matt’s trans past

Hi. My name is Matt.

I like rock climbing and yoga. I have a degree in creative writing, work in online communications, and have a passion for outdoor activities. I also wasn’t born with a male body.

At various points in my life I have identified as a woman, gender non-conforming, a transgender man, and a non-cisgender-man.

Right now I live happily in stealth mode, but it’s been a process, and stealth life wasn’t always what I wanted.

Though it’s often argued in my family as to when they knew I was trans (mom says 3 or 4, dad says 9 or 10), I knew that something was weird when I was 7 or 8, knew definitively that I was not in the right body when I was 10 or 11, and was able to put the term “transgender” to my feelings when I was 14.

I remember being asked by the younger kids in middle school if I was a girl or a boy, and I remember being just as confused as they were.

But once I had a term, I was able to do research and I was able to understand that I was able to go through a process to feel whole and complete within my own body.

However, I had a lot of demons as a result of being confused in my body for so long as well as a lot of other things–because it’s rarely just one thing that gives you so many demons that you want to die. And I did want to die. Eventually I tried really hard to die when I was a freshman in high school. I failed to die, though.

As scary as that time was for me and my family, a lot of good things happened. For one, my parents realized that I was unhappy and that my unhappiness wasn’t arbitrary. For another, the therapists I was seeing realized that I had full-blown Gender Identity Disorder. Which meant that I was on the path to alleviating my dysphoria.

High school was mostly a time where I was content being uncomfortable. I learned how to let dysphoria wash over me instead of stopping me. It would drench me in sadness and anxiety but I would keep going; I needed to keep going; there was a light at the end and I was adamant to reach it. I relied on meditation to help me process my dysphoria.

I used my high school graduation money to legally change my name when I turned 18 in May of 2008. I then went off to college and played on a women’s soccer team. Yes, that’s right. I played NCAA womens college soccer. I wasn’t out and proud as a trans man though. My team knew and they loved me like a little brother, but I was never able to physically transition while playing for the team. So, following my sophomore season I decided to quit. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I felt it was for the best.

I had been active in the Christian organizations on my campus for most of college, attending bible studies and group praise sessions many nights a week, even though I identified as an agnostic Buddhist. I joined a men’s bible study after quitting the soccer team and this was my very first experience being stealth. As wonderful as it was to be seen as a man so fully it also provided me with a lot of additional anxiety. What if they found out? I was in the most conservative environment that a liberal university can provide as a stealth trans man. Not the most nerve calming place to be.

But nothing ever happened. We studied the book of John, discussed what it meant to be good men, good people, and men of god. We talked about how to treat people well; how to use our anger, fear and aggression for righteous causes; and how to be strong against the trials of the world. We would also make multiple trips every week to a local house church for dinner and to laugh with the wonderful Korean family that ran it. Though these brothers of mine didn’t know, they were giving me my first real education at what it meant to be a man and they reinforced the disjointed socialization I had as a kid. I’m still not religious, but that semester/year was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.

And then my then-girlfriend encouraged me to finally start testosterone.

I started topical testosterone in March 2011 and testosterone injections in May 2011.

My senior and final year of college was just a pubescent blur. I lived with a bunch of great guys in the dorms, stealth and all.

I ended up getting the funds to pay for surgery by October of 2011 and set up a surgery date in January 2012. My mom and then-girlfriend went down with me to Florida for my surgery and it went pretty great.

If it sounds like I’m skipping through most of these big life events, you’re probably picking up on the fact that while this big events were important, I’ve never felt like they defined me. Being trans never really felt part of me, and the process to right myself was less about feeling more like a man and more about curing myself from a chronic pain.

College wrapped itself up, I broke up with the girl I was dating, I moved to a new city in a new state and I started my life over.

And then I met the woman of my dreams. Enter: Steph.

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