I’m not proud of my past, but I do own it and hope others can learn from it
MAJOR CWs for trans violence. I’m not proud of what I did in my past, but I’m sharing it in the hopes that others can learn from it. Also CWs for dysphoria, genital mentions, discussion of transphobia and misogyny.
I grew up during the 80s and 90s, and while there have been trans people well before then, and even some who had been able to transition through hormones and surgery, it was a topic that was not discussed. Being gay/lesbian was barely a topic that could be brought up by the time I was 10, and even then not without a lot of stigma and bigotry against those people due to the HIV/AIDS crisis on top of the lies told about them that we’re now seeing pushed on trans people. If you were trans you either kept in the closet, or you were rich enough to be able to disappear and come back a different person. In some cases you tried to be out without doing that, but that was only in very select locations in the USA and even then not without a lot of pushback.
I realized I wasn’t a girl by the time I was 8, but I had no word to describe what I felt. I just thought I was a boy with “different parts” and was confused when people kept saying I was a girl. For the longest time I legit thought that I peed from my clitoris because it was my super tiny penis. It wasn’t because I didn’t have any sex education, because my parents saw to it that I received age appropriate sex education from a young age, it was just that my brain decided that my clitoris was my penis and that was that.
When I had my first period I thought something was very wrong with me, even though I’d been told I would have one “because I’m a girl” (again, brain went and decided they were just using the wrong words). Then when I started growing breasts it became even worse because my brain was telling me that boys aren’t supposed to have breasts! But like before, couldn’t talk about it because I didn’t have the words nor the feeling that I could safely come out.
In fact, I didn’t even know trans men existed until I was well into adulthood. I only knew of transgender women and “butch” women (many of whom were mislabled and were in fact transgender men) so I just thought I was broken and that something was wrong with me. I developed SEVERE transphobia because of this, to the point that I was outright antagonistic towards trans women and at one point had gone full TERF and believed the whole “men wearing dresses” or “men pretending to be women to harass women” beliefs, as well as the pedophile belief and autogynophile beliefs. It was the only way my brain could deal with people who were trans being happy with their lives while I was miserable as fuck and trying to pretend to be a woman. I spread those untruths, I joined in on harassing trans women and in a few cases forcibly removing them from the women’s restroom where I worked because a “real woman wouldn’t face the toilet to pee.”
I spent years harrassing and mocking trans women for just one day deciding that they were women, and how they decided that they’d rather take the “easy road” and be a woman rather than “manning up” (holy crap the internalized toxic masculinity). While I would support some trans women, those who I believed were “real trans,” if they didn’t conform to my views of femininity and being “proper women” I would attack them for trying to appropriate womanhood.
My actions hurt people, and I used my pain and hatred for their happiness at living their gender as a weapon and to justify my own pain from having to repress my own gender for decades. The whole, “If I have to suffer you should too!” mentality was total poison and really messed me up.
Around 6 years ago the dam finally burst that had been holding back that I was trans (yay repression and self hatred! /s) and I came out to my partner while driving home from a breast cancer scare. I then came out to the rest of my family, including my kids, and then came out publicly. I dealt with a lot of the transphobia I’d gone and pushed on others, and have spent the last several years working to undo all of the transphobic and outright wrong ideas I’ve had about trans people. Do I still deal with those thoughts at times? YEP! But I now know how to work on them to break them down and undo them.
Even after coming out, I held a lot of animosity toward trans women for problems that they had nothing to do with in regards to my own problems. It wasn’t their fault that they were the primary target and focus when discussing trans issues (I didn’t even know trans men existed until 2011!) and if you want more on this story you can read about it here and here.
Because I wasn’t transitioning “properly” for many others, I became the target of the same attacks I’d done to trans women previously, being called a trender, that I was faking my gender, how I was just doing it for attention, how I just couldn’t cut it as a “proper woman” and wanted the easy way out (seriously, this argument goes for both trans women and trans men because you cannot win). It wasn’t until I started hormone therapy and had top surgery that a lot of the attacks against me for being a “fake trans” went away, but I do still deal with them from time to time, along with being mistaken for a trans woman (I’m a trans man).
Earlier in the year I performed the piece, “Am I trans enough?” to voice my feelings, and to respond to what people have said to me over the years since coming out, but I know that I still need to work towards healing the damage I have caused through being a TERF and attacking trans women because of misplaced pain and internalized transphobia