Pride Month 2022 and a top OP ode to trans joy

I had a lot of trouble imagining how my life would change once I came out as non-binary. I was classified as a female at birth but have always been gender non-conforming throughout my adolescence. I hated feminine dresses, especially because my mom used to dress me in them for church on Sundays, and I was always so much more comfortable in simple jeans and a t-shirt. It didn’t help that I grew up in the 1990s when girls’ fashion was either wildly revealing or oddly oversized. I felt like I was drowning in waves of fabric.

When I hit puberty and started developing, I figured everyone else hated their breasts as much as I did.

When I hit puberty and started developing, I figured everyone else hated their breasts as much as I did. My boobs were starting to come in, and I remember looking down at my body and saying, “I think that’s a woman, huh?” I wasn’t wearing what I called “real bras” until I was in college. Before that, I could only pull sports bras over my head; No need to fiddle with straps or hooks. I also learned to play with femininity, don skirts when the occasion called for it, and even occasionally invest in an evening dress for formal occasions. I remember thinking at the time that if G‑d had called me to be a woman, I had better learn what that meant. In the context of my evangelical upbringing, that meant letting men take the lead and being uncomfortable in my own skin for the sake of church harmony.

By the time I found out about “genderqueer” and “nonbinary,” I had already placed too much emphasis on the “woman” box of my identity to seriously consider whether those labels applied to me. I was gender non-conforming, a tomboy, and later in queer culture, a lesbian butch. That was it. Nothing but a woman, although I couldn’t define what “woman” meant to me.

It wasn’t until well into my 30s, isolated in a pandemic and left alone with my thoughts, that I finally allowed myself to admit it was me Not a woman. i am nonbinary The thought had been in the back of my mind for at least five years, but admitting it to myself and speaking out publicly felt way too disruptive. I was too busy, too involved in too many things, to reset, rename and reconfigure my body and relationships to a new identity.

If not for the disruption to my daily life caused by the pandemic, I probably could have continued to present myself as a woman and call myself. It was chafing, but I had become an expert at distracting myself. I also have a career that I love, a group of friends that I enjoy immensely, and a chosen and biological family that loves me and would continue to love me no matter who I am. Could I have stayed a “you”? Secure.

But it wouldn’t have been me happy.

Amid the current onslaught of anti-transgender legislation in the United States, focused attention how damaging it is for trans people—including transgender children, who often express their identities from a young age—when they are denied proper medical care for their gender dysphoria. in the to learn after to learnThe medical transition has been shown to alleviate dysphoria and essentially “cure” the comorbidities associated with being trans. Without access to proper care and the ability to transition to the right gender, We know that many trans and non-binary people have experiences depression and suicidal thoughts. I have numerous friends in the trans community who have either attempted suicide or often had unresolved ideas for years before they could get the medical care they needed. Some, like Terri Bruce, a transgender man who sued the state of South Dakota for refusing to include sex reassignment treatment in its state health plan, don’t survive the fight.

But that’s the tale everyone knows about trans life. Too often for cisgender audiences, our lives have been marked by violence, pain, death and struggle. For this reason, we are called “brave” to just keep on living.

There hasn’t been as much thought given to what happens when we get access to transitional care when the path is paved.

There hasn’t been much thought given to what happens when we do receive Access to transitional care when the path is paved and we finally get through.

On April 8th, I went under the knife for top surgery. I’d always hated my boobs, even considering myself a woman, and after coming out as non-binary I realized that with gender reassignment surgery, I could finally do something about it. In 2021, I began the process of getting insurance approved for a masculinizing mastectomy and jumping through the medical hurdles to make the switch. That Friday I woke up in the recovery room to the nurse taking the oxygen mask off my face and asking how I was doing. I reached out and patted the bandages across my chest. “Huh, it really happened,” I thought to myself. “They left.”

Later, when the anesthetic wore off, I looked at my new body and just smiled. No more DD boobs stretching my buttoned shirts in awkward places. I was able to cross my arms without having to find a way around the boobs. Over the next few weeks, I texted friends and addressed visitors, “DO YOU WANT TO SEE MY CHEST?? LOOK HOW GREAT IT IS.”

My dysphoria had never been particularly strong. I didn’t sink into depression because of the existence of my breasts. I had no imagination and they didn’t cause me any physical pain. But now that they were gone, I was shocked at my own joy.

These are the stories you don’t hear very often or very widely. The pain and dysphoria is an easier narrative to process and understand – after all, everyone knows what it’s like to be unhappy. But to be happyeven joyful, in transition? Somehow this emotional ending is seen as an afterthought, inaccessible.

Being who we are isn’t just about bravery over pain or bravery in the face of discrimination. We are pursuing our own happiness with full force and full speed. That drives us more than anything else – to be comfortable with who we are, to present to the world the picture we see in our minds, to finally be free and happy.

Two months after the operation I was in Los Angeles on business. I grabbed my swim trunks and meandered over to Venice Beach, famously home to an outdoor gym and a string of shops selling shabby tie-dye shirts and shorts with “Property of Tony” written on the back. I walked down to the beach, stripping off my shirt and wading into the sea as the waves pounded and hit me on my bare chest. I must have looked odd standing out there in the cool water, a big grin on my face. But I felt like I was finally me, and that’s all that matters.

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