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Trans stories

Big guy with a black shirt

Real-life experiences told by men in their own words.

  1. Michael
  2. Bruce
  3. Mark
  4. John

Michael

‘Transition has made such a radical difference to my life, it’s hard to think of how I can encapsulate all of that in just a few paragraphs!

‘I am still on my transition journey but getting close now to where I want to be. As a trans man, I am so much more congruent and comfortable in myself than before; more than I ever thought possible really. Transition did cost me a lot and came with a certain amount of pain and loss but I am reminded in small ways every day that it was absolutely right for me.

‘Many of the early fears and worries I had about transition turned out to be unfounded. Despite the hard times, things turned out so much better for me than I had even hoped. Not least because I'm now part of an incredible, vibrant trans community that I'm really proud of.

‘Transition doesn’t give you a perfect life (anyone who expects that hasn’t really thought things through) but it does help you to understand, develop and express who you are in a way that’s authentic and truthful. I find this reflected in my relationships with everyone: I’m much less angry and resentful than I was and more grounded, open and positive as a result of transition.

‘It has also really opened up possibilities for me in terms of sex and relationships. I had always been attracted to women and had good sexual relationships with some fantastic partners in the past. Sex with men was a bit different though. Understandably, men I had been with related to me as a woman and that just felt awkward and uncomfortable – the sexual dynamic was all wrong.

‘Now it’s much better because I’m more comfortable in myself. I still have to negotiate telling partners that I’m trans and it’s not always easy. I’d like to find ways to feel more confident about handling that but now the men I’m with relate to me as the man I am, it feels right. I’m really enjoying exploring sex with some lovely blokes I’ve met. I’m out and proud as a bisexual man, which is much more reflective of who I am and how I want to live.

‘Transition has given me more than I ever thought possible and this includes a broader and better range of sexual experience and possibilities.’

Bruce

‘I don’t really know what being transgendered is, it still puzzles me. I was aware of being male as a child but I didn’t have the language to express it – at the time it seemed that, as I was physically a girl, what else was there to say? I tried being a tomboy and figured myself for being a lesbian, but tomboys and lesbians seemed to think being female was great. I couldn’t get comfortable. My female body was like a thick woollen coat on a scorching hot day.

‘I never wanted to express how much I felt I should be physically male because it was contrary to feeling that there was nothing I couldn’t do because I was female. I still believe that. Transitioning had nothing to do with feeling inadequate in a patriarchal culture, or being ashamed of my female body, or not being able to make it as a woman in a man's world. I didn’t feel ashamed of my female body, it just wasn’t my body.

‘Even though people told me it wouldn’t solve everything, I was sure transitioning was going to be like waving a magic wand. I had to come to terms with its limitations. The hormones work great for me, but the surgery left big scars. Part of my transition has been coming to terms with what it means to be transgendered – both when I was a teenage girl in enormous jumpers hiding my body or in the future with maybe a bald head and a long beard, I always was and always will be transgendered. The physical changes transition brings just allow me to live in peace.’

Mark

‘I knew as a small child I should be a boy. I hoped that one day my penis would grow like I knew it should. I didn't expect it to actually happen, but always kept hoping. I even knew the name for people like me from watching a documentary when I was about seven. I knew that it was real but thought perhaps only grown-ups could change, so I didn't tell anyone. I didn't really need to, everyone just treated me like a boy anyway.

'At puberty my body rebelled. I went from enjoying sport and looking like any other boy to hunching up and sloping around in the background. I got a lot more bullying too because I really didn't fit into a gender box - behaved like a boy, dressed like a boy, talked like a boy but clearly in a very female body.

'I didn't transition medically until I was 30. Sometimes I wish I'd done it earlier, other times I think I wouldn't have been able to, that I wouldn't have had the nerve or the confidence and it would have been much harder. Being older when I did transition meant I had sorted out other aspects of my life first. Now I feel I can really be who I was meant to be - I like who I have become too.

‘Being part of the trans community is important to me, it means passing on what I've learned through my experience to people starting out. Giving the support I desperately needed and found. And I am still getting that support too. Watching other people find themselves and grow in so many ways is a huge privilege. I think the process of transition makes us sure of who we are in ways most people don't find until much later in life, if ever. For me that is an amazing gift.’

John

‘Growing up in the 60s I was too young for the sexual revolution. As to my identity, well, I just knew that I was different. I was a loner. I expressed my difference by creating my own dressing style. I didn't have a name for my bisexual feelings when I was a 70s teenager - and I had to fight hard to have bisexuality as a legitimate choice in the 80s. As to transgenderism: I probably first heard about trans women in the late 70s - I thought how amazing it was that surgeons could ‘change’ someone’s body to a different gender! In the 90s, on TV, I watched a person I’d known as lesbian go through transition to their true male identity. Change and understanding as regarding sexuality and gender choices and identities was happening by decades.

‘Perhaps not surprisingly, it took me more than 40 years to finally name my own gender identity: androgyne. Now I qualify as transgenderqueer and electively hermaphroditic - and, sometimes, reclaiming 'trolley tranny'. In my second-puberty 50s, I'm happily on low-level gel testosterone hrT (hormone replacement Testosterone) and I've had my choice of neutralising chest reconstructive surgery.

‘I get excited about computer databases that can handle my chosen title of ‘Mx’. I’m looking forward to the 2020s when folk might get their heads around pronouns like ‘per’ or ‘zie’ (or just ‘heshe’) and when ‘non-specific gender’ is a norm on forms. I’m grateful for disability access toilets and charity shop changing rooms as the only predictable unisex/anygendered private spaces in our society’s infrastructure to date; but, in the UK, I’m truly thankful to be able to walk around today being free to be myself and express myself, just the person I am.

‘As for my sexuality: now that I am acquainted with at least 100 trans people, I can clearly state that my feelings are pansexual! But I am electively asexual - intimacy doesn't have to be focused on genital contact. Now, I know too that my ‘loner’ self was also probably as much to do with being Aspergic (there’s a 20 per cent higher incidence of Asperger syndrome in trans people). I tend to get more excited about unsexualised objects and tactile materials; whatever floats your boat, as they say: just so long as it’s a sensually nice shape, colour and texture. I would consciously choose to only be in an intimate relationship with another trans or intersex person - but you never know who's 'waiting in the wings' of your life. We're all just another person behind our multiple identities and underneath our varied body bits and skin!’

Do you have an experience you'd like to share?

Email us here: info@tht.org.uk - all experiences shared anonymously.

 

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