This week I’ve been listening to the podcast “How to be a girl” about a single mother raising a 6 year old trans girl.
The episode that particularly interested me was about the different ways she and her husband dealt with the discovery that they had a transgender girl (they got divorced right at the time their daughter’s gender expression fully emerged.)
You can listen to the episode here…
What amazes me about the podcast is how much I can’t relate to it. Despite experiencing a transgender awakening as an adult and suffering gender dysphoria, I never consciously questioned my gender when I was a child and I am still massively unsure of how to interpret it all. Furthermore, I also have the complications of lifelong crossdreaming.
This podcast makes me ask, therefore, a question that comes to all of us who experience a gender shift in adulthood: is there something fundamentally different about the origins and nature of our transgender identity to that of transkids?
I thought I’d put the question to you, my beloved readers.
I am relieved to see the early results of this poll are weighted toward option 1, because they are different manifestations of the same phenomenon. I did experience exactly the same thing when I was 9 years old and this very strong and persistent desire to transition, to become female, did abate (somewhat) sometime in my adolescence. Those same feelings came back with a vengeance in my thirties and I can report that they felt exactly the same as when I was 9. At the age of 36 I was diagnosed with GID by 2 psychiatrists and they both signed off on my treatment regimen (HRT).
I am not sure why the feelings abated for 25 years, but I think this is what we should be researching; not wasting time trying to figure out if there is some difference between trans kids and trans adults.
My transgender awareness started for me when I was 4 or 5, in preschool. I really wanted to learn to curtsy with the girls, and dance like a ballerina. In kindergarten I played with the girls in their little kitchenettes, and wanted to be a Blue Bird in first grade. So my gender dysphoria has been with me a very long time, pretty consistent throughout my life and I’m 60 now.
But would I transition, now or later? I don’t think so. Call me lazy or simply afraid but I’m not sure the gains at my age are worth the effort. I don’t want to deal with my voice, and I worry that I’ll spend a long time trying to act my way into being accepted socially as a woman.
That’s not to say that I disrespect or criticize any late transitioners! Far from it. These are only my thoughts for now.
Emma, just to let you you I have been where you are. Same type of early experiences, but I took a chance and transitioned late. Never have regretted it.
probably manifestations of the same thing however orientation at puberty diverts the paths
That’s a good way of putting it. I think the combination of being socialized as a male and experiencing sex hormones during puberty changes someone. It doesn’t make them any less trans IMO, but there’s extra baggage and it’s really unknown how much that affects a person.
Not really, we are the survivors that managed (like our LGB cousins who did the same thing) suppress, ‘cope’ , hide what we felt. We developed acts to ‘pass’ as men. And some of us were successful …for awhile. Along the way many of us tried self curing, we honed and developed those ‘coping ‘mechanisms with lots of self policing.
But there was a price for that.
Many of us that tried that didn’t make it, due to direct and indirect (drugs, alcohol, risky activities, etc) suicide.
And then, because it takes so much mental and emotional energy to maintain that act, we come to a crunch. sometime and then there is another peak in suicide rates, with those that can’t deal with it ending it then and those that can having to face a risky and difficult transition.
I’d have transitioned as a kid, or at least as a young adolescent if I could have. I’d been a lot happier too.
The difference is knowledge and acceptance. I didn’t know why I felt the way I did (even thought I was gay for awhile) or what it meant, just that I wasn’t supposed to act in certain ways in front of others and there was no one else in the whole world like me. Even when I got to university and got into the library and looked up papers on trans people…well firstly there was almost nothing and what I found was horrific. Drove me even further into the closet.
I was lucky that I had the right type of mind (and luck) to develop pretty good coping mechanisms, became a workaholic, near alcoholic, did lots of extreme activities, kept busy all the time. But when I got tired and stopped all the same old feelings came back whether I was 6, or 16, or 26 or 36 ….and I’d feel guilty and horrible about it.
And the endless melancholy I always had, that this was not the life I wanted or who I wanted to be.
So the difference is just better times now for the kids and they don’t have to go into the horrible, dark, lonely closet like we did. And we are scarred by it, there is no way we were not damaged, we were and not just physically by having the wrong puberty.
How many of you late onset would have gone down the crossdreaming rabbit hole if not for internet and porn?