Hi guys, my name is Casey J. I’m 22, about to graduate college and head into grad school in the fall. Because of my chosen area of study, I’m not going to talk much about it to avoid potential issues. I identify as male.about 6 months ago
The first thing you need to know about me is that I was never the least bit masculine or androgynous until the age of 21. My nicknames as a child were “chipmunk cheeks” and “plump pink piglet.” Despite the alliteration in the latter, it was not amusing to an 8 year old with gender confusion and self-esteem issues. I longed to be masculine my entire life, but after a failed attempt at presenting male in middle school, I settled for butch(ish) lesbian. You see, I could dress however I wanted, hide my body, bind, cut my hair, everything I could think of, but there was always one problem that made me clearly female.
With short hair, my large cheeks were only made more prominent. Long hair thinned them out a little, or at least gave me something to hide behind, but it became a gender marker. Girls would compliment my hair and tell me they wished theirs was that pretty. It completely defeated the purpose of having the damn hair if it just made me “pretty.”
Which, I suppose, is the problem. I have a pretty face.
I have heard that enough to be assured of its validity. I have now been on testosterone for over a year, and it wasn’t until around 9 months in that I began being perceived as male on a regular basis. I still get “ma’amed,” but much less frequently, and most people correct themselves once I speak. Top surgery also helped this, though I was referred to by female pronouns just yesterday by someone who I made eye contact with.
Five weeks after surgery, over a year after testosterone.
I blame my face.
My walk, while not macho, is not feminine. My body language has been carefully tailored to be as masculine as possible. I did a great deal of reading on the topic, spent hours practicing in the mirror, and made sure it’s all perfect to avoid the pronoun issue.
The goal of my transition was simply this: to make myself masculine enough to be androgynous. I had no hopes of anything further, though I would *love* to be tall dark and handsome. Which brings me to my main point. How does anyone reconcile who they wish they could be with who they are? Where is the line between what can be changed and what cannot?
I see many of my transgender friends struggling with this issue. We all know that we cannot get any taller, cannot change the size of our hands or feet, cannot avoid scarring if we choose surgical interventions, and cannot undo what nature did to us.
But dammit, we have a choice in how we accept what we’ve been given. The best we can do is live with humility, change what we can, and love ourselves for who we are. We can be unhappy about this curse, but we cannot let it destroy us. What is the point of it all if we’ll never be happy? The middle ground is the best some of us can aspire to. I think, deep down, those of us that will always be androgynous know it. I think the cisgendered men who are born with similar faces to mine curse it sometimes too, but they learn to live with it because it’s what they have.
Most of my relationship problems would have been avoided if I could’ve realized what was and was not possible for me much sooner.
I will never be a hot, sexy, manly man, but I am a man, and I am a kind man. That’s enough.
Thank you for being so open and honest about your Achilles' heel and being secure enough to show your vulnerability.about 6 months ago
I have to say, though, I think you are mistaken with one of your statements. You say "I will never be a hot, sexy, manly man", but I say I am quite sure there are individuals for whom you fill that role nicely. Have faith, you are a good man. :)
Post Deletedabout 6 months ago
Thank you, Amanda! I do want to clarify, though, I don't mean to say that being born a woman was a curse. Rather, the curse refers more to the constant feeling of disconnection between body and mind, and the fact that my body doesn't reflect what I see internally. I love women, I think they're wonderful, I have just never been one mentally.about 6 months ago
Congratulations on the pregnancy, I hope the birth goes well and with as few complications as possible!
Casey, I'm sorry for that. It appears that not everyone is willing to do research or be respectful of others' gender identity. Upon discussion that member has been removed as this is the second time they've been disrespectful of a community member's gender identity. - JLAabout 5 months ago