The many faces of gender dysphoria

This beautiful article by Sam Dylan Finch (Let’s Queer Things Up!) has opened my eyes! All my life I thought that I wasn’t dysphoric, until now. Gender dysphoria was for me, this is how I got told, that you know you’re transgender and you feel a strong denying or disgust towards your body, but also you know what your body should look like. But Sam beautifully describes it’s so much more!

For a long time, I couldn’t place why — I just felt ugly.

And not just in the insecure way, but in the something-is-so-wrong-but-I-can’t-place-what way.

Yes! All my life I felt ugly. Especially in my childhood this feeling was very strong. I assumed it was because of me being very tall and due to my tumour disease, severe underweight. But the feeling lasted until my adult years. Even after I’ve had let myself persuate into becoming more feminine and people telling me how “beautiful” and how much I “look like a model”, I still felt ugly and very uncomfortable.

When I look at old pictures of myself, though, I start to understand. For one, it doesn’t even look like me.

It wasn’t that I was ugly, so much as I didn’t look like myself. But not even knowing what “transgender” meant, I didn’t have a point of reference to understand my feelings at the time.

It doesn’t look like me. This feeling I can relate to very much! Every time someone wanted to take pictures of me, I was hiding. And if they got a snap of me, I looked at it and thought “That doesn’t look like me.” But since I didn’t understand what was behind this feeling, not knowing that transgender people existed, I couldn’t tell what me should have looked like.

There’s this narrative around transness, that we all knew immediately that we were meant to transition, meant to live in a different body, that the gender we were assigned is not the gender we actually are. For many of us, however, that’s simply not our story.

Oh yes! Although I had a sense of that I wasn’t a girl, I couldn’t believe myself. It is very hard, almost impossible, to realize this if your whole life, from when you were a toddler, every adult around you tells you that you are your assigned gender.
So I came to conclusion that I was just a very odd cis girl.
I remember a situation when I was around 12, I was talking with my cousin about how much I disliked my name, that it didn’t feel like my name, that I didn’t feel like it represents me. Her response was, that she didn’t like her name either because it was complicated to spell and that every person dislikes their name and you will get used to it.
That’s not the same.
Or different situations when I tried to communicate what I disliked on my body because it feels wrong. “Every woman dislikes something on her body. That’s normal!”
For many years my actual gender dysphoria was dismissed as “normal woman feeling about their body” (can’t find more accurate words at the moment).
That’s the reason I needed 30 years of my life to get that I was transgender.

I was drawn to short hair, and after cutting it, I felt euphoric in a way I couldn’t deny.

I had my hair short as a kid, so I cut it short again after I got rid of my toxic ex-boyfriend. At first I felt shocked and sad because it was so really short. Although I always loved having short hair, in the beginning it felt bad.
All my life I learnt how a girl was supposed to be, was pressured into feminity, so I was shocked when my hair looked “too short”. Girls were supposed to have long hair, to be feminine and I was never like that. It was what I was supposed to be, what everybody around me, assumed me to be. To break out of this toxic stereotype and genderroles was damn hard and a long journey.
My transition started odd. Already before my inner coming out, I switched between masculine and feminine presentation. I liked being masculine more but I was supposed to be feminine because I was a girl. So I first came out as genderfluid. But the masculine days came often and more often, so I started to explore my identity more deeply. It was a long hard road to the thought “What do YOU want?” and not listen what I was supposed to be.

I can’t really remember when, how, I got to know about transgender people but I do remember it were only sterotype stories: Always being boyish, liking “manly hobbies”, liking girls, dressing masculine-> coming out as trans man.
That wasn’t me. I didn’t like “manly things” like cars and sports. I wasn’t interested in girls. So I thought, “I can’t be trans. I’m just a weird girl.”
Only when I was 30 I got to know about different transgender experiences, and about nonbinary people. Though when I realized that I was trans, I came out as binary trans man. I didn’t know that being nonbinary was an option, and that it was possible to live so.

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Hysto – yes, no, maybe?

CN: suicide mention, surgeries, medical examinations

Lately I’m thinking about hysto again. I wanted this surgery since I was 15, and I can’t get it out of my head. I can’t live out my sex life because of it. No matter how long I’m on T, if I’m on birth control and use a condome, my brain still tells me “You have this organ so it’s possible to get pregnant.” And this would be a suicide reason for me. Having this organ completely blocks me.
A year ago, I thought it wasn’t possible. But on Tuesday I was in St. Joseph hospital in Berlin again because the last few weeks I experienced stronger abdominal pain. I haven’t had it this strong for ages. So I thought, it’s time for a check-up.
Good news: the doctor did an ultrasound scan of my whole abdomen (literally from bladder to up to my heart :D) The lymphangiom hasn’t grown. I only have two little cysts on my spleen, the biggest is 1,5cm. So it’s nothing to worry about.
But this also means that the abdominal cramps didn’t come from the lymphangiom. I told the doctor about my pain medication, that I was on Tilidin now for a while. He told me that Tilidin can lead to a restricted bowel movements. On Friday I was then at my pain doctor, gave him the pictures from the ultrasound and told him about the pain and what his colleague said. He prescribed me something that should help my intestine to work better. I still have abdominal pain but it has gotten better already.

When I was in hospital, I also asked the doctor about hysterectomy. (He knows I’m trans since I go there since I was a teenager.) He said, that it could be done. The surgeon just needs to know about the lymphangiom and be familiar with it. He explained to me how the lymphatic cysts usually work. I’m trying to explain. (It’s not easy in english.)
In healthy humans the lymphatic cysts heal themselves when they are hurt, like they close their wound and stop bleeding and pumping lymphatic liquid. In my disease this doesn’t work correct. The lymphatic cysts can’t heal themselves; they stay open and keep bleeding and pumping the lymphatic liquid into my body. This is what the surgeron needs to know. The doctor said that when I’ve found a surgeron, I can give him his contacts so he will advertise him on my disease.

But this is still future music. First I need to work on the PTSD or I don’t survive the surgery mantally well. That will need another few months/years I guess. I will talk to my therapist about it.
Mastectomy is now finally from the table. I had a dream about it, where I got mastec and it looked like nothing was gone, I had ugly scars and my nipples were destroyed. In my dream I said: “I’m doing this never again.” I take this as asign of my body that it doesn’t wants this surgery. Well, I don’t need it for myself anyway. I was just considering it because of the breast cancer risk. But in all, I really love my body how it is now.

1 year 10 months on T

I am now really comfortable with my body. It is like I always had imagined it. So I lately I was thinking about if I would reduce my T dosage or even to completely go off of it. It feels like I reached my comfort level of masculinization. So a few days ago I made an experiemnt and I only creamed 50mg of testogel. Last year I increased my dosage to 75mg because I felt stuck in transition and my testo levels were a bit low. With 75mg I have a testo level like a cis man. Pretty high. So on the weekend I went down to 50mg again. And I felt… restless. Like I was missing something. I felt weird and a little depressed. Since I wasn’t sure if it was the testo or just the usual depression kicking in, I did my 50mg the next day too. But I kept feeling incomplete. So I then went back on my usual dosage of 75mg and oho, I immediately felt balanced again. I felt at peace and back on my usual level of energy and concentration. So it seems my body likes the 75mg more. I actually didn’t plan on going further in transition, yes I still want to grow a beard and not only the goatie that I have now, but usually I’d like more to stay androgyn and not to masculinize too much. But with the short experiment I learned that my body has different plans. My body likes the testosterone in my blood. And I do too. So back on my usual dosage and stick with it until my body tells me otherwise.

Comparison 1 year 3 months on T

CN: uncensored shirtless pics!!

So I thought I post some comparison pics of me since it’s been a while. Testosterone is still changing much and working hard in my body. It has made me really happy so far. I got more fluffy hair on my legs and chin. Unfortunately the facial hair is still too fluffy to capture it on a picture 😀
Also testosterone has done a lot to my chest. When I’m laying on m back there’s almost no breast tissue to see anymore, which makes me super happy and let’s me believe that soon I can go shirtless in public without anyone to think that I was “actually a girl”. My goal is that I can get seen as a man with gynecomastia.In the pictures you also can tell how much my face has changed. It’s incredible. Finally I don’t look like a little kid no more lol And almost like my age!

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Taken just a few days ago 🙂

 

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Left: February ’15; Right: September ’16

 

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Where has my breast tissue gone? Feeling good shirtless 😀

 

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Left: pre-T; Right: September ’16

Swimming part 2

So the summer is back in Germany. And with it the desire to want to go swimming. Sadly I haven’t made it yet. I wish I could say it was because of my disease and the chronic pain that kept me in bed for several days. Or the stress with changing all the papers after my name/gender change, but to be honestly, I scare to go swimming. I scare because my body doesn’t look “cis-appropriate”. I’m afraid to get stared at, to get insulted, harrassed. With words but also physically. I’m scared I will get misgendered, called a girl or to hear that “this dude has tits like a girl”. And Now I wonder if this is how cis-men with gynecomastia feel like…

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Swimming shorts pic. 1 year 1 month 24 days on T

I’d loved to go to the Havel swimming, but I don’t dare. I know that they are swimming shirts for trans-people like me, but I don’t see why I should need to cover up and hide my body when actually nothing is wrong with it? It’s society that has a problem with people who do not look “appropriate”. That kinda feels like fat-shaming for me. Like bigger people are told they should not wear a bikini/go to the lake because society thinks it looks disgusting.

So what can I do to solve my problem? Working on my self-esteem I think.
I think, it would be much easier for me if I would have a bunch of friends in my back who would strengthen me if anyone says something about my chest to me. But unfortunately I’m all alone here…

I talked about swimming and my chest “problems” here as well: Swimming as Transgender
Fight for your right to be shirtless

 

Name/Gender change

Some good news: I got a letter from the court about my name and gender change. I am now officially Luka Jesse Meindl and sex/gender male! (There is only one word in german for gender/sex) Although I am actually genderneutral, I really like the fact to be now legally male in front of the german law. It was a compromise because in german law only exist male and female. And I rather be seen as male than female. 

1 year on T (manniversary)

Actually it was yesterday, but I was too tired to post. I spent the day with my mum and her boyfriend in their garden making a little barbecue. It’s been a pretty good day 🙂

Happy 1st Manniversary to me!!! 😀 This is a very special date to me now. Because I literally was reborn this day a year ago.
Can’t believe it’s been already a whole year since I started with testosterone. And it was the best decision I ever made! I literally love every single hair I’ve grown on my body so far haha
Since the day I started T, every day I recognized myself a little more. In the mirror, from my voice and deep down in me.
I am more than happy to finally be able to live as the person I am. No more hiding, no more thinking if I’m going crazy.
One of my dear friends told me in the beginning of my transition that it will be an “amazing adventure” that not everyone gets to experience and I should enjoy every moment of it. He was so right! And I really did! I enjoyed every second of this second puberty that was given to me. And yes, also amazing things have happenend. I have definitely grown as a person. It was difficult in the beginning to find out where I do belong, and to understand that there are more than two genders. That I really can live as neither, just being that neutral person I always have felt like. But since my childhood I was told that I have to decide between girl and boy. So I first choose the boy, because that was closer to my real me than being a straight girl.

With excitement I’m looking forward to the next few years on T. I know it still can happen/change much.

Happy Birthday to me!!!

Love,
Luka

And a #comparison pic! Way Pre-T and now! 😁 Proud to became a cute gay punk dude 😎 Please DO NOT comment how “beautiful” I was before transition!!! Or anything like this! This makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable!!!

comparison 1 year on T