It’s been almost two years since I made the following comment:
I’m currently spending lots of my time questioning how I see myself, in particular in relation to my body. I identify as male, that lines up with my sex, I use male pronouns, and have a mostly masculine gender expression. I don’t expect that to change. Nevertheless, there are parts of me that really don’t jive with that. So I’m exploring.
If I divulged that on this blog, it means that I had been thinking something for a while and I thought it might go somewhere. Of the three main digital platforms I write about myself in, this blog is the most sanitized. Prospective employers read this, for instance, so anything too personal is usually omitted. For me to then talk about gender incongruity was a big step.
A little while I made that first comment above, I informed you that I was pursuing hormone replacement therapy. Then that my name was now Maëlys and that my pronouns were she/her. I later disclosed that I was self-administering hormone replacement therapy, frustrated of having waited on legitimate channels for a year to no avail.
I documented by evolution in 2013 with the following explicit selfie essay:
That I’m topless in most of these has to do with my never having been comfortable with my body before this point and finally embracing it. Part of that had to do with my body-image issues around weight, but also the dysphoria I hadn’t been aware that I was carrying until it started to dissolve with transition.
Through this two-year stretch I legally changed my name, changed my sex marker on my driver’s license and health card (still waiting for those in the mail), moved twice, dropped out of school, quit a suffocating job and went to work for a start-up, came out to my immediate family, my friends, and to work. I froze my sperm. I nuked my Facebook and Tumblr profiles. I went low-contact with my parents and as it stands they do not know where I live.
I eventually started hormone-replacement therapy. It’s been five months now and there’s been noticeable changes. Breast growth – I’m perhaps an A now. My hair isn’t greasy in the morning anymore. I’m no longer producing semen. I’m still exclusively read as male in public, but my comfort with my body has grown to heights I never thought were possible.
The last two years in particular have opened my eyes. I thought I understood what transphobia looked like. I went to a trans march three years before I came out. As it turns out, I had no idea. It wasn’t these overt display of hostilities, so much as the constant grinding away of people by those with power over them. I became interested in communicating part of those difficulties to the sexist/transphobic/homophobic eighteen year old me. I wrote a few pieces.
I also made the comic below. It doesn’t speak to the institutional difficulties, because I’ve been lucky. My friends have dealt with schools refusing to change their name, causing them to be outed to their class and not wanting to be there. They’ve dealt with provinces that said they couldn’t change their ID without undergoing surgery – even if there is no medical need for that surgery and they don’t want it. Not being able to change their ID means that they’re outed every time they show it. That makes getting jobs that deal with vulnerable peoples, which is what they went to school for, impossible. Being outed still means being treated very poorly in so many fields. There are so many stories of them turning to higher ups in each of these institutions for assistance, only to be met with resistance and things not changing.
Anyways here’s that comic, my latest attempt to communicate my thoughts on tranphobia: