The Transition Transmission: More than Meets the Eye

When I look back on when I first began to experience my feelings of a gender identity different from that which I was assigned, I find that most of those feelings happen during a specific time, and are connected with a specific place. The time span was 1984 to 1990, and the place was the second home I ever remember living in.

During those formidable years there was a lot going on to distract from the tumult of my gender incongruence. My dad got very ill, his family sued us for guardianship of him, as well as much of the possessions we owned. As a kid I didn’t really understand all of what was going on, and since I never bonded with my dad, I probably was guilty of caring less than I should have. But I filled my time with BMX bikes, video games, and toys.

As some of you might recall the phenomenon that is Transformers began in 1984, and I have had an interest in them ever since. To be fair, I am not a toy collector, but I am enamored with the core concept; that one is simply “more than meets the eye.”

Pre-transition: I was pretty blunt about my affinity for Transformers.

I suppose one could read something almost Biblical into that concept. This notion that we cannot judge a book by the cover could easily be ripped from the book of Matthew. Maybe that’s why that’s the part of the Bible that I often gravitate toward. I have no doubt that if there is a God, they made me unique for a reason, and they made all of us unique in kind. Perhaps it’s all too ironic that those proselytizing the word of God tend to lambaste those who embrace their uniqueness for the purpose of promoting a singular vision which crushes this spirit under a religious Jackboot.

Under these fascist ideals we see the people who would otherwise thrive in life turn toward oppressive judgement against others who refuse to adhere to that control scheme. These same people, if not compelled to conform to those ideals would likely adopt a live and let live attitude. Instead they make the lives of those living their uniqueness difficult, claustrophobic, or intolerable. The tragic result of this is a life filled with so much negativity that suicide becomes a prevailing theme associated with such uniqueness.

Naturally those who drive people to suicide assume no responsibility in this. Instead they blame the nature of the individual’s uniqueness; which is likely referred to in terms such as: deviant, mentally ill, freakish, abhorrent, etc… When that’s what “good” people refer to you as, would it surprise anyone that it might break you down so much that living becomes intolerable?

I honestly believe these people are suffering because on some level they are repressing an aspect of their own uniqueness that they don’t want to be bullied for. In this they’ve chosen that it’s better to bury their pain, and distract from it by targeting anyone that exists outside what’s considered “normal.” It makes me wonder what we’d find inside the hearts of those who are active within hate groups. While I am sure some are certainly legitimately suffering from diagnosable mental illness, it wouldn’t surprise me if such participation is the culmination of a feeling that “this is the only way I can find some form of acceptance.” Imagine then, how awful it must be to be trapped living an existence as a person promoting pure hate simply because you are too scared to admit your truth.

Now I’m not going to sit here and point a finger at everyone who’s active in religion. I’ve met plenty of people who get it right. In this I have concluded that they are living a life of total clarity. If they aren’t trying to use their religious or personal beliefs to oppress those embracing their uniqueness, then they have actually already achieved their own uniqueness. No one specifically targets them because their version of being unique so closely models what is deemed “normal.” How wonderful must that be? It’s kind of like a superpower because they can proclaim faith and act in love. They can use that power to pull people into a mode of thinking that accepting your uniqueness is a gateway to happiness.

In this, we are all “more than meets the eye.” Most of us are all hiding something about ourselves. We’ve determined that being honest about this hidden issue will ultimately cause us to lose the love of friends or family; instead of risking that, we suffer silently and make others miserable to somehow balance our own pain.

By now, everyone reading this knows the secret that was tearing me apart. I don’t necessarily feel like I went out of my way to shift my pain onto others, though I’m sure I did to some degree. In the back of my mind I’ve always seen myself as the “good guy” which is why my love of Transformers took the form of the Autobot insignia tattooed on each of my calves. For those not in-the-know, the Autobots were the “good guys.”

The result of trying to do as little harm to others meant the harm was done unto myself. I would consider the most damaging things I’ve done to myself to have been sexual in nature; an attempt to feel female because I was unable to present female. But all addictions are relative, in this one could add a lot of things onto this pile; video games, drinking, over eating, etc… My inability to address my own uniqueness while still being the “good guy” meant that instead of exploding like a member of a hate group, I was imploding.

Maybe Transformers as an analogy for my transition is a little too on-the-nose for some, but it’s extremely topical. As I said, they entered my world around the same time I was aware that I wasn’t in the correct form. But while the concept is a very superficial one involving the ability to “pass” as something else, this is not the concept that sticks with me. It’s this idea that who we are is not immutable.

“If you don’t like who you are, there is nothing beyond the constraints you’ve created within your own mind preventing you from becoming the person you want to be.”

Throughout our developing lives we’ve been fed direct and subtle cues about what’s acceptable. We filed that information away and used it to shape the person we became. All the while, the person we became was a person that was never us, and therein lies the problem. This isn’t simply a Trans issue or even an LGBTQ+ issue. There are a billion nuances to our lives, and an inability to express just one of those nuances can be very damaging.

When I hear about parents who don’t place restrictions on what kinds of toys their child can play with or what kind of clothing they choose to wear, I am full of joy for how rich that child’s life will be. As a child we should not be raised in a manner that sets rigid standards. After all most good parents will tell their child they can “be anything they want to be.” If that’s true, then assigning limitations to a child is setting them up for failure.

If one is to be a success at anything in life they must first be genuine, authentic, and anything except “more than meets the eye.” Release yourself of the rigid framework that keeps you from feeling complete; when you do you will find a greater sense of happiness. Whatever you hide will be the very thing that destroys you. Whatever it is, let it out. If you know something is wrong but you’re not sure what it is, seek counsel. Even after I admitted my gender dysphoria I lamented the need for counseling, but after months of being open with my counselor I can see the benefits. So even if you know what’s wrong, it can’t hurt to get an objective viewpoint.

No matter what’s keeping you from being open with everyone, for God’s sake, don’t waste half your life denying your truth. The best time to be happy is today and happiness is only really revealed when the disguise is removed.

I was “more than meets the eye” for 39 years, this is the real me.

I write on the free side of Medium’s paywall because I think Transgender resources should be free. But if my story has given you inspiration or motivation, please consider helping me raise funds for future surgical expenses. You can help me by donating to my GoFundMe. Thank you.

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