I’ve mentioned a few times in the recent past that I am in the process of writing a book that is aiming to help anyone who is transgender in preparations for their transition. During my transition I experienced numerous issues that I never even remotely thought I would have come up, so the book is intended to be a “this may not be likely, but it is damn well possible” guide for anyone who is preparing for their own journey from male to female.
So before I go any further, a song 🙂
Right, back to it.
The book is at a bit of a standstill at the moment because it feels more like my autobiography, rather than what it is intended to be. So based on this I’m taking time out to try to think of more actual advice. For now though, I have decided to share a bit of what I have written so far. The below is the second chapter from the book and focuses on the first time I ever told someone that I wanted to be female. It was supposed to be a great moment…….that pleasure lasted just 48 hours.
All names have been changed.
At sixteen I was coming to the end of my time at secondary school (the English equivalet of high schools). I was one of those “could do better” kids, not doing badly, but alternatively not excelling either. I was a bang-average student. Mediocre would sum me up pretty well. Socially, while I wasn’t one of the popular kids, I successfully integrated into several groups. I could easily go from playing football (or at least attempting to play football) every lunchtime, ruining near enough every single pair of trousers I owned, right through to talking about the latest episode of “Star Trek : Voyager” and quoting my favourite computer games with what would be described in various media forms as the “geek” or “nerd” crowds.
There is a quote from the last episode of the US version of “The Office” that sums it up; “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you leave them!”
It was also around this time I was getting home from school and playing football in the local park with several friends every night, and I was attracted to the sister of one of them, for the purposes of this story, we´ll call her Molly. After some time she and I eventually traded numbers, although she didn’t want to be more than friends, which I was cool with. After the aforementioned football game we chatted for a few hours about a few completely irrelevant and no doubt uninteresting subjects, but at one point I let slip that I had a secret. Up until that point I had had no intention of telling anyone. I wasn’t ready, yet all of a sudden I had let the facade down for just a few seconds, and my life was never the same.
She latched onto it and kept prodding. After a while I thought “fuck it, I have to start telling people eventually if I am going to do it”, so I revealed to Molly that I wanted to be female. This was a major point in my life as no-one at this point knew, not a single person. I wouldn’t even class her as a close friend at the time, infact, we were barely friends at all, so to suddenly tell someone that I had that sort of relationship with the biggest hidden thing in my life. Obviously, she was surprised. I was a 6 ft tall, spotty teenager with virtually nothing seemingly feminine about them. We talked into the evening, with several credit top-ups (this was mid 2001 for context, and I felt like one of the cool kids with my Philips Savvy phone, complete with the sonar text alert) in between, and I went to bed feeling like a great weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
Skip forward about forty-eight hours and I drastically regretted that.
The following evening I found out that she had told my small group of friends via which we were connected, which I was mostly cool with, albeit a little annoyed on one part, but that “little bit annoyed” didn´t last long, but not in a good way. I noticed that people were being weird with me at school the next day. I thought nothing of it at first, after all, why would I? Molly and I went to different schools, albeit being on opposite sides of the road. The day continued with whispering and sniggering. At this point, I am starting to get suspicious. It gets to 3pm and school ends, I start queuing for the bus when a girl (name escapes me) comes up to me and says “Is it true?”. At first, I am confused, not having a clue what she is on about, but then the terrifying realisation comes over me. Molly had told someone, or several people, and it had eventually spread to two entire schools. Both schools had around 1,400 students, so in less than two days I had gone from zero people knowing, to nearly three-thousand, and I had only told a single person myself.
I acted as if I didn’t know what she was talking about, and when she replied: “I heard you want to be a girl”. I denied it, but I suspect my outwards reaction was the exact opposite of a poker face, making it obvious I was lying. Anger, confusion and, being completely honest, fear, came over me. I’d hidden such a big part of me for what was coming up on seventeen years, and now it was common knowledge, relatively speaking. On some levels I was glad it was out, there would be no more hiding, but I was no longer in a comfort zone. I also couldn’t hide how angry I was that I had told someone and they had immediately betrayed that trust.
I didn’t mind people knowing, but it needed to be on my terms. This wasn’t telling someone a small secret. This wasn’t a passing comment. It wasn’t something that was going to blow over and be forgotten about quickly. This was my everything, the one thing about me that was truly mine, and now I couldn’t “come out” how I wanted to.
To quote the movie “Love, Simon” (when he is outed as a homosexual by a fellow student) : “I’m supposed to be the one that decides when and how and who knows, and how I get to say it, that’s supposed to be my thing”.
Molly took that from me!