“I shall never forget the unspeakable horror that froze the lymph in my glands when the baneful word seared my reeling brain – I was a homosexual. I thought of the painted, simpering female impersonators I had seen in a Baltimore nightclub. Could it be possible I was one of those subhuman things? I walked the streets in a daze, like a man with a light concussion. I would have destroyed myself but a wise old queen; Bobo, we called her,taught me that I had a duty to live and to bear my burden proudly for all to see.” – William Burroughs
I’ve brought it up a few times, but I grew up Assemblies Of God and went Southern Baptist at 12 because they were more liberal. I’m not even building up to a joke here. In any case, attending huge tent revivals was a common occurrence throughout my entire childhood and adolescence. You’d be lectured for an hour and then people would stand in line for several more hours to repent, to publicly beat at their chest and renounce all their sins and reaffirm their devotion to God or whatever.
Watch enough of them and you’d see repeat performers… folks that had suddenly hit a brand new rock bottom of fornication and decadence or whatever and would be up front with the others, beating their chest and confessing to increasingly absurd transgressions against their fellow man.
This is relevant probably.
Anyway, you waste enough time on the transgender corner of the internet and eventually you start stumbling across detransition blogs. They’re always anonymous, declaring an unnamed dread of being discovered by this shapeless mob of “trans activists” out to ruin their lives for telling “the truth”. There’s this flair for the dramatic amongst the conspiracies and the increasingly absurd confessions of transgressions; this idea that the curtain is being drawn on “what the trans activists don’t want you to hear”.
What they all have in common is an assurance that they know what they are now. Many claim to be gay men, but others actually claim to have discovered with horror that they were autogynephiles the whole time. Seriously. I personally know at least half a dozen funny, sweet and brilliant trans women that have all killed themselves this year before they’d barely started their twenties and yet some pathetic porn-sick creatures can read the documentation on what autogynephilia is, decide “well hot damn that totally describes me” and somehow not feel inspired to stick their head in the oven. This is why I know there is no God.
I any case, I don’t claim to know shit. I don’t have any answer as to who or what I am and am not really sure there is such an answer. I don’t “identify as a woman”, whatever that means, but have experience a lifelong disassociation and revulsion towards being socially processed through “manhood”. This has meant quite a few different things in my life, mostly because I had no language to describe or understand it.
And I’ve been dealing with this for decades.
The thing is, I wasn’t really processed through “manhood”, at least not in the sense of being socialized like a heteronormative hegemonic man (as if there was such a thing in a universal sense). From a very young age I was coded by society as a “faggot”, and my socialization was filtered through that coding. I was groomed towards appeasement and subservience to men and coded as deserving of violence and marginalization without resource for complaint. I was groomed to desire approval from and to appeal towards masculine idealizations, while also being held at arms length from any chance of owning them.
I’ve been a eunuch my whole life, regardless of whether I had balls. Faggot was my “gender identity”.
Reminder that “TERF is a slur” but faggot is a radfem-endorsed social identity.
Anyway, a little over a decade ago, I was coerced into detransition by my radical feminist-devoted boyfriend at the time. He was my second (and second longest) relationship I’ve ever had. I loved him like crazy; hell, I still do. He was brilliant and wordly and passionate, had impeccable music and artistic taste, and he fucked like a goddamn howitzer. True story: the first time we fucked, it was to the Mindless Self-Indulgence Song “Faggot“.
I have no pics of us then, so here’s one from 2006. Yes I’m still friends with him.
But he was also a verbally abusive alcoholic that used to tell me shit like “you’re not a woman; you’re a guy that I fuck in the ass and I wish you’d just accept that”. I wrote about it in my comic, but have never until now included the last page online because it was too painful:
Where was the Trans Cabal during all this? The one that is supposedly out there pressuring all the gender non-conforming people to transition? Oh right, they were too busy not existing.
well, besides existing in the imaginations of transphobic gaybros
But how did I get to that point anyway? Well, nobody gives a shit about tired old stories of pre-teen crossdressing and childhood dreams of being able to break my dick off like a pencil so I could stop fretting about it or whatever. Stories of shoplifting lipstick and a hollowed out teddy bear full of stockings and skirts. Boring shit that folks always trot out their own variation of. Nobody cares.
I feel it’s worth repeating tho that literally the first thing I bought with my own money (earned from my job in the dorm cafeteria) when I’d moved away from family to go to college was a (truly hideous) dress and some (appallingly cheap) makeup.
No pic of that either, so here’s me at legendary punk club Einsteins in 1995.
I didn’t really have the language to understand what the hell was going on tho. “Transgender” wasn’t really a word I had back then, and I don’t recall whether I’d used “transsexual” either. In college I’d read “Transsexual Empire” and it’s spiritual sister book “The Pink Swastika” and similar anti-gay books, seemingly most from the 80s. This was literally the only literature on the subject available in a college library in the 1990s. So I became one of those late-90s internet-addicted transsexuals one reads about. Still have my copy of Creating A Feminine Carriage and Melanie Speaks circa-1999 to prove it.
Says a lot that I held onto both through a decade of detransition, really.
Back then I still had no idea how to, like, be trans tho. I was a semi-professional drag queen, which gave me a place to explore presentation and also offered me a place to meet men that could potentially find me desirable. I ordered crap fake hormones from crossdresser magazines to bolster the hardcore hormones I was buying from drag queens that snuck them up from Mexico.
Me at infamous Killeen drag bar Krossover, circa 2000-ish
But, like, I knew I was something different than a drag queen, but what? I attended transsexual support meetings full of sneering old ladies sitting bolt upright with their purses in their laps. Women that wrinkled their noses at my leather jacket and Walgreens lipstick, called me “drag queen” and “misguided faggot” behind my back. Hell I didn’t even know if I “wanted to be a woman”, whatever that meant. For the majority of my transition, I only knew one other trans woman that didn’t despise me. And because my life is a fucking disaster, I wound up dating her after detransition.
Even more awkward, now she’s a guy again and thinks I’m disgusting.
To add further insult to injury, I’d met an actual trans activist (Ann Tagonist) shortly before my detransition, and she couldn’t help me. She actually recognized me from my tattoos related to my gender-angst comic Why I’m Not An Artist, which she’d read at a zine library in Portland. We were pen pals for about a year then lost contact anti-climactically. The universe loves to fuck with me.
I remember someone asking me, after hearing about my detransition, “So you pursued a sex change and gave up; what does that make you now?”. Honestly, I had no clue.
After detransition I figured if I had to be a guy, I might as well have some fun with it. I embraced absurd, flamboyant male dressings; arrow collars and exotic suit jackets and such. My gender identity was Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue.
I figured folks that had known me for so long would have gotten the joke; this over-the-top expression of rock star masculine swagger I’d suddenly adopted. Nobody got the joke. Hell, after long enough, I’d lost the plot so much I wasn’t getting it either.
A funny thing about being a dude when you don’t want to be; you can deliberately kill yourself slowly in front of everyone and get cheered on for it. You can drink to the point where your skin is flushed from puking and pick up another drink while sobbing about your childhood and everyone just pats you on the back and is like “wow that dude is a party animal”. If you’re charming and funny enough, nobody questions your judgement. I’ve had dudes tell me how “dramatic” I became post-transition, and it’s like “wait, you fucking saw me smash a whiskey bottle and cut myself in public once because I was sad pre-transition”.
yeah this dude had it all together and wasn’t literally imploding in on himself
Detransition was the worst fucking thing that ever happened to me. I regret it every day; dwelling on how I already knew things about myself and worked on them and then gave up. I was a coward and a failure and pathetic for doing it.
And yet going back to that misery is constantly advocated to me and folks like me.
“you’re not a woman; you’re a guy that I fuck in the ass…”
Let’s not fucking pretend what people really mean when the push for this is “hurry the fuck up and die and get out of my way”. Because that is what detransitioning again would do to me. And I guess the universe isn’t done fucking with me yet.