Evey Winters created this excellent graphic for Trans Week of Visibility this year, and someone requested that I answer all the questions. So… here it goes. I’ve omitted some questions that would result in duplicate answers.
What are you most excited for in your transition?
Honestly, having it all behind me and simply being at peace with my body. There are many things that I will never be able to make up for – loads of existential dysphoria that simply cannot be erased – but I can already feel my mind trying to heal much of that away.
How can I make things better for you?
Cis Allies: Fight for us. Don’t simply passively allow us to exist, ensure we CAN exist! Write your legislators, march in protests, defend us when people around you speak ill, or misgender others. Being trans is not simply a social phenomenon, it is a natural part of the human condition which has existed as long as mankind itself. It is time that it be recognized as a biological fact.
Trans Folks: Never. Stop. Being. Awesome.
What’s the best part of being trans?
Gender Euphoria, pure and simple. It is the greatest form of joy and bliss I have ever experienced in my life. Ruminating on the fact that I have done this, that I reached for my life and took it back, it fills me with a warmth like liquid sunlight pouring into my chest.
Second best thing: I gots boobs now!
How do you think your life would be different if you’d transitioned at a young age?
- If I had transitioned 5 years earlier, I never would have had my son or possibly even my daughter.
- If I had transitioned 10 years earlier, I probably wouldn’t have gotten married and likely wouldn’t have my career.
- If I had transitioned 15 years earlier, I never would have even met my wife.
- If I had transitioned 20 years earlier… I might not even have survived. Being trans in the 90s was extremely difficult. Being trans in Michigan would have been a nightmare: I would have be cast out of my family, lost all support, ended up homeless and unemployable, and likely would have taken my own life.
I transitioned when my life was right for it to happen. Do I wish I could have transitioned at a younger age? Yes, but it would have cost me so so much.
Why not just be a “feminine guy”?
Because my dysphoria demanded so much more than simply changing my presentation. I am not a man, I never was a man. I knew this even as a child. My body was fundamentally incorrect for me to have a happy existence. I needed to have a female shape, I needed to be seen as female, I needed to be treated as a woman. Nothing else would calm my incongruence.
This is my experience as a binary trans woman, others will have their own reasons and their own needs.
What’s the hardest part of your daily life as a trans person?
Discrimination. Socially in the wild I am seen and treated like any other woman, my transness is relatively unknown, I walk through life largely stealth (presumed to be cisgender and not deliberately breaking that presumption), and I face no discrimination from strangers. Thus, for the majority of my day to day existence, my life is fairly easy.
However, when I am forced to out myself, either for medical reasons or simply a disclosure for my own safety, it immediately others me and causes unconscious bias. If I were to try to date, seeking partners is significantly more difficult than it is for cisgender people. Do I disclose I am trans up front and risk discrimination, or do I wait until my genitals become relevant to the relationship, risking violence or a broken heart? Will partners who accept me still treat me differently because of my past? This is why trans people often prefer to date other trans people. There’s no ambiguity.
How does it feel to you to transition?
This is an extremely general question, so it gets a general answer. It feels liberating. No more hiding who I am, no more policing my actions and interests in order to mask my femininity. No more existing merely for the sake of existing.
Have you had the surgery?
There are at least 8 different bodily surgeries in addition to the 12 different facial feminisation surgeries that transfeminine individuals may choose to pursue.
I have had one. It is not the one you’re probably thinking of.
How do you know you’re trans?
Over the last three years I have been writing a personal memoir attempting to answer this question in full. It currently sits at over fourteen thousand words, and I’ve not even completely covered everything up to my 20s. The sheer volume of personal experiences I have which justify my gender incongruence is vast, and continues to grow as I process traumas and remember new things from my childhood.
But here is the short of it: From the age of five I hated being a boy and regularly and persistently wished I had been born with a vagina instead of a penis. Everything about my behavior, my socialization, my preferred presentation and the way I related to others made it clear that I was not a boy. As I entered into puberty it became even more clear to me that masculinity was not the path I wanted to follow.
So the more interesting question is actually, how is it that I didn’t know I’m trans? And the answer to that is: Because nobody had ever told me that I could be, and numerous systems of patriarchy and transphobia worked to ensure that it stayed that way. I was forced to live as a boy, and eventually I gave up wanting anything else.
Until I finally learned otherwise.
What has been the hardest part of your transition?
The changes in three key relationships in my life: My mother, my wife, and my best friend.
My Mother: The person I thought my mother was died the day I came out to her. All of my illusions about her love for me and her rationality as a woman of science were completely shattered. To this day, three and a half years later, she still has refused to call me Jocelyn to my face, and has only accidentally ever gendered me correctly. Our relationship is severely strained due to her religious bigotry, and I now spend as little time around her as I can.
My Wife: In many ways my transition has brought my wife and I much closer together than we ever were before, and we now understand each other in ways we simply could not before. However, it has also fundamentally altered our relationship, and at this time we are much more like sisters than wives. Losing that romantic and sexual side of my marriage has caused me a lot of grief, and is one of my greatest sources of sorrow from my transition.
My Best Friend: He was the second person I ever came out to after my wife. I wanted him at my side, and initially he pledged his full support, but over the first year of my transition he gradually distanced himself from me and become more and more poisoned towards my reality, eventually convincing himself that I was a fundamentally evil person for transitioning. He has now become aggressively transphobic towards me, to the point that it has harmed his own marriage. His abandonment was a painful betrayal of our 17 year friendship, and nothing I could have done differently would have saved it.
What would have made it easier for you to come out?
As a child: Knowing that my family would love and support me unconditionally, and that I would be believed and have a champion for my needs. Basically the opposite of what would have actually happened.
As an adult: For being trans to simply be a non-issue, a clerical and medical matter alone.
In short, for me to not have to come out at all.
What can I do to be a good ally?
See the “How can I make things better for you?” question above.
What’s something you wish cisgender people knew?
God, there are so many things. Most of all, just accept that we are who we say we are. Just because we have different pasts and our experiences differ from cisgender counterparts, that does not make our gender any less genuine.
How long have you known?
I knew I hated being a boy when I was 5. I knew I would be happier as a girl when I was 11. I wanted to transition when I was 13. I didn’t know I was allowed to until I was 36.
What are your pronouns?
How did you pick your name?
My wife gave it to me! We wanted a name that had the same first initial and general cadence as my deadname, plus could be shortened the same way as a pet name.
What’s your favorite dinosaur?
Pteranodon, tho it is technically not a dinosaur.
Why would you want to be a girl?
Whatchumean? Being a girl is awesome! Sure, the misogyny sucks, the loss of strength can be annoying, and the monthly period symptoms are a massive fuck you from biology, but the rest is so cool! Better clothes, better relationships, better emotions, better sex…
But, I mean, I’m biased, cuz I am a girl. Non-girls probably feel very differently.
What do you feel like you missed in your childhood?
I missed a lot of my youth entirely, especially my sexual youth, although a lot of that was a factor of my religious upbringing. I also had a very socially isolated life as a teenager; I was cast out by the boys and rejected by the girls, so I spent most of my time alone.
The things that I feel I missed out on the most were actually in my early adulthood. I did not get to date as a woman and be courted as a woman. I did not get to be a bride.
What has been your favorite part of transitioning so far?
The sisterhood of women, by far. The way women treat other women is so wholesome, and is such a contrast from the way men treat other men. I’ve had so many casual conversations with complete strangers that just struck up out of the blue; that NEVER happened when I was seen as a man.
This is a radical difference from the way women would fear me and avoid me when I was seen as male. I was inherently viewed as a threat, othered at best. This was especially felt during the births of my two children. Even as a “father”, I was eyed with suspicion and doubt by the nursing staff. Nurses would enter the room, see that I’m present, and completely change their demeanor.
What worries you most as a trans person?
That the influence of the Trump presidency, both legislatively and culturally, may have significantly harmed our ability to exist. His SCOTUS appointees are already seeking to undermine LGBT rights in America, and his cult-like supporters have been whipped up into a fervor the likes of which we’ve not seen in 50 years. This has had ripple effects outside of the USA, reinforcing the gender critical movement and fueling transphobia in the UK to new levels.
We’ve had so much progress in the last decade, and it feels so precariously at risk.
Does your family accept you?
My grandfather, one of my aunts and one of my cousins have accepted me. My wife, children and my in-laws have accepted me. Beyond that… no. Several members of my extended family are vocally opposed.
How has transitioning changed your life?
There is no aspect of my life which remains untouched, my entire fundamental existence has been radically altered. I couldn’t even begin to start listing all the things that have changed.
But the piece that matters the most is that my day to day happiness is ten times stronger than even my happiest moments pre-transition. I experience life with a completely new kind of joy that makes every moment feel cherished, even the shitty ones. I love living now!
What has surprised you most about transitioning?
When you’re suffering from biochemical dysphoria you really have no idea just how miserable you are until HRT makes it all go away. It’s like a massive curtain was pulled off of my entire existence. I did not know that I could feel this normal, or even how not-normal I felt before.
It brings your entire life into perspective, and gives you a significant appreciation for something that most cis people take completely for granted.