4 Gender Confessions People Confided in a Trans Girl
One of the coolest things about being yourself? Your openness may invite others to confide in you their stories.
Transgender feelings followed me around since an early age. As I came out, I read autobiographies like Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness. That didn’t make me a PhD in gender identity struggles! I still had a lot to learn.
But because I was now visibly trans and a listener type, I was in for some casual education. Friends, family, and strangers on the web honored me with their gender-related confessions.
I learned just how diverse our experiences of gender are.
Things stopped seeming shocking. Still, having people’s trust was humbling. There’s nothing like firsthand accounts. Being trans gave me a bird’s-eye view into people’s gendered lives, beyond what anonymous blogs could teach.
Here are 4 of the things people told me. (Details changed for privacy.)
1. I would have transitioned
“I would have transitioned,” she said, “if the world were different back then. Before I became set in my identity as Michael.”
In that moment, my view of Michael changed forever.
2013 was when I declared myself transgender. Trans celebrities were trending. I was a student in ASU’s theatre program, where they welcomed us to be wackily ourselves.
I imagined coming of age in the 80s. Entering a traditional field, like Michael had. For longer than I’d been alive, this influential leader in my social circle had wished they were the other sex.
We all knew Michael lived with generosity. With devotion. None of us knew they also lived with gender dysphoria.
No matter who else knows or doesn’t know, I think of Michael as a she. I see it when I look at her, or hear her voice. She likes being seen like that.
If you have gender dysphoria, you don’t have to come out, transition, or define yourself as trans. What we do is our choice. The more our globe blossoms with trans-friendliness and gender inclusivity, choices open up.
From friends like Michael, I’ve learned you seldom know a person’s secret struggles. It’s a mystery how we perceive ourselves. So be curious. Get to know folks. I’m willing to be surprised.
Each new day, I try to throw out the window what I thought I knew. May I listen to friends and family afresh, and let each person be reborn in my heart.
2. I wished I were a boy because of my childhood
One day, my classmate shared a memory.
When she was little, Deirdre loved being with her brother. But being a girl, she had to play in a separate sandbox. She was forced to. In the words of kids everything, it was no fair.
At that moment, Deirdre desperately wished she were a boy.
Gender is major in most upbringings. It’s common to grow up with pain around it. We’re ruthlessly divided between boy and girl groups. Everyone is a unique human though. We wish to be more free.
When I was small, I loathed being separate too. In my case, separate from girls. I wished adults could see I was pretty, delicate, and well-behaved.
It felt like I wasn’t worthy of being treasured with the same tenderness as a daughter. And I wanted to wear a dang dress to those piano recitals!
At other times, the boy card worked in my favor. I blended in playing sports. Girls could be dismissed as giggly or gossipy, but not me. I was less at risk of sexualization.
Later on, I faced my dysphoria on both sides. I confronted the double-edged sword of stereotypes.
Being a man doesn’t make you poorly-behaved, a predator, or un-pretty. You deserve equal sympathy and protection as any lady.
Being a woman doesn’t mean you’re weaker, frivolous, or reducible to beauty. You deserve equal respect and opportunity as any guy.
For some time, I exhausted myself in endless introspection. Why couldn’t I be okay with a male body? Why must “he/him” identity give me such grief? Shouldn’t gender not matter?
I’d healed from so much childhood stuff. Yet, my trans feelings hadn’t budged.
In the end, I stopped second-guessing. Maybe something permanent in my brain made me trans. Whatever it was, I was done with the self-doubt.
I started doing what made me happy.
I changed my look. I finally liked what I saw in the mirror more. I went by “she/her” pronouns. It sounds so simple, but it was was a dream come true. I finally felt understood by the world.
Perhaps my former schoolmate Deirdre is content being a woman. It’s possible they’d think of themself in a non-binary way. They may consider transitioning to male.
I cannot say. Deirdre is the expert. But not knowing your friend’s gender doesn’t mean you never knew them. Who we are is so much more intimate than pronouns or categories or labels. I knew Deirdre, and they were a beautiful person to know.
Gender is fluid and complex. Whatever strife you experienced as a child, know that your human dignity remains untouched.
You deserve to be you.
3. I don’t like how my gay roommate talks — I like trans women better
My new friend Nabhitha couldn’t stand the way her gay roommate talked. She liked trans women better, she said. Comparing the two groups, she found trans women more respectable.
Ouch! A supporter of my gender just said borderline homophobic things.
I was surprised by my friend’s sentiment, because some folks felt the opposite. I knew of people who embraced queer expression, yet didn’t know how to feel about trans identity.
What Nabhitha didn’t know was that criticism of male femininity was personal to me. I grew up in a conservative town. Kids in school mocked my voice. Once my hair was long, even adults gave weird looks.
Now that I blent in as a trans woman, I had binary privilege. Sometimes I had “passing privilege.” I wanted to support queer men, non-binary people, and others who faced different stigmas than I.
In Nabhitha’s defense, she had space-sharing conflicts with her roommate. He might have made too much noise at night. I never met him.
Still, her confession taught me about prejudice. Gender & sexuality is diverse; so is bias. We can be open-minded in some ways and closed in others. It’s hard to notice our own blocks. I’ll stay attentive when people point out mine!
Like my friend and her noisy gay roommate, prejudice stems from random encounters. When someone’s against me being trans, it’s from their past. I try to remember it’s not personal.
I’ll be patient with myself, patient with others, as we grow ever kinder.
4. My child is gender nonconforming — I don’t know what the future will hold
My old pal Aimee reached out. She was nannying a feminine male child. The child’s loving mother pondered the future.
Would her child be made fun of? Would gender become a struggle? What if they wished to transition into a girl?
Neither Aimee nor the mum she nannied for knew many gender-expansive people. I was a link. They hoped for insight from a transgender woman.
The child’s name was Francisco. I wrote a letter for Francisco and their amazing mum, who I knew would raise her rainbow child with so much love and grace.
Writing that letter let me reflect on my childhood. I had 0 parenting experience, but plenty of parent-ed experience. I shared what I wished had been different for me.
In the process, I patched up old wounds. I imagined a more understanding upbringing for the next generation:
- Francisco will never say, “I would have transitioned.” If they want to, they’ll have the chance to.
- Francisco won’t feel alienated by gender. Their unique self will be celebrated. They’ll grow up proud and open.
- Francisco will learn positive attitudes towards diverse people. They’ll have wonderful possibility models.
And what if this beautiful child’s story doesn’t turn out picture-perfect rosy? Challenges are guaranteed in this life, and that’s okay.
Each week will be a new chance for Francisco to heal and grow. As it is for me and for you.
I hope these 4 stories find your gender and life journey well.
In being gently yourself, there is power! You may magnetize others to confide in you, taking a step towards their own openness.
You’re part of a tree of authenticity that keeps on branching. You belong here.