I don't want to be a trans boy.
I want to be a boy. I've always wanted to be a boy, as long as I can remember; and, as long as I can remember, I've been told I was a girl. From the K-I-S-S-I-N-G rhymes kids used to chant about me and my closest male friends, to my mother's repeated statements that “boys are great, but I'm so glad I have you for a daughter,” my femaleness was constantly reinforced. Not maliciously, not with any ill intent, but just as a taken-for-granted, self-evident fact of reality. Of course I was a girl.
I wish – I've always wished – that I'd been born a boy.
The truth is, I don't want to be trans. It's hard and scary, and it's a life sentence. Right now I have the immense good fortune to be living in a hugely supportive and understanding community, where most people's only question with respect to a name change is “What pronouns?” – but at some point I will have to face the rest of the world: uninformed relatives, future employers, TSA agents and bank tellers and bartenders. And it's a lifetime of being misgendered, of disclosure and fear, of trying to explain, of dealing with legal names and legal genders, of fighting constantly with bank accounts and passports and driving licenses and filling out forms, of doing Trans 101, of CONSTANT BULLSHIT from a society built for cis people. I don't want to do it.
I feel as though I start each day with a certain allocation of spoons, dependent on my mood and dysphoria level, and then the rest of the day is a zero-sum game of gender-related spoon accumulation and loss.
Getting called “her”: -1 spoon for each pronoun.
Getting called “sir”: +5 spoons.
Getting called “missy”: -9000 spoons.
Etc. etc., and if I get below a certain number of
spoons, it throws me off for the rest of the day and completely
wrecks my ability to get anything done apart from brood and listen to
“My Body Is A
Cage” four million times.
For certain tasks, I know I have to prepare myself psychologically. Anything where I have to show ID is tough: a trip to the bank, a beer run. There have been days when I wanted booze, but didn't buy any because I couldn't face showing somebody my driver's license with its MISS [FEMALENAME]. (And anyone who knows anything about my relationship with booze will know that that really means something.) I dread going to the bank; because of course when she calls me “she” the teller is only acting on the information available to her. She doesn't know that it feels like a blast of “Harrison Bergeron”-esque white noise to my brain, throwing me for a loop like an air-raid siren going WRONG WRONG WRONG. She can't know that unless I tell her; and who has the spoons to explain their preferred name and pronouns to every bank teller? It's hard enough explaining that stuff to your friends and your parents, the people who know you and care about you and will want to get it right.
People say stupid things. Even here, even where I'm surrounded by trans people and supportive friends and students of queer theory, people say really stupid things. Gold medal thus far goes to the person who earnestly told me they could “kind of understand” what it's like to be transgender because they “changed religious identities.” (Silver goes to the dearly beloved friend who reacted to the very mention of top surgery with a frantic, “You know people pay thousands of dollars to have breasts like yours??”)
I have so much left to figure out. I have to get therapy. I have to get on hormones. I have to try to get my name and legal gender changed, while living as a non-resident alien on a student visa. I have to decide how to fill out my PhD application forms. God help me, I have to tell my parents.
I just want to wake up tomorrow morning and have always been a boy.