Today’s blog title is something someone said to me at a party a couple of weeks today. Today’s blog post is about a big way my life is changing, and yes I am older than 25. Some of you may have already read this on facebook. I decided to share it on the blog so that all of my readers will know what’s up, and so it’s easy to share on other platforms.
Dear Friends And Loved Ones
I am writing with some potentially surprising (or not!) information. Life is very weird, and I am a boy. That’s right, today I am coming out to you as transgender, and I am trying to be silly and theatrical in doing so. I think I’m doing that to avoid doing the only other thing, which is being overly earnest. While I plan to definitely be overly earnest with you in the near future, right now I am feeling vulnerable and so I am putting on a weird sort of show. Ask my therapist, I love to make inappropriate jokes when I’m terrified of revealing myself (my therapist will not answer that question though, that’s against the law!). Anyways, I am specifically a gender non-conforming transgender guy. I think I have been trying to subtly come out to, dropping hints that may or may not read as hints, for a number of weeks. So now I am doing the real thing.
In a further effort to put up some weird kind of wall to protect myself, I will now explain myself in a FAQ format. Much like most major brands that have FAQs on their websites, no one has asked me these questions and they are purely what I imagine in my brain you would ask me. If you need to ask me additional questions, that is fine though I am not 100% sure I will always be able to answer.
1. What is a gender non-conforming transgender boy?
Oh you are getting right to the heart of the matter, good for you. Transgender means that I do not identify with the gender I was assigned at birth. Boy means I’m a boy. Gender non-conforming means that I refuse to be hemmed in by the patriarchal nonsense that is toxic masculinity, and may at time do things that seemingly break the rules of what it means to be a boy.
2. Why the heck are you using “boy” instead of “man?”
Primarily because I am terrified? I don’t know. The word man often feels very loaded, doesn’t it? Maybe I’ll get there eventually. I also like dude and am trying to popularize the term “dudeliness.” Please join me.
3. Wouldn’t it have been easier to stay a girl?
I guess it did seem like that was easier for a very long time, which is how and why I avoided perusing transition. It recently stopped feeling easier, and so I’m doing this now. I’m a boy and I feel like a boy and I deserve to be a boy so that’s what I’m going to do.
4. Have you always been a boy? Or did it change recently?
I honestly do not know, and I don’t care. Look, that’s incorrect. I do care, but I don’t think there’s a clear cut answer for it and I also don’t think it’s the most interest and important thing about me and my gender. I think our culture is obsessed with the idea that we have to have been “born this way” for our identities to be valid, and that idea hurts us. I was born a baby. What matters to me, and what should matter to you, is that I’m a boy now.
5. But wait a minute. What about that one time you wore that one dress? Or that other time? Or all the times? All I’m saying is it seemed like you liked some of those dresses.
I did! I have liked lots of things in my life! I continue to like lots of things. On the subject of dresses, dresses are great and I like them. I think they are generally a good way to put fabric together. Also as a gender non-conforming trans dude (look I used dude!) I won’t apologize for still being pretty femme.
6. If you are femme does that mean you are non-binary?
It does not mean that! Non-binary people are great and they deserve much more than what they get in this world, but I am not one of them. I am a boy.
If you are having trouble wrapping your head around this, it might be useful to think of a child. If a little boy knows he is a boy and enjoys being a boy, but then one day he puts on a dress because dresses are very pretty and also fun to spin around it, he doesn’t stop being a boy, does he? Not always conforming to gender roles doesn’t make your gender stop being your gender. It’s the same way for me. To assume that a cisgender boy can put on a dress and still be a boy, but a transgender boy somehow stops being a boy when he puts on a dress, that is transphobic.
7. How do you know you are a boy?
How do you know anything? This is a very loaded question and one that both shouldn’t be asked AND I can’t stop asking myself. When I think “I am a boy” it feels right and I feel right and everything makes sense. When I understand my body as a boy’s body I feel connected to it and safe and good in a way that I never imagined was possible before.
8. Ok, got it, sorry for the intrusive questions.
9. So what’s going to be changing?
I’ll be using he/him pronouns exclusively, I’ll be changing my name to David, some aspects of my outward gender presentation will be shifting, and I may be persuing some physical transition options like hormones.
10. Do you expect me to call you David all the time starting today? This is a big change.
There is a difference between expecting something and hoping for it, isn’t there?
I understand that changes take time to get used to. For the time being I am asking for effort, not perfection.
11. What if you are wrong? What if it turns out you are a girl after all? Doesn’t that worry you?
It did worry me, and sometimes it still does. But I don’t think that I am wrong. Ultimately I have to trust my intuition and live my life based on what my needs are now, not some imagined possible scenario.
But if hypothetically it turns out I’m wrong, I’ll deal with it and I’ll be fine and you have no reason to worry about me.
12. Aren’t you worried this will confuse or upset your kid?
He is neither confused nor upset by any of this. I’m still using the parenting title “mama” with him because it feels right and as a gender non-conforming guy that’s a call I get to make. I don’t think he cares what anyone’s gender is, to be honest.
13. Aren’t you worried about upsetting other people, like friends and family?
Yes I am! I am very worried that being myself will somehow hurt someone else and that is a crushing weight to carry around. But ultimately I think that we all have to live our own truths,and we all have the right to live our own truths, even if those truths are sometimes hard for others to understand.
14. Aren’t you a little old for this?
Wow. I guess with people noticing that they are transgender, and being brave enough to come out, at younger ages, coming out in one’s 30s could definitely seem weird. But the truth is that we are all constantly learning new things about ourselves, and we are always going to growing and changing. The other side of this is that I feel like I’m too old not to come out. Maybe if I had realized I was trans when I was younger, I would have wanted to sit on the knowledge for longer… but I don’t know how long I have left on this earth, and spending more time not living authentically doesn’t appeal to me at all.
15. Are you sure you don’t just want the power and privilege associated with maleness?
I have been a feminist for a very long time, and my goal will always be to tear down the patriarchy, not to scramble to the top of it.
16. Are you going to become an asshole?
I’m going to try my best not to! I plan to do my best to be the kind of dude I would want to hang out with, one that is sensitive and kind, willing to listen to others, and always down to geek out about history and/or talk about feelings.
17. Are you going to have surgery?
I don’t know. There’s a pretty wide range of surgical options, and I’m not sure which (if any) I would ever be interested in. Also, they all cost money. If I do that won’t be for years and years.
18. Does this mean you’re straight.
haha no. I’m still extremely queer.
19. How can I help you right now?
Do your best with pronouns, use my new name, tell me you love and support me. Spend time with me. Be nice to me. Take me out for ice cream. The usual.
20. Can I, as an individual, ignore this and continue to use your old pronouns and name indefinitely? I’m just so used to them.
21. Be honest, are you just doing this because one of your favorite writers recently came out as trans?
No, and that’s a terrible question to ask. If anything watching Daniel Ortberg come out helped me to understand what I do and do not want and helped give me courage. For instance, Daniel was on testosterone for six months before coming out in a major way. I could not handle that kind of secret. I have related to many things he has said about his transition, but not all. For instance, I have no desire to be George of the Jungle.
22. Are you just doing this for attention?
No, and that’s a terrible question to ask. Oh my god why am I assuming people want to ask me all of these not very nice questions rather than just believing me? I’m sorry everyone, I really don’t think you are huge jerks, I swear!
23. Are you maybe coming out a little fast though? I don’t mean that you are wrong, I just mean like, it seems like you had this realization somewhat recently and many people seem to prefer to keep it quiet for awhile?
I’m not many people. Secrets give me literal stomach aches. I want to be able to talk about my feelings and experiences openly and honestly. I can only do that if people know what I’m going through and who I am. It’s totally ok that some people need more time, but for me it is kind of the opposite. I need to live authentically as myself in order to feel whole.
See, now I AM getting overly earnest.
24. Do you think being a boy will make you happier?
It already is… by like a lot.
In conclusion, I love you all a ton, and really don’t know why I’m trying to pre-field all of the most invasive questions but I guess this is just who I am. Many things will be staying the same. I still love cats and sweets. I still have a terrible sense of humor. I’m still glad I birthed a child and breastfed for as long as I was able. I still have no interest in sports.
I promise that the tone of this FAQ says more about me than it does about you. I remain, as ever, a defensive pessimist, so I am preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. I have a bit of a journey ahead of me, but I’m excited to be on it, and I’m excited to have people in my life who love and support me.
And if you don’t think this is ok for whatever reason, then frankly, I think you know where the door is.
When I was fifteen and realized that I was Some Kind Of Not Straight ™ I really wanted to have a Coming Out Party, only of course I was fifteen and living in the suburbs and it wasn’t safe or an option to celebrate queerness in that way. Since I’m having to come out AGAIN and coming out is exhausting, I’m finally having my party.
I’m planning to revamp my patreon page to make it easier for folks to support me and this blog. In the meantime, if you want to see Postnuclear Era keep going, and my little family thrive, you can make a one time donation of any amount via paypal. I can’t stress enough that every aspect of transition, from buying a binder to admin work that takes away from paying work time, has a dollar amount attached to it, and every little bit helps right now. The paypal link still has my old name on it, life is incredibly complicated and messy.