Tag Archives: male

Manning Up

In my constant quest to find other FTM’s, I find it interesting to read how others define being male. To me, being a man is a state of mind more than anything. Although the physical body has a lot to do with the way we perceive ourselves and definitely how others see us, it isn’t what makes me male.

Long before I knew anything about gender reassignment, I was male in my mind. My early youth was spent thinking of myself as male, wanting to do things that were typically for boys, and choosing masculine clothing. It wasn’t until I hit puberty and my breasts began to develop that I started having body image issues. It was quite simple to me: girls had breasts, boys didn’t. This perception came mostly from seeing the men and women in my life interact. Breasts were a nightmare for me, but I never considered there would be an option for me to remove them as a child.

Many of the FTM’s I come across today are much younger than I am. They have already had chest reconstruction, are taking T regularly, and have changed their names and genders on all forms. Legally, they are men.

I find very few FTM’s who are not planning on having chest surgery. I admire them, though, because the surgery option isn’t for everyone. I see photos of the scarring and wince thinking about how terrible the pain must be. I am very pleased to know that there are those FTM’s who are taking T but do not plan to have surgery. They are just as much male as the men who have the surgery.

This isn’t a post for, or against, breast removal. It is simply observations and what emotions they raise in me. Every time I put on a shirt and look in the mirror, I am constantly reminded that there are breasts underneath the binding and that they don’t belong, yet although I am leaning towards having surgery, I have not made up my mind. The unknowing doesn’t make me feel less than a man. It simply means I am a man with choices!

I understand that for some FTM’s the choice to have surgery is necessity. By this I mean that they are at an emotional state where they can no longer endure the pain of having breasts. It is interesting to me that my focus is more on my breasts than on my vagina. I am not bothered by the fact that I don’t have a penis, although I would certainly love one! Yet looking in the mirror and seeing my breasts is so confusing to me. Over the years it’s led to my hating my body, loathing is probably a better word, and being self-destructive with my body to the point that I am now fighting the physical aftermath.

Manning up, to me, is being able to be who you are, whether that means having bottom or top surgery, taking testosterone, or dressing more masculine, but also having the courage to do what’s right for you. Not every man transitions physically, and that does not make them any less of a man. Part of our transformation is mental as well as spiritual. Simply accepting myself as a male has made me start loving myself.

The moral to this blog: be yourself; don’t change you for anybody!

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Time

They say time heals all wounds. I’m not sure I can subscribe to that theory as some wounds are meant to be felt in the deepest part of our hearts for eternity. So I’ve asked myself, what has time done for me.

It’s been awhile since I last posted. My last entry was a poem that essentially allowed me to release years of anger and pain from a very dysfunctional relationship with one of my sisters. Although I still wonder how she is doing, and definitely still remember the abuse, it was in my best interest to cut her out of my life. It was a liberating experience, however, also sad.

When I first started this blog, I identified as “genderqueer”. I was still at that place where I wasn’t quite ready to admit to myself, and certainly not to you, that I am a transman. The thought swam through my head for years but I fought it, still holding on to that need to please others — to be what I thought everyone else wanted me to be.

In researching personal transformation stories, I began to realize recently (within the past 6 months) that I, like so many others, had reached that point in my life where I could no longer deny the truth. I’ve spent a lifetime of lies, pretending to be female and it led to nothing but depression, destructive behavior, self hate and more lies. You might ask yourself how long you could personally live a plethora of lies. How long could you exist pretending to be somebody you weren’t and pretending to be happy about it?

In February, I turned 43 years old. Some of my earliest memories are of me being a boy. My family referred to this as my being a “tomboy” and while my parents thought nothing of it and at times may have even thought it was “cute”, my sister was utterly disgusted by it. It wasn’t as if I had an entire community pressing down on me, pounding into my head that I had to be a girl, but it was, in part, society, as well as my direct surroundings that led to my development and thought process on gender.

As an example, I cannot recall kids in my junior or high school being gay positive. Quite the contrary. Anyone I encountered, from an older girl up the street to the sister-in-law of the man down the street, who showed any semblance of gender neutrality was immediately labeled in a negative way. I was given strict instruction not to go anywhere near these people, but I wasn’t given a reason why. Luckily I was a rather sneaky child and I would listen in to conversations when nobody knew I was around!

I had no understanding of gender in elementary school. What I did understand, though, was that I was attracted to girls. I would have these imaginary girl friends over for “tea”, which would always lead to an overnight stay. I was the boy and she was the girl and we were a couple. The thing that confused me most was when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t have boy “parts”, but I was a boy in my head.

My first real crush was on a girl in the neighborhood that I played with after school. I was eight. I would come home from an afternoon of running around with her and the fantasy would take over. There was tea, maybe dinner, but we always ended up in bed doing things boys and girls do. This was extremely frustrating for me, to say the least. We would ride the school bus together and I would sit in the back of the bus just so I could watch her without it seeming odd. The reality of it now is that it was odd — an eight year old stalker!

I cannot remember if I had thoughts and feelings concerning my own gender before the age of eight, which brings me back to my point on time. At that tender young age, and possibly earlier, I had already begun to identify mentally as male. From that time on, I fought every attempt to make me feminine. I have been fighting that battle for a long time. I’ve lived a life of lies in order to please everyone else, and now that I am starting this new chapter in my life, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I have no idea who I am because I’ve spent my entire life pretending to be someone else.

I am now at that place where I cannot live a lie. In the last few months, I’ve come to embrace myself for who I am — a man. I identify now as a transman because I am currently in transition, however, the day will come when I have completed that journey and I will refer to myself as I was born to be — male.

I cannot even begin to describe the weight that has been lifted off my shoulders just by embracing myself, for no longer hating myself, and for allowing myself to be ME. I know the future will not be easy. There will always be obstacles but I am confident that I will be able to prevail through truth, and in time