By: Blake Croissant
It’s the end of April and I jump out of bed at 6AM. I will never forget this day. I don’t normally wake up this early, but I have a three hour drive and a 9:30 AM doctor’s appointment at Planned Parenthood. I called them a week ago because I had been transitioning on my own for over a month now, and I know how dangerous that can be. I’m also not satisfied with the gel. I want to be on shots, even though I’m terrified of needles. So I call the nearest Planned Parenthood because none of my doctors nearby are able to give me shots for testosterone. They know I’m transgender, but they aren’t really able to help. It is frustrating, and I have been living in a male role for over a year now. The nearest Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer services, but the one in the capital does. It’s a three hour drive.
For a moment, I stop and think. The woman I’m on the phone with has offered to transfer me to the office in Raleigh. I think to myself, you already drive to Virginia for gender therapy because your therapist moved. What’s a three hour drive? This is better than transitioning yourself. I tell her to transfer the call. The woman tells me to come in the next Monday at 9:30. I hang up the phone in near tears. I have had my hormone letter since October. I have had several doctors tell me that I would never be able to transition. I had a hysterectomy, part one, in July of 2012, and the second part a month before my appointment. I have thought for months of how trapped I feel.
You hear it all of the time in transgender 101 stuff. You are a man trapped in a woman’s body. And damn it, some days it really does feel that way. I have been angry and frustrated for months that I live in a town where the doctor’s best advice for me is to move.
My Mom is now on board. My father knows I’m transitioning. He has noticed that I’m growing facial hair, and my voice is getting deeper. He and I have worked out the equivalent of the repealed don’t ask, don’t tell.
Works for me. Except not really. I’m also incredibly sad, because this is a thing I can’t tell my Dad. I don’t know how to have the conversation, and he doesn’t want to know. I’m feeling so alone and trapped. There is something to be said about driving to one of the most important doctors’ visits of your life completely alone. The anger is rising again.
I have a playlist over six hours long of songs that help me express my feelings of transitioning. Remember Everything by Five Finger Death Punch has just become my song. And one of the lyrics that always sticks out is “it’s a long and lonely road when you know you walk alone.”
I’m alone in the waiting room. I’m filling out the standard forms I hate with a bloody passion: Gender. Name. All of that stuff I never know quite how to answer. Every standard doctor’s visit reminds me that I don’t fit in in this world. There’s not really a place for transgender people, we have to make our own space.
It has a preferred name section. I smile and fill out the form. I get to the gender question and cringe without really reading it, expecting just male and female. Legally, I’m still female. But I am not a female. I’m not technically male, either though. I had twenty one years of female experiences. I still have breasts and a vagina. Where does this fit in?
The form, thanks to the universe, has more than two options. I have never seen this on a form before and I want to leap for joy. Male. Female. Transgender Male. Transgender Female. Genderqueer. I check the Transgender Male box. It asks for my gender pronouns. I put He’s/Him’s.
The doctor calls me back. Right away the nurses and all of the staff say he’s/him’s and use Blake. I’m feeling awesome today. I’ve got on a nice pair of guy jeans my ex-boyfriend picked out for me. I’m wearing my flannel that my friends say make me look like Dean Winchester from Supernatural. I’m bound and in boxers and I’m wearing my packer. I’m feeling like Mr. Man today, and I am so excited that here, they get it. No explanations. There’s an option for me on a form I’m actually comfortable with. I don’t feel as trapped in my skin. I’m breathing so much easier even though there is a compressor on my chest.
I’m still expecting the monologue I’ve given so many times. Yes, I’ve got gender identity disorder. Yes, I’ve got dysphoria. And it’s true, I do. It’s true that sometimes I’m so angry. Sometimes I look at my chest and I want to cry. There are D cups where I should be flat, and that’s AFTER I’ve had a breast reduction. I’m starting with I’m a boy trapped in a woman’s body and I feel stuck.
I’m actually so frustrated I start crying. I am one of those men that cries from frustration. And I start blaming the fact that I was born a woman for this. I start apologizing, because I’m supposed to be telling this woman to give me male hormones, and if I’m crying over this, she’s not going to take me seriously, and I’m showing that I’ve still got women characteristics, and the twenty one years of womanhood is showing up, crap.
She stops me, says, “I’m going to help you feel less frustrated. I’m going to give you hormones. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be on them. There’s no reason you should have to drive three hours for someone to help you, but I’m glad you are here and you are letting me help. But please, stop thinking of yourself as a man trapped in a woman’s body because that just isn’t true.” I stare at her and try not to let my jaw hit the floor.
She’s going to help me. And how am I supposed to not think of myself as a man trapped in a woman’s body?
She tells me to embrace my transgender identity, it’s a beautiful thing. Stop being so upset when I don’t conform to my masculine side 100 percent. And like my coming out song says, it’s a long and lonely road.
It has been almost two months since then. I breathe easier. I don’t care about the times I do something that could be seen as feminine. I’m still a man. I’m a transgender man, and that’s a pretty awesome thing to be. I’m done feeling trapped. I’m a lot less angry. I’m less of a jerk to be around. My years of frustration of feeling angry and trapped were causing me to be a jerk sometimes, which is the last thing I wanted. My Mom and I have a way better relationship.
I’ve been applying to universities in safer areas. My Mom and I were talking yesterday about one of the Universities and how they let transgender kids have their own rooms and bathrooms. She tries not to, but she worries. So my Mom says, well that’s because you already have a boy and a girl in a room. A month ago, I would have been so upset by that statement. But now I’ve been embracing my transgender identity more. I laughed. My voice cracked later, and my Mom said, I can really tell you are changing now.
I said something I have never told my Mom before: when I was thirteen, all I wanted was to grow a beard. And an Adam ’s apple. My Mom doesn’t know that when I was in high school I would use the men’s bathroom after school or during lunch in the auditorium. I was ashamed of this. I got caught once and I was given a detention. As a junior, my math teacher wouldn’t let me leave to use the restroom because it would take me longer to go because I would have to walk all the way across the school to use the one in the auditorium.
I’m not ashamed of these experiences anymore. This is my skin. I’m not trapped in it. Hormones are making me more masculine, but there are still people that don’t get it, and sometimes I do things that are more on the feminine side of the spectrum. And it’s all one hundred percent okay, because I don’t have to fit into the narrow box the world gave me. I can make my own box, and I’m so much freer, and a lot happier, because of it.