of becoming invisible. I’m scared of becoming something I don’t want to be. Because that’s what it is right, a transition from female to male, to appear more male and to become more male. I started crying last week and I couldn’t stop. It felt like I was mourning something. I couldn’t explain it. But I’ll try now.
The invisibility of the trans man is emotionally crippling me. My current state of androgyny is saving me and hurting me.
I know I’m a ‘she’ when I’m with my queer girl friends and my queer girlfriend, with short hair, flannel shirts and nose rings. I’m one of them. It is frustrating, how someone can assume a person’s identity based on what’s around them. But I deal with it. This weekend, walking past Oceana, West Street, with my partner, someone yelled: “Ooh look lesbians! Wait, she’s got a beard!” That was really hard, for both of us. Homophobia, sexism, transphobia… It really hurt. I’m guessing the colour of my skin made it easier for that loud observation too.
But when I’m a ‘he’ when I am addressed ‘Mr’ on a letter, at my bank, at a coffee shop by myself… I am by myself. I feel alone. I feel invisible. And that hurts too. I feel like I’ve lost something. That’s when I mourn.
I know that chest surgery won’t change any of that. The way I appear is the way I’ll continue to appear; the perception of a male chest will just become the reality of a flat chest. And I’m glad that it won’t change that, because the feeling I have that doctor’s and GP’s will call ‘gender dysphoria’ is all internalised. I’ll feel comfortable, finally, in my own skin. The skin I should live in.
I think what worries me is that after chest surgery, I’ll hear those four vials clink in my draw the next time I open it.
What about now?
Are you ready now?