I keep forgetting that I’m on the fairly young end of the coming out age range for trans guys. You hear all about these six and seven year old little children starting to transition socially with their parents’ approval and tend to forget that the average age for FtMs is closer to mid to late 20s. At the same time, I feel like there were times I should have known. If nothing else, I should have figured out that I was different from all of my budding gay boy friends. Moments like…
When I showed up to the first day of ballet in a danseur uniform instead of the pink leotard and white tights required of girls. I was four. Classes were entirely co-ed at that age and I flat out refused the leotard. After, honest to god, six days of fighting I ended up with a white t-shirt, black (boys) tights, and black ballet slippers. My mother was not pleased.
She was even less pleased when, for the next eight years, I only performed in male roles. I quit after that because all classes went to single sex and the studio refused to let me be with the boys. It probably would have been a bigger deal, but by that point we already knew I was never going to be tall enough to be a dancer.
This was also a year or so after the school found out that I’d been going to class as a boy since I’d transferred over. I had a gender neutral nickname and incredibly uncommon legal name so everyone just went with what I told them. Once again, my mother was not pleased.
I’d imagine she wouldn’t have approved of my continuing to let my friends think of me as a boy after I transferred districts (“for my own good”). Sucks for her. I had a hard enough time making friends as a kid (I was kind of weird), I wasn’t about to lose the ones I had.
Which is probably part of why I started going to groups for gay teens when most of them started coming out. A few of the groups were co-ed, but most were specific to young gay boys and for some reason it didn’t occur to me that having a vagina meant I was considered a straight girl.
To be fair, none of my friends seemed to notice either. At our first Pride I (and everyone else) went in full on glitter drag and no one thought to point out that if I was a girl it wasn’t drag. It was awesome, but Pride is really not an event you want to wear spike heels to.
This was during the years that all of my boyfriends were openly gay. Some from the youth groups I went to, but oddly enough, most from school where I was considered a tomboy. It never occurred to me to come out to the guys who didn’t know me as a girl (something I now realise was at least a little dangerous) because for some reason I hadn’t put that whole vagina = girl thing together yet. Actually, I can’t be sure the ones I’m still friends with now even know I’m trans.
I moved then, which sucked like you wouldn’t believe. I dated a few guys before going into my (very short lived) girly phase, but they all left me for guys. That was probably when I first realised most of the world thought I was a girl. I was in my late teens.
After that I had my girly phase because, well, I was a horny teenager and desperate to get laid. Unfortunately, I hated being considered a girlfriend. Dated, fooled around, had sex, hated every second of it. The sex didn’t suck, but the dynamics drove me insane. I don’t know if it’s because I’d dated only gay guys before or what, but everything from the communication styles to the sexual aspects made me want to crawl into a hole and die.
My depression was at its absolute worst during this time and the only thing that kept me distracted when I was suicidal was putting on a tight sports bra and stuffing a sock in my pants. Honestly, you’d think at this point I would’ve figured it out. I didn’t have words for what was going on though, trans guys were still a new concept to me and the only ones I’d ever heard of were straight. It wasn’t until I found a gay trans guy’s blog that I realised you could like guys and be trans.
Lucky for me, that revelation came before I got any more depressed. if it had been much longer I’m not sure I would have survived. Still, there are times when I wonder if things would have been different if I’d realised sooner. More likely than not my parents would have just sent me to someone like Zucker or tried to have me lobotomised. It’s kind of interesting to think about though.