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I'm not transgender, but...

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by Benway, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Benway

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    I don't really understand trans issues, so I generally keep my mouth shut about them to avoid sounding ignorant. It's not my place to question that sort of thing so I usually don't say anything at all.

    But the other day I woke up with a sadness in my heart that really shook me to my core. Lately I've been in a deep depression, but Saturday morning I was even sadder than usual. I felt like I'd figured something out about myself that really brought me down because there's nothing I can really do about it. I woke up feeling deeply uncomfortable with having a male body, and I felt like the last 31 years of my life had been a total wash because of my being the shitty man I am. See, everyone who encounters me says I act like a woman and that I talk and walk like a woman. I wondered on Saturday morning if things would have been better for me if I had been born a girl and it really sent me down this weird spiral that lasted all day. I don't know if that's what you call "gender dysphoria," or whatever it is, but it's been lingering in the back of my mind for almost a week, now.

    I have a lot of the mental problems women usually encounter, Bipolar 1 disorder, borderline personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder-- all things women are typically treated for but when a man has those problems he's told to "toughen up." I've been trying all my life to toughen up. But all my life I was misdiagnosed with other problems that the barbaric 1990s child psychiatry industrial complex said I had, ADD, ADHD, they pumped me full of amphetamines until I was 24 years old because I wouldn't sit still in school and it took a devastating impact on my psychological condition because the doctors who treated me when I was a child were all too eager to throw me away and then throw a bunch of speed pills at a child who was a little different than his classmates. As I grew older, they put me on antidepressants and anti-psychotics. Now they've taken away my antidepressants because "new studies show" that antidepressants can make my mania worse. I see a social worker every week, a woman, who's also bipolar, and she's on antidepressants and anti-psychotics. I can't help but wonder if I were born a woman if I'd be unconditionally provided the medication I need to function like a proper human being.

    But it goes beyond that, too. Had I been a woman, changing virtually nothing else about my personality as I believe it would be largely unchanged even if I'd been born a girl, I'd be a heterosexual because right now as it is, I'm a man who has sex with men. I'm always the receptive partner. And I look at myself in the mirror lately and I see someone who should be something else and what drives me crazy about that is that there is nothing I can do about it. I'm not transgender, I'm certainly not going to transition or anything like that because I don't think that's the right thing to do in my case. But in my case I feel like things would be better for me had I been born a woman. I'm not saying all my problems would be solved if I were a girl, but I think things would make a lot more sense if I were born a cisgender woman.

    I don't know. I don't know anything about transgender issues and I've probably just made an ass out of myself by writing this down. Like I said, I can't say anything for certain about these sorts of things without seeming ignorant.
     
  2. Hats

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    Hi Benway. It sounds like you have a lot of tricky questions to answer, but you haven’t made a fool of yourself by asking here (at least not to me). That’s what this forum is for. I would say, though, that being trans isn’t dependent on whether you transition or not. There are many trans people who can’t or don’t want to transition, for a variety of reasons, and it doesn’t make them any less trans. That said, I’m not trying to say that you ARE trans – that’s something only you can decide.

    When you say that you think things would make more sense if you were a girl, and that you feel sad because you don’t, would you feel more comfortable if people treated you and saw you that way? Say for example someone gave you the ability to change your body so you looked like a girl. Would you do it? If the answer is no, that’s okay. You could be a gender non-conforming man or perhaps a non-binary identity would fit better.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t get a clear idea of your identity the first time around. I came out as genderfluid three years ago and I’m still trying to sort out the mess. I still have doubts. I still wonder if I’m cis and there are other explanations for my dysphoria. I still wonder if I’m a trans woman in denial. It’s been a long, rough, scary road but I had to go down it because the pressure got too much and I couldn’t bury my feelings anymore. It’s okay to feel intimidated. And again, I’m not saying you’re trans, I’m just trying to provide some things for you to think about.
     
  3. Benway

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    In the form I’m in now, I probably wouldn’t want to be treated like a woman—then again maybe I would, I don’t know. I just feel like had I been born a woman the world would make a little more sense to me.

    As far as the ability to change my body so I looked like a girl, if you’re referring to modern transition techniques, I definitely wouldn’t do it. I see a lot of the modern transition techniques and I feel like they’re barbaric and scary—things like vaginoplasty and breast implants. I don’t think I could do that.

    I just wish I was born a cisgender woman, because I think my universe would be easier to process if I were.
     
  4. LaurenSkye

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    The whole idea of being told to "toughen up" is an outdated idea that men are supposed to be tough and get through things without needing help. It's an idea that should have never existed in the first place, and should certainly not exist today.

    And your whole idea of wishing you were born a woman, I something I think about sometimes myself. I sometimes think being born a woman might have been easier for myself, although being a teenage girl would probably have been hell.
     
  5. Benway

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    I'm not tough. Even my own mother says I'm a wet noodle. I talked a little bit about this to my therapist today and she didn't really add anything of substance to it-- how could she? She's an underpaid social worker who has to listen to dozens of people's problems and isn't really a qualified therapist. She asked me if I wanted to transition or anything like that, which I told her I wouldn't do that even if I could pass all the psychological testing that goes with it. I don't want to become a woman, I want to have always been a woman.

    It's a touchy subject. Like I said, I can't really say anything about it without sounding completely ignorant. I don't have the firmest grasp of the transgender community so I try not to say anything at all about it. I've tried to educate myself further on it, but it just leads to more confusion on my part. Anyway, I just have to live with being a shitty man rather than being a sub-par woman. I guess that will have to do. I don't have to be happy about it, but I guess if I don't think too much about it, maybe all of this will go away.
     
  6. Mihael

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    The past might be lost, but there are still many years ahead of you.

    I used to feel the same about "of I were born with a penis, things would make much more sense".

    Why would you not transition? You feel like you don't qualify for it? But want to? Feel like that would make your life better?

    You also don't have to transition all the way. You can transition by coming out, changing your gender expression like growing yoir hair out or wearing feminine clothes, changing hour name. Those things can help a lot. They can help others see you for who you are regardless of the parts you have. How far you go is only up to you.
     
  7. Benway

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    Well, I'll keep my thoughts on transitional surgery to myself to avoid sounding ignorant. But no, it's not something I would do, even if I could get beyond all the psychological testing that goes with it all, which with psychological disorders I have, there's no way anyway. I don't think it would make anything better anyway. For me it would be a purely cosmetic change. My issue isn't so much wanting to become a woman as much as it is thinking I should have always been a woman. But the simple matter is that I'm a man now and there's not a whole lot I can do about that. I feel a little better about it since last week when this thought first popped into my brain, but it still nags away at me some of the time.

    I can't even imagine wanting to transition, myself. I'd laugh at myself every time I looked in the mirror, and not like a happy laugh, more like a "Oh my God, what have I done?" laugh. That's not a condemnation towards people who've transitioned, that's just how I think I'd react to myself if I were to do such a thing. It's just that up until a week ago, I never thought of myself as anything but a cisgender male and when I woke up last Saturday morning I started having odd thoughts that made me think differently for some reason. Maybe I'm just overtired and stressed out or something, maybe I feel unhappy with my place in life and feel like I wish I could go back in time and change things, but there are no do-overs, sadly and I just have to live with what I am.
     
  8. Mihael

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    You don't have to do surgeries to transition.
    For a lot of people, this is what it mean for them to be transgender. It's not a want. It's a treatment to help function better psychologically.
     
  9. imagirl

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    Benway, You are definitely experiencing typical feelings for being under the trans^ umbrella. But- for anyone questioning their gender identity, the process is inherently complicated because the labels we use for ourselves and others are not precisely defined nor do they coordinate. My own epiphany was calling myself a mirl- a male girl- late in life- age 66- but finally! The label feels right, is reasonably comprehensible to others, and makes sense with respect to my experiencing myself as both male and a girl. I accept my body and am grateful for it, and figure that since I exist as a type of male, the world's understanding of gender variation has to expand. But I have to cope with the fact that other people do not expect that a grey bearded man can also be a girl.

    My encouragement for you is to accept that you have always been a woman- and for all the normal societal compliance reasons learned to pass as a sort of man- but you didn't and don't like it, and from now on you are simply going to let yourself be a woman, male body and all.

    You may find that you are all woman, part-timer, woman-flavored man, or some other mix- it is all ok. Humans are a rich soup of gender potential!
     
  10. Benway

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    I could see myself as a part time woman. I have been known to wear women's underwear under my street clothes from time to time, not like a bra or anything but just panties and I've posed for pictures in drag (albeit poorly) in the past. I just don't think I'm going to throw on a sundress and go walking around in broad daylight proclaiming I'm a woman any time soon. Like I said, I'm kind of a shitty man-- I wouldn't be much better as a woman, but I'd be better off. But I'm not really about transitioning or anything like that, I think I'd come off as a creepy Buffalo Bill type to most people if I did something like that.
     
  11. Mihael

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    A lot of women don't like to be super feminine nor do they wear dresses all the time. You can be such a woman too.

    Now, I think that even only coming out about the way you feel with and about your gender takes you a long way when it comes to comfort.
     
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  12. Benway

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    It's hard enough on my family that I'm a homosexual, I'm not dropping the fact that I may or may not be transgender on them, too. My Mom and Dad do their damnedest to ignore the fact that I like guys, my brother tolerates it and my friends mostly make fun of me for it. I really regret ever coming out to anybody and I'm not about to do it again. I can talk about it with my therapist and the social worker I see every week, but I'm probably not going to divulge this information to a whole lot of people.
     
  13. Mihael

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    That's a good idea. Talking about it to someone supportive. It's not like you are obligated to inform the family or whoever you think might respond negatively. Coming out is for the sake of your comfort and benefit. If you have the nerve, sure, you can fight the conservatives. But if not, then there is no obligation to. Do you have acquaintances who are supportive of the LGBT? Or who are LGBT themselves? If you do, they might be the best place to start.

    In the case of a mental health provider, if you feel like your gender issues(?) matter, you can talk about it to a mental health professional who is supportive of the LGBT (if yours is not, you can go to a different doctor or therapist) and tell them what you hink about the treatment. At any point where you feel like you're being treated the wrong way because of being perceived as a man, you can object and say what you think about it.
     
  14. Benway

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    Well, sort of. There's one or two people I dated, but the one guy lives in Florida now and is busy with work all the time and I really don't want to bother him. The other guy is my friend I had sex with one day when our hormones got out of control and we don't really talk about that day anymore. He's also dating a woman now, much to my surprise and he's not too keen on transgender issues. So basically the answer to your question is no. My straight friends are all bigots who pretend to be Libertarians that care about liberal social issues but they're really just Republicans who don't give a crap about anything except their money and their guns.
     
  15. Mihael

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    Hm, this is a tough one.

    Maybe you could reach out to the local LGBT community? Even a support group? Are there any where you live?
     
  16. Benway

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    Well, I used to see a LGBT therapist a long time ago, but he doesn't take the insurance I'm on now. As far as a support group goes, I doubt it, I don't drive because I never got a license (I'm 31, I know, I'm terrible) and I'm horrified of taking the bus some days because I don't know all the routes. I don't really know of any LGBT communities in my area, except maybe the local gay bar which is located in a bad part of town and again, I don't really even have access to that area because I don't drive. I was working on getting a license when a life event hit me that's put a serious damper on my activities for the next few months but I'll try to pick up on getting a driver's license again when all of that blows over.

    There is a yearly pride festival in my area in August, which my one friend (the one who lives in Florida, now) said I should really go to. But I've been in a deep depression the last few months that some days I'm so depressed that I can barely stand up. I'm not really about "pride" though, as I'm not super proud of my homosexuality. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad some people can be thrilled about it, but I'm not happy about it for myself. Like I said, if I were a cisgender woman, I'd be a heterosexual and I'd be thrilled to be that. But instead I'm kind of a sad sack who's not happy with what he is because I grew up raised by boomers who all make constant fun of the LGBT community.

    The area I live in is kind of a black hole of activities, there's very little to be had, where I am. I'm in an urban sprawl, sure, but everyone mostly keeps to themselves. My community's not really about community, if that makes any sense. And every day it gets worse because of tensions in the area leading to shootings and there was even a car bombing last year. It's a financial and social black hole where very few people escape. Believe me, if I could, I'd move out to LA because I've never really fit in on the east coast because I'm something of a freak and everyone in my area is about conformity, lest they are ostracized from their already boring and selfish sub-communities.
     
  17. Ryuichi

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    Gonna say here, a lot of the things you've said reminded me of thoughts I had before I found out that all my gender questions and stuff also put me under the transgender umbrella. My own androgyny is a very uncanny mix of mental and physiological things that evenly balance out in terms of gender trends, as well as the social stuff.

    I really think trying to make it to that pride event would help. A lot of people new to this stuff haven't grasped that it's less about being proud, and more about being in a place where you can safely come out to anyone willing to listen. Kind of like here, except offline. Even if you find only one person to talk to, even if it's just someone there volunteering for a cause or something, and even if you feel like you're being dishonest, it really could help you out. I know it helped me out when I couldn't stop thinking about what a mess I am, and needed someone to talk to.

    One other thing I'd like to mention here is that when it comes to exploring gender, a lot of it can be trial and error, and it tends to be a pretty gradual thing. Sometimes you'll try something and you get surprised at how much it feels right. Of course, other times, you might try something else out, and every ounce of you is screaming to stop. The first times you try any of this out might be incredibly terrifying, and believe me, it was for me at first. But with each time you do it again, it becomes far less scary, and pretty darn natural. I know this has been mentioned, but there are quite a few trans people who haven't gone through HRT or SRS simply because they don't want to, or they can't. I'd love to do hormones for many reasons, but I have a liver condition that would make that risk irreversable jaundice, and for me, it kinda defeats the purpose. So I do clothes, hair, sometimes makeup, voice retraining, and I've got a few other things planned for the future.
     
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  18. Benway

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    I can try to make it to the pride event, but either way that's not until August. As far as trying new things goes, I don't know. Like I said, I've dressed up in drag (poorly) for photos, before, and I've been known to wear women's panties under my street clothes, but I'm not really about transitioning in any way, shape or form. I'm a big guy, I'm hairy, I have facial hair and that's how a lot of people know me. I could be a drag queen at best and even then it's not something I really want to do. I'm more or less trying to make amends with the fact that I'm a man who thinks he should have been born a woman. I've got something here that I don't really want to process, but am forced to face.
     
  19. TaurusMage

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    When I was young, I said that I wanted to be a boy. I would call anything that was feminine "stupid" or ridiculous; I would shame girly outfits; I would wear a lot of masculine and unisex clothing; all of my closest friends were guys. I did my best to act "tough" and more "masculine." I made fun of anything about me that was feminine, from my breasts to my voice. But I had a secret: I liked feminine things. I would have liked wearing dresses and skirts and "pretty" clothes. I liked Barbie and her clothes even more than the firetruck I stole from my cousin :slight_smile:innocent:slight_smile:. I said I wanted to be a boy, but really, I was just ashamed of being a girl. Maybe it's because I was a guy in my last life. Maybe it's because my dad made me feel like it was better to be masculine than feminine. Maybe it was something else altogether. But however it goes, all of those thoughts that I had then didn't make me a trans guy--they just made me someone who was trying to figure out how they were supposed to act in the environment they were in.

    Obviously, no one can tell you if you're trans* except for you. And, obviously, our experiences on this are quite different.

    But the feeling I'm getting from you isn't that you're a woman (which is what being a trans woman is all about). It's that you're a man who is ashamed that you aren't living up to what society says a man should be like. It's that you're a man who is saying that you don't feel like you're a "good" man, but everyone says that you act like a woman so life would be easier if you were just born as a woman.

    I don't really think this is gender dysphoria, but I'm far from an expert on that. Rather, I think that this is a form of being ashamed of who you are.

    You aren't a "shitty man" by any means. You're a man who keeps getting crapped on by society and the ideals of toxic masculinity, and I am sorry that the world has made you feel this way.
     
  20. Ryuichi

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    Let me ask you a relatively simple question:

    What do you think would help you live the best life you can, and be more at peace with how you present?

    You don't have to answer that right now. It could take months, years even, before you answer it. You don't even have to answer it to me, because I'm not the one who needs it. There's one thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread, and it sounds ridiculous at first, but it's nevertheless true.

    You don't even have to transition for any of this. You can identify as a woman, as genderqueer, as any label you deem fit. All that matters is that you're living a life where you don't have to feel like you're chained up by your own self-hatred. Because at the end of the day, you could present as anything, but whatever you are, it doesn't change. I don't mean what's between your legs. I mean where you truly think you sit. Even if you have this state of flux, that in and of itself doesn't change, and that's why some people will identify as genderfluid.

    You could say one thing, but you might still feel an unease of dissonance and dishonesty. This is where transitioning comes in, and it comes in many kinds of ways. Or the dissonance is still there, but you could be entirely okay with that yourself, just simply knowing that you are exactly what you say, and whatever the answer is, it's true. A lot of people go with this route because that way, they know that they're trans, and when they find people that accept them for that, they can be at ease without outing themselves to people like dangerous relatives.

    Could your answer change? Yes, it's very possible. You might find several answers towards the final one, and you might be alright with all of them at the time - and that's also fine. Give it some thought. Take the time you need. Don't try and rush it because, believe me, that won't do anything. Your answer will come. And it will come when it needs to. If you still come out of this entirely sure you're a man but you're simply effeminate, then that's your answer, and that's perfectly okay. You really don't need someone else telling you otherwise.
     
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