Saturday, May 9, 2009

ftm

recently i have been watching some youtube vids about transgender individuals, specifically ftm...i have also seen the mtf, but they arent as interesting to me...i am truly amazed at the determination they have to make these changes in their lives and bodies to follow the path that is true for them...there is a single thread that ties all their stories together, other than the obvious changes...a persistent, positive outlook within a strong network of support...

i myself have never felt anything other than female so i could not begin to imagine what it must be like to be trapped inside a body that you know in your heart cannot be yours...

i cannot recall if i have mentioned it here before...i may have made comments about it on a blog or two...i knew a girl that used to tell me she was a boy...she said "god made me wrong...i was supposed to be a boy"...she wanted to be called "max"...she wanted to dress in boy clothes all the time...

she was three years old...

it was just her and her mother at home...there were times when this little girl would come over and i would watch her while her mother was running errands...sometimes she wanted to have her hair fixed "like a girl"...but then she would look at her reflection in the mirror and this strange look would cross over her features...she would say "i'm ugly because i'm a boy, not a girl"...i never told her otherwise...i would just ask her why she would say that and she would tell me in the saddest voice "because, i can feel like inside i am supposed to be a boy on the outside...i was made wrong"...

over the next several years, she never once wavered on this...by age six, she had requested that i call her "max" whenever it was just us but not around her mother "because she doesnt believe me that i am a boy inside, so just call me [birth name] so she doesnt get mad"...

i think she opened up to me because i didnt contradict what she was saying...she was extremely intelligent, so i knew early on that this was not a case of her not understanding what "boys" and "girls" were....she knew and understood...she also knew that others would not understand, so she began keeping those thoughts to herself...

she did not have an easy life...her mother struggled with depression and would often say "i hope she ends up gay that way she wont get knocked up"...she said this when her child was four...i tried to talk to her mother...another common friend told me "she is just confused because her mother does not display anything remotely feminine"...i wasnt so sure...

i was told by this common friend, after a long and lengthy discussion..."if [little girl] is truly a child with gender identity issues, it will be a long road ahead...all we can do is be there and ready if/when we are needed"...this came from one of the most conservative persons i know...but she was not stupid, and realized that this was not a case of a confused child...

i have not seen this child in a long, long time...two, three? years...often i wonder about her...is she still hiding her feelings?...will she ever be comfortable taking that first step to a new life?...i worry as well...

what gets lost in these ftm stories i read/see are the very young children that know from a young age that something is not right...

i remember one of the last things i told this little child...she had been crying because her mother had told her that she wasnt "max" and she wasnt a boy and she needed to stop saying she was or people would think she was crazy...she said "i have to pretend i am a girl even though i know i am not"...my heart hurt so much for this six-year-old that had to struggle with such a monumental hurdle...i held her closely and said this:

"one day, when you grow up you will have so many more choices in your life...you can choose where you want to live, where you want to work, what friends you want to have, when you want to go to bed...and, when you grow up, if you still feel this way...you can make that choice to live that way...whatever you decide...even if i am not there...my heart will always be with you and i will always love you no matter what...girl...or boy"...

they ended up moving away and we lost contact...i still think about her often...i wonder if she will remember those words i said to her...i wonder if she knows that i meant every one of them...

cg

12 curious people say...:

petitemort said...

There are reasons why society places so much emphasis on boys/men and girls/women assuming "gender appropriate" roles and pairing up to make babies. But we've learned that nature does not make everyone uneqivocally male or female, and we don't make it easy for people like that to find happiness.

It's even more difficult when, in order to be happy, a woman needs a change of anatomy which is virtually impossible to achieve. You can only feel for this girl and the problems she will face through her life.

curiousgirl said...

@petitemort - i just hope that one day this child will find happiness and not have to hide from others...

cg

wingnut said...

This girl or boy in girls genitals will never have a normal day in her life. It's sad that society is as backwards, fucked up and shitty as it is, but the truth isn't going to make it any happier for her/him and we all know it.

I wish we had a society of people who realized gender isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Sadly, there is this book that puts everything into a category and the masses are going to go with what they think is the truth even if science proves them completely wrong.

We can all hope and pray for her/him, but we should all know better. It isn't going to make one day in her/his life any better. The dumb breed a hell-of-a lot faster than the intelligent. It's a losing battle.

I hope she/he has a day where things work out, but I don't hold much hope. I just don't think society as a whole has a clue.

Fucked up situation with no light at the end of the tunnel. I'll hope for the best, but I expect much different.

genderoutlaw said...

Well, that was a dark cloud of a comment, wingnut. I cannot speak for this child, or for any other trans people, but I do not look at my life with the negativity you assume. This isn't to say that being born with a body that matches my gender wouldn't have eliminated some of the difficulties I face, but I also wouldn't be the same person, and I rather like who I am. Transition has brought me much happiness, and my life is no losing battle. Seeing the lives of trans people as tragic is part of the problem. It's a one-sided view that's fed my media portrayals, and it doesn't help anyone.

curiousgirl said...

@wingnut - i am not so sure i would agree with that...you know me and you know that i do have a lot of hope for children and the world in general...

from what i have seen/read, there is a lot of hope...there is such a strong network of support out there for transgendered individuals...

and even if this child runs into one brick wall after another on the way through life, i want to believe that the memory of one person who offered love, support, and possibilities will stay with this child so that when things get dark...there will be a light...even if you cannot see it...others can...

cg

curiousgirl said...

@genderoutlaw - thanks for your comment...i saw your one year vid after i posted here about this topic...congratulations on an amazing journey!

it's because of stories like yours and so many others that i have hope for this child...i think the ever-expanding world of the internet makes so much more possible...possible people to find out that whatever struggles they may encounter (any type of struggle in life, really) that they are not alone and that they are choices...

thanks for giving me hope for this child and all the other children out there that may find themselves in similar situations...

cg

genderoutlaw said...

You're welcome!! I know I'm not alone in my comments: I polled my twitter community yesterday about this, and while there was definitely acknowledgment that FTMs have difficult hurdles in life, the overall sentiment was one of happiness.

There is a persistent image of trans people as depressed and suicidal, and it's a generalization---not an accurate picture of the community at all. But until we have more positive media portrayals to balance out movies like "Boys Don't Cry," people will continue to look into our lives with misguided pity (at best.)

bdenied said...

its a fascinating subject for sure. I have definite empathy for those who feel trapped...its like they got the wrong parts of the assembly line.....and quality control didnt notice until the delivery date was past.

curiousgirl said...

@genderoutlaw - "misguided pity"...that is a good way to look at it...because it isnt pity that is needed...it is acceptance...

@bdenied - what an interesting comparison...have you seen the movie "robots"..they are making their baby robot and there is a "leftover" piece...and the dad says "you did say you wanted a boy, right?"...hehehehe...

cg

wingnut said...

I probably came off a bit different than intended. I did not mean to pinhole this child into something of doom and gloom...completely. In the end, this child will find folks who accept her/him, as he/she is. I have no problem with her issues as a whole, and accept that people are born into bodies that really aren't the ones they are supposed to have.

My rant came forth from a serious issue with the general population, and not with those who can see past a certain perspective. We just finished with eight years of that mentality, and I don't think I need to explain that.

I did not mean to imply that every single day is a day of doom for this person. In a way, I went off the rails about my hatred for people who can not see past an opinion that people are one or the other and there is nothing else.

I don't accept that life will be normal for this person, and at the same time, I know her life will be better because of some of the people she has met and will meet. I just hate those who will confront her with their bigotry and hatred to what they do not understand, and close their minds off because of that.

I am not apologizing. I just want to clarify that I do think her life will be extremely difficult...and the reason for that difficulty will be because a bunch of ignorant assholes will be thrown her way every single day of her life.

The power to overcome that ignorance comes from you, and others like you, but it does not eliminate the fact her life is fucked up from day one. Not because of who she/he is...but because there are way too many dickheads in her way.

Aneris said...

Children know about fundamental things themselves, don't they?

Things may be a bit hard but as time marches on, she will be in a much better position than so many others born in the stiff dark ages.

curiousgirl said...

@wingnut - i know that you are pretty open-minded...and are accepting of a lot of things...thanks for clarifying your view...

@aneris - children will amaze every day of my life...they just get boring by the time they hit puberty...lol...

i'd like to think that the world will be a different place 10 - 15 years from now...

cg