From time to time I reread my old diaries, revisit old blogs, recall old thoughts. Reflection, it’s a two-edged dagger—it can be something to hurt you if you don’t wield right.

That part—wielding that dagger—comes back to stab me from time to time, because I don’t keep control. Thoughts can be dangerous if you let your mind wander into dangerous territory, whether you’re familiar with it or not, without control or a guide.

Self portrait of author in front of a movie poster for the movie Bohemian Rhapsody.
My appearance can look anything from a prepubescent, androgynous teenager, to a cis-passing man. We must be on our guard not to confuse how we present ourselves, with how we see ourselves.

From time to time I wonder if, in while undergoing my sex change, if I made too many concessions, too many compromises, and that maybe I should have considered other identities. I considered myself agender before taking that first T shot, and after that, I decided to call it quits on the non-binary stuff and just adopt “trans man” and “FtM” to describe myself. I was lucky to undergo gender counciling before beginning HRT, as it saved me the hassle from much of that confusion.

Was I trans, when I first came out and identified as agender?I still planned to eventually obtain a mastectomy and hysterectomy, but I really didn’t think about nor realize at the time the consequential need for hormone therapy afterwards. (No ovaries means no hormone production.) I had a hard time thinking I was a man at points, despite seeing myself as a boy during my childhood, because the corruption of what “transgender” meant delayed my inevitable sex change.

While I continue to look at myself in the mirror, there’s also one more thing. I realize sometimes these oft dysphoric thoughts arise when I feel like I look androgynous, especially when a mask covers my face and I’m clean shaven. When I look “clearly” male, I don’t have these troubling thoughts that question my masculinity, if not ultimately my essence and identity.

After I play this bout of self-doubt with myself, here is what I come back to. I am a man. I am a brother, father, son. My name change to a masculine form of my birth name shows that I am still the same guy, just living his life as a man instead of as a woman. My body has healed, has been reclaimed. I can wear the clothes I always preferred without having to defend my masculinity anymore. I am attracted to women, but I am straight. I have a family, loved ones, workplace, and online community that support me as the man I was always meant to be.

What thoughts lie through the looking-glass, when I slide over these clothes?

My depression sometimes causes dysphoria when really there is none. Since I was young, I always wanted to be a boy and cried out when people tried to remind me I was a “girl”. What nature desecrated, medicine and therapy healed.

I am the man I always pictured myself to be; I wish my thoughts would just let that be. The mind can be your most powerful tool, but can also cause your ultimate self-destruction.

3 thoughts on “Am I (Still) a Man?

  1. Wonderful post. I remember when I came out, I was on the gender-fluid boat as well. But as time went on, I knew I wasn’t. You’re right, we are just human. I think many people tend forget that as they give us other labels and make jokes (more at my expense than yours). No matter what label you try to give yourself, I appreciate you! Continue being YOU.

    1. I have been all over in terms of trying to find a label. I think masculinity and femininity each also occur along spectrums in of themselves, as opposed to a continuum that has masculinity on one end, femininity on the other. I just find it funny that after having medically transitioned, I’m finally in touch with that feminine side, or I am comfortable with the parts of my body that will always be “female” (like my health and all).

    2. Sadly, I wish I could say the same. I have spent my whole life hating the fact that I was male. To the point I constantly thought about suicide. When I made to decision to come out and start my HRT, I began to feel more like me and happier. I still don’t like the parts of me that are male. I still wish I were born male, but I also believe things happen for a reason. So, I’m embracing that philosophy. At least I’m not thinking about suicide anymore.

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