Anybody in the LGBTQ community is well aware that you never really fully stop coming out. Yes, you’ll come out for the first time to a close friend or family member, and then you’ll slowly expand your circle of people who know, until everyone knows (at least–this is how I handled it). As a trans man who passes incredibly well now, people who don’t know me don’t know that I was born a girl. Sometimes I’ll mention it in passing to a coworker and leave it at that–I feel I don’t owe them an explanation. If they want to learn more about when someone says, “oh yeah I was born a girl,” they can use Google. It may seem harsh, but it’s exhausting enough, after going through my transition, to have to explain to everyone what that process entailed.
I digress–that is a sensitive topic for me.
Anyways, I vividly remember when I told my mother that I believed I had gender dysphoria. We were sitting in my psychiatrist’s office for one of my annual check-ups–to make sure my antidepressants were working. After I had given her the rundown of what had been happening in my life for the past six months, I said, “Oh, and I’m pretty sure I have gender dysphoria.” She made a note of it on her little yellow notepad and that was the end of my session.
I asked my mom to come to that appointment with me because I wanted her to know that I was dysphoric and I wanted to tell her in a safe space so that we couldn’t get into a huge argument about it, which is what happened when I identified as a woman and I came out to her as gay.
I remember driving home together, my mother firing her usual rapid questions at me. “What does dysphoria mean? What is it? Why do you think you have it?” etc. I understood (and still do understand) why she had so many questions. I mean, most parents don’t even have “my kid might be trans” on their radar!
I didn’t know how to answer my mom’s questions, I didn’t know the answers myself. When dealing with something like gender dysphoria, it takes time for you to figure out where you fall on the gender spectrum. At least–it did for me.
I didn’t know where I fell on that spectrum. I didn’t identify with typically “feminine” things, and while that alone doesn’t mean that I am trans, to me it meant that I wanted to distance myself from being a woman, and try to be more gender-neutral or androgynous.
That worked for a while, but my thoughts started drifting back to testosterone, a chemical that I knew would alter my body in a desirable way. I would read trans men’s stories online and look at comparison photos of guys before T and while they are on T. The more I researched, the more I realized that was what I wanted, and the rest was history.