Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dealing with your new opposite gender

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

It may still come as a shock to most cis-gender people, but the majority of Trans people didn’t wake up one day and decide to be a third class citizen. We’ve felt this way for as long as we can remember. Luckily, many parents of young Trans-kids are more aware of what a transgender person is and recognizing the signs in their children at earlier ages and are able to address it, hopefully, in a more positive way. For many of us, like moi, I didn’t know the word or how to solve my gender dysphoria until I was 20.  Many, like me, had been treated like the gender of our birth defect rather than our spirit. Even though I had always seen myself as a little girl, there was no one to discuss this with.  Eventually I’d finally grow into the woman I was inside and face my new opposite gender with fearful eyes.

I remember my first contact with a boy. I was six at the time and Eric, my backyard neighbor friend was seven. We became close friends fast, but when all the other girls in the neighborhood would agree to play house, he’d always insist on being the doctor, and young Eric really took his job seriously. All the other girls, who were a couple of years older, would always opt out of his intense screenings. I on the other hand, had no reason to feel at harm of it and allowed Eric to examine me. He started with the shirt off and had me breath in and out. Then when he pulled down my, daisy duke shorts, and then proclaimed, “you have what I have” I reached down and pulled my pants up in a furry and told him angrily, “you’re a liar, you’re a boy,” as I ran off and heard him yelling back at me, “so are you.” It was like someone had pulled the heart right out of my body, chopped of my head, stripped me nude in the middle of a coliseum, and gutted me, all while I remained alive to feel the pain. The rest of the summer, I did my best to avoid Eric.  He would come over asking my grandmother can I come out to play, I’d yell from the room, “no!” He continued, and overtime apologized and one day while in the sand box at school, he leaped suddenly towards me, giving me my first kiss. He said I taste like bubble gum and that I was, after all, a girl and galloped off.  Regardless, his earlier words would never stop ringing in my ears, for years. On a slight humorous note, that stolen kiss would also mark the end of our close friendship, even though we remained friends, it was never the same. Many in the know, may find it a hilarious pairing, that Eric L… was the boy to give me my first kiss. I’d later find out that declaring so adamantly that I was a girl, was the cause of the beginning of the decline in our relationship. Years later Eric stood outside of the local gay bar, as an out gay man, on the debut night of my first evening out as my true self and found the vision of me dressed, so hilarious, that he was crunched over in tears with laughter. Looking back, I honestly can’t blame him, that first night I was a little hideous, so I never held that against him. Because of that and the fact he was the first boy to kiss me, I wish he had lived long enough to see me blossom, sadly he passed at a very young age and greatly missed by many.

Eric had been my only interaction with a boy and he was gay, needless to say, I was not on the right track as a young heterosexual trans-girl. By my junior year of high school, I had begun to push the limits, lightly, with blurring the gender lines in dress and hair. I caught the attention of a freshman, who would follow me and a girlfriend of mine on our lunch breaks and flirt and tease me. Robbie would ask for my number, could he come over to my place, but I was such a lady, I never picked up on any of the hints he was interested. I was planning to only date an older guy, college age, and we’d marry and no one would get in the way of that plan. At least Robbie saw the girl in me and rumor has it, he is a DJ in Atlanta in a long lasting relationship with a trans-girl these days. Because of my gender confusion, I was the target for outlandish, scandalous rumors in school.  To people at Hartsville High, I was the biggest slut since Jezebel, but the truth was, at 18 I was still a virgin. Did not know how to deal or act around men, and honestly very afraid of them. Thinking at one point I may just be gay, I agreed to go out with a popular gay senior at school and after our first movie date he called me one night and began talking sexual on the phone. I remember like it was yesterday, he was breathing heavy on the phone. I lay in my bedroom filled with teddy bears all over my room and posters of New Kids on the Block and New edition on my wall. Paul tells me he was laying on his bed and that talking to me had him standing up. I was confused, “how are you standing, if you said you were lying in the bed,” I asked? He says, “no silly, something else is standing up.” Still confused I asked what, and when he told me, I was so horrified I told him he was “a nasty dog!” Hung up the phone and never talked to Paul in that way ever again. We reconnected on face book, he is a proud gay man now and glad neither one of us ever brought up those awkward days of youth.

By 18 I was taking my mothers premarin pills, maybe subconsciously, I knew this was something that could help me, I did know estrogen was a female hormone, but she caught on that I was taking them and stop getting her refills. While in a stage play, and looking rather androgynous at this time in my life, I finally met that older guy. He was another cast member in the town play, Kiss Me Kate. He being 23 and I was just turning 18. He was very aware I had a crush on him. I had started dressing and identifying as a female among close friends at this time as well, but yet still very unaware of the nature of men. We dated, he was mature and charming. On the final night at the cast party, I insisted on staying and partying with the cast and “him”. He told my parents he’d drive me home, I felt like a princess. My older boyfriend dropping me off at my parents, with their permission, but that night would change my life. I agreed to go parking with “him” that night, we kissed, the first time I had kissed anyone since Eric in the sand box and the first time I had ever French kissed, but before the night was over, I’d fine myself with the front seat stretched back, on my stomach, with a knife blade on the back of my neck. That is how and when, at 18, I lost my virginity. I came home threw all the teddy bears away, tore down all the posters of my male heartthrobs and aged, mentally five years that night. I have never until now, discussed this moment in life with anyone other than extremely close friends, and after years have made my peace the best way I can.

Even though I was not presented as the gender always, as I saw myself, I was still a girl inside, with no information given about men, because most around me just assumed, I was a boy thinking like a boy myself. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. I didn’t understand men and they still baffle me at times to this day.  Three years later, I’d have a curvaceous body to go along with my still young knowledge of men. I wish I could be writing something more positive or uplifting, but the truth is I yearned for someone; a girlfriend, a sister, an aunt, a mother to ask questions about men. I wish someone had seen the girl I saw inside and helped me understand the world, but that was not the case. It wasn’t until I was 25 and few mistakes later that I ran into an older trans-woman, Paula Sinclair, my sister to this day. That took me under her wing and gave me the 411.

Many of us can’t wait to transition, start our HRT regimes and be the person we are. The woman or man, we know we are inside. What happens when you are at the point you are who you are, how do you relate to the new opposite sex that sees you in a different light. I remember walking with friends in Atlanta and jumping when guys did their cat calls and whistles, partially exciting they saw a woman and scary at the same time because of what I have learned so far, on my own, about men. While we should be excited about finally becoming who we are, there are things we have to consider. The laws that apply to being the new gender you identify. Recently a Trans-male friend commented on feeling the same way and said, “It’s interesting to me that I also often feel lost in the dating world; given that I was taught all of the “girl “stuff but have no idea how I’m supposed to behave as a man.  There are these unspoken rules and codes that are entirely alien to me. I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of things that I used to be able to do and say when I was perceived as “female” that I am no longer able to do or say. It’s really interesting to go from getting all of that attention and commentary that women get in our society to silence. Sometimes, I feel paranoid that I’m “doing it wrong” and that’s why no one says anything. Like my “freak flag” is showing in neon or something. When the reality is that a paradigm just doesn’t exist for men in the mainstream culture. I suppose my point is; I wish there was a manual for all the rules.  Maybe then it wouldn’t feel so nebulous, scary and lonely."

A manual would be greatly appreciated, not that I or any other Trans-woman or man needs a manual on being the gender they identify, but there are unspoken messages in our society between men and women. Many will say to ignore the gender rules and don’t live by them. Easily said than done when you’re at work in society as a young trans-woman and men are staring at your cleavage and not in your eyes and it’s no longer exciting that your passing as a woman but an annoyance that men can’t see you beyond the dirty images that are speaking to you in their eyes. There is a lot more to transitioning than hormones, passing and being considered beautiful. At some point you also want to be respected as a woman and with that thought you’ve officially joined the ranks of every woman on the planet, realizing that men maybe from Mars and you’re on Venus after all and you join the journey to try, as best as you can, to understand this new opposite gender that stands before you. My best advice to those babies who are just beginning their transition; take dating slowly, and seek advice from someone who has lived the Trans life longer. Because when that day comes and you are viewed as a woman, congrads, but know, now all the problems a woman face will also come billowing around you and you may find yourself  looking into the wolf eyes of your new opposite gender demanding he respect you not just as a woman but as an equal. Congradulations, your a woman now.

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