Category Archives: LGBT

Identity & Comfort Zones

My lesson for today:

It’s ok to be a woman who wants to look/act like a man.

Not that I didn’t already know that, but it must have been important enough that someone would point it out to me. For anyone who has been following my blog for a while, or for those who know me on a more personal level, you know that I have been struggling for some time with identity. It’s far more than the questions of who am I? or where do I belong?, but also, am I in the right body? 

Ever since I was a tiny child, I remember imagining myself to be a boy. I liked girls, therefore logically, I’m a boy. That seemed to suffice for a young me. Now, as I get older, I’ve begun dissecting myself and my life in order to find that place where I can feel a sense of peace within.

One thing is certain and has never changed: I am attracted to women! I love women! Women do it for  me! The only attractions I’ve ever had to men were more of wow, I wish I looked like him.

Another certainty, I love masculinity. I love dressing in men’s clothing and looking like a man. I am most comfortable in my own skin when I look and feel masculine. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have feminine qualities. Sometimes I feel as if I am more comfortable with my own femininity the more masculine I look. When I look in the mirror, I am much happier with the masculine me.

I’ve always rebelled against labels, but at the same time, I’ve always wanted to “fit” somewhere and realize that in most cases, labels are important in finding others of like mind. For a long time I referred to myself as a lesbian. Other terms were harder for me to swallow. After I’d just come out, words like “dyke” or “butch” seemed offensive to me. Now, I find them to be power words.  It is the same with “FTM” or “Transman”. I turned away from expressing myself using these words because of my own fears about myself. Now I embrace them.

Yes, it is ok to be a woman who wants to look/act like a man. And yes (!), it’s alright for a transman to decide he doesn’t want to take hormones or have chest reconstruction surgery. Just the fact that I have come to terms with who I am, I am now slowly realizing that I don’t have to be anybody other than who I am. I don’t have to be like everyone else — I can be me!


Living with the Enemy

I’ve come to understand that a large part of my journey is about healing. Any type of change is scary for me, so that also means the healing process can be terrifying. Every day I search for that part of myself that is the strongest. I need to be strong not only to face the road ahead, but to deal with the bullshit of the past.

I’m a very private person and rarely share information about my private, offline life, online, especially since there’s a big part of my real life that isn’t connected to my online world. My current living situation is less than desirable. My fellow housemate and I have been part of each others lives in one capacity or another for the last 17.5 years. Yes, that’s a long time!

At one time, this woman was my best friend, my lover and my confidant. We’ve had major up’s and down’s over the years but have still managed to be part of each others lives. In other words, we overlook the things about each other that drive the other nuts so that we’re not alone. It’s been dysfunctional for some time and now it’s become toxic.

I’m moving out from behind my protective wall by exposing so much of myself in this blog. This has become a space for me to get things off my chest and try to process them. My therapist says, and I agree, that I tend to hold things in and shut down, which isn’t doing me any good. So I’m vomiting everything out on these pages in an attempt to work through things and move past them.

This post came about thanks to Chaz Bono. As a fellow transman, I respect Chaz and his decision to transition. I understand the difficulties he has surely had throughout his life, as I’ve had them too. I feel a strange connection to Chaz because we’re the same age, just months apart. I’ve watched her grow from a tiny girl into a handsome man, and I see him as an inspiration for me.

A commercial came on the television last night. There was Chaz looking at an interview with Cher talking about her reaction to the transformation, etc. I came into the living room in the middle of this and mentioned that I was bummed I hadn’t seen the entire thing. This started a “riff”.

When I see other people’s faces scrunch up in disgust and hear such heated hatred spew from their mouths about Chaz Bono, I think to myself, it’s not Chaz you’re pissed at — it’s me!

The housemate went on to get angry, calling Chaz “selfish” and a “brat” because “she” didn’t consider that other people (Cher) would be mourning the loss of a daughter, and that “she” was born a female and therefore that’s how she’s refer to “her” as.

Now, it’s important that I note here that I would normally have been emotionally distraught over this and felt  such terror inside. Terror, why? Because the boat is rocking, because of insecurity, because of fear of persecution, because of fear of being alone, because, because, because…

This time, however, I spoke up, stating that I was proud of Chaz for being himself. I also pointed out how narrow-minded and prejudiced it was to refer to Chaz in female form when he is clearly a man! I was pissed, and it felt good to feel angry! There’s nothing I can do to change her mind, and I’m not even going to try. She has a prejudice against transgendered persons because deep within she knows that I am transgendered and she sees that as my choice.

What get’s me is that she’s a lesbian and has fought for years against stereotypes thrown at gay people about choosing to be gay. She should understand that transgendered people don’t choose to be born into the wrong body!  But then again, this comes from the same woman who recognizes my “man core” and who begged me to go to therapy, not to help me find out who I am and make appropriate changes, but to get “fixed”. She opened up that can of worms and now she’s pissed because it’s not going the way she expected.

It’s so odd to me that someone who claims to love you so much wouldn’t want the best for you. And yes, I am being selfish — for the first time in my entire life I am being ME. I refuse to go on in this life lying about who I am for the sake of anybody’s feelings. All I’ve done in the process is hurt myself and dig myself into a larger hole. I want out of the hole. I want to be free and I want to live!

Every day that goes by, I have less and less patience. While at first I was terrified at the thought of having to find a new place to live and drag my pets through hell, but now each day is harder and I want to be there less and less.

As my therapist says, something has to move…I need to move!

“Man Core”

During my life, I’ve met all sorts of people. When I identified as a woman, and as a lesbian, I met women who were hardcore man haters. There were always reasons why they hated men, such as male privilege, gender discrimination in the workplace, and the list goes on. Even while I identified as a woman, I was not one of those women who hated men. I had an ex-girlfriend who used to torment me about being bisexual as opposed to lesbian because of my defense of men. Little did she know that it was because I AM a man. Even I didn’t realize that at the time, but looking back, it makes more sense why I was so highly offended.

Recently, I went to the park with an ex-girlfriend to walk dogs. I asked her to take a picture of me with my dog, Kali Ma, so that I could add something new to my Twitter/Facebook accounts. She took several pictures and stopped for a moment and stared at me. I asked her what was wrong and she said, ‘you look just like a dude’.

Mind you, I wasn’t dressed any differently than I normally am. There wasn’t anything about my physical appearance that was different. I brought this up to her and she mentioned that it wasn’t so much my physical appearance but the energy I projected. She referred to me having a “man core”.

At first, I was exhilarated by the fact that she noticed this “man core”. I’d certainly never considered it as I spend more time obsessing over the reasons that keep me from passing successfully as a man. It was a short-lived moment of progress, but then I realized that she was utterly disgusted by me. That hurt. This woman who had once loved me was now plainly disturbed by the energy I projected, although I took that to also include my physical appearance. I was heartbroken in an instant — not because I felt guilty or that something was somehow “wrong” with me, but because of her instant rejection and blatant hatred of my “man core”.

My “man core”, as she referred to it, is my essence. It’s my true self. It’s the part of me I had repressed all of my life. The part of me that I have now come to accept and love. The part of me that is now shining through me. ME.

Ever since this encounter, I’ve played the scenario over and over in my head and even with my therapist. I am still the same person I’ve always been, minus pretending to be female and lesbian, which, in my defense, was a process I had to go through to get to where I am now.

I played the “straight” game for years. It’s what was expected of me. I was supposed to meet a nice man, settle down and make babies. I did meet a nice man. I married him too, but then I realized quickly what a huge mistake I’d made. It wasn’t his fault, and honestly, I don’t blame myself either because I had to go through that to make it to the next “level”, so to speak.

That next level was my imagining that since I was attracted to women and wanted to be with women that I must be a lesbian. I was so relieved in the beginning. I could be with women, which made me very happy, although my family and some friends were obviously appalled. I felt free for a bit, but then, I began to take note of my discomfort in the bedroom. Mind you, I had absolutely no problem pleasing women, but when I realized they wanted to please me sexually too, this became a bit of a struggle. I had such body hangups that I’d never realized before. I couldn’t relax and at times I preferred not to even be touched. Something about it just wasn’t what it was supposed to be, and I was naive enough to believe that it would be ok, that there would be no questions and that women, like men, would be overjoyed at being ravaged without having to return the favors. I was so wrong!

Looking back now, it’s crazy to think that it took me so long to put all the pieces together and realize that my discomfort with my body is because I am in the wrong body! It isn’t because I have a mental disorder or am a control freak in the bedroom, it just simply comes down to body dysmorphia. It amazes me how repressed, subconscious thoughts/memories can affect your life. Now that I have embraced myself as who I am, a man, I am learning new ways to work past body and self-esteem issues.

All of this brings me to thoughts on physical transition. In my continued research of the FTM community, I find what sometimes seems an unspoken “rule” that if you are a transman that you will take hormones and have your breasts removed. Although I’m not happy with my body and I will probably be working on body image issues for the rest of my life, that does not mean that I am ready to go under the knife. If I’ve learned anything in my search, it’s that I don’t have to transition physically at all. In my mind, I’m male. It’s my “man core” that is the primary source of my being, and with or without hormone therapy and/or surgery, I always have been, and always will be male.