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!